Christchurch anchor projects plagued by land contamination

Twenty-one samples detected asbestos at the Metro Sports Facility site, with three having the potential for human health ...
SUPPLIED

Twenty-one samples detected asbestos at the Metro Sports Facility site, with three having the potential for human health affects.

Contamination issues have plagued Christchurch's anchor project sites with the Crown forced to fork out millions of dollars removing hazardous materials from land.

A due diligence report, commissioned by the now-defunct Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) last year, shows most anchor project sites, including the metro sports facility, convention centre and library, have land hazards. 

The report, released to the Labour Party under the Official Information Act, provides the most in depth look to date into Christchurch's anchor projects, outlining spending, delays and possible risks.

The transport chapter of the Central City Recovery Plan could fail because of insufficient funding.
SUPPLIED

The transport chapter of the Central City Recovery Plan could fail because of insufficient funding.

The Deloitte report highlighted findings from its work late last year. 

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THE METRO SPORTS FACILITY

Cera earmarked $5.6m for remediating the Convention Centre site.
SUPPLIED

Cera earmarked $5.6m for remediating the Convention Centre site.

Operating costs for the new facility would be covered by council, with the business case estimating these to be between $7.5 million and $8m a year, the report said. 

The figures included up to $5m in "lifecycle" costs, such as asset renewals.

Reports the Government underestimated the state of the land earmarked for the facility appeared to be confirmed in the report.

Asbestos-riddled demolition material had to be removed from the site before work could begin.
SUPPLIED

Asbestos-riddled demolition material had to be removed from the site before work could begin.

Twenty-one samples detected asbestos, with three having the potential for human health affects. Information on the cost of remediating the land was withheld.

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AN ACCESSIBLE CITY

The transport chapter of the Central City Recovery Plan could fail because of insufficient funding, the report said. 

Cera had to spend $2.5m on remediation works for the site of The Piano building.
REBECCA BIJL

Cera had to spend $2.5m on remediation works for the site of The Piano building.

Overhauling the city's streets to make the inner city safer and more cycle and pedestrian friendly will cost about $263m. 

So far, only the first phase has council and Crown funding, of $77m. 

"Further funding for delivery . . . has been highlighted to the Crown as a fiscal risk," it said. 

Insufficient funding and the potential for "stakeholder impetus" to wain could see the project falter, it said. 

"If the programme falters it could have flow-on implications for the success of other anchor projects."

THE CONVENTION CENTRE

Plenary Conventions New Zealand, dropped as the Crown's convention centre partners in June, commissioned the excavation of 61 test pits and drilling of six groundwater wells.

"Asbestos was found in a number of locations with recent demolition fill. Four exceeded guidelines and will require remediation."

Other sites were "at or below human health acceptance criteria".

Cera had earmarked $5.6m for remediating the site but this was the "worst case estimate". 

THE STADIUM

The potential for contamination was listed as "high" for much of the site and "moderate" in some parts.

A Cera study found covering operating costs, even before depreciation and funding costs, was a financial challenge.

According to the report, experiences with Christchurch's previous stadium indicated the new facility could run at a deficit. 

CENTRAL LIBRARY

Deloitte said there was a risk of delaying the council's timeline because the Crown had yet to transfer the land to the council. This had since been done. 

Asbestos-riddled demolition material had to be removed from the site before work could begin on the new $85m library.

The council would not say how much removing the material had cost because it was commercially sensitive. 

PERFORMING ARTS PRECINCT 

Cera had to spend $2.5m on remediation works for the site of the newly-opened Piano music centre on Armagh St. 

The site as a whole potentially had high and moderate risk land contamination issues, the report said.

BY THE NUMBERS: Cera's land acquisition costs

- $50m metro sports facility

- $74m convention centre

- $12.3m central library

- $24.5m bus interchange

- $40.3m stadium

 - Stuff

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