Aquatic centre to restart after talks

KAY BLUNDELL AND GREG NINNESS
Last updated 05:00 12/02/2013

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Work could resume on the $21.1 million Coastlands aquatic centre within two to three days, after talks last night between Kapiti Coast District Council and receivers of collapsed building firm Mainzeal Property and Construction.

There were "very positive signs" that significant work would resume on the Paraparaumu site, after stalling last Wednesday, the council said after the meeting.

"We expect work on the project will resume shortly," council chief executive Pat Dougherty said. "We are confident it will be completed."

The centre is 85 per cent finished and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae is scheduled to open it on March 30.

Mr Dougherty said that the receiver, PricewaterhouseCoopers, wanted an assurance from the council that it would pay for the work undertaken since Wednesday and, on that basis, it would enter into discussions directly with the subcontractors with the aim of getting them back on site.

"We gave them that assurance," Mr Dougherty said. "There has been a clear willingness from all parties to see this project completed . . . the goodwill is continuing."

Some work on the site had continued over the past several days, mainly involving installation of the pool lining and moveable floor, he said.

"I am hopeful we will see the rest of the subcontractors moving back on site once talks between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the subcontractors are completed."

The positive news came as about 200 staff at Mainzeal Property and Construction were made redundant yesterday from the company's head office in Auckland, and from its various building sites around the country.

Colin McCloy, of PwC, said the figure amounted to about half the company's staff as the receiver tried to urgently cut cash flows.

It was understood most were higher-paid professionals, such as engineers or administrative staff from the head office, many of whom had been recruited from Britain.

Northern Amalgamated Workers Union secretary Ray Bianchi said that the union members at Mainzeal's upper North Island sites worked for subcontractors and were not included in the redundancies because they were not directly employed by the company.

Mr McCloy said the receiver was conducting a site-by-site review of all of the company's projects to work out the best strategy for each of them.

This involved about 40 projects, and about half had been reviewed since the receiver was appointed on Wednesday.

PwC was also in talks with several parties that were interested in buying the business and assets of Mainzeal, either in parts or as a whole, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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