$4m cut in Kilbirnie sports centre bill

BY DAVE BURGESS AND KATE NEWTON
Last updated 05:00 24/11/2009
Kilbirnie

ABOUT TO TAKE SHAPE: An artist's impression shows how the indoor sports centre might look.

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Competition and cheaper building materials have cut costs for the Kilbirnie indoor sports centre by more than $4 million but the total bill is still expected to hit $46m.

Work on the centre at Cobham Park will start on December 7 after Wellington City Council awarded the building contract to Mainzeal Property and Construction.

It will take 18 months to complete the 12-court centre, which could have three courts added later.

A report by Sir John Anderson, commissioned this year by the council, estimated building costs would be $40.45m.

Mainzeal's contract with the council is for $36.24m – a saving of $4.21m.

The saving comes after a review by council officers of the building materials, designs and construction methods that were originally proposed. Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the review took into account advice from experts about construction methods and materials the council previously had not been aware of.

"We went away and ... built those into the tender document."

The economic recession also played a part in pushing down costs by sharpening competition for contracts among construction companies, she said.

"It has certainly played into our favour."

She was delighted with the saving but said the centre was still expected to cost $46m to complete – taking into account architectural design, project management, landscaping and traffic improvements, as well as construction costs.

"Wellington has been waiting for this for a long time ... [and it] will be a huge boost for community sport, a superb facility for the whole city and is something all Wellingtonians can be proud of."

Ms Prendergast has said she wanted to open the centre when it was completed, but would not confirm yesterday if that meant she would be running for a fourth mayoral term next year.

"What that means is I hope I'll be invited ... no matter what role I'm in."

Athletics Wellington spokesman Geoff Henry said sporting codes had been demanding a modern indoor facility for more than a decade.

"The large indoor space will provide a focal point for the community and a valuable asset, not just for indoor sports but also for schools' physical education and the health and recreation of the wider community."

TIMELINE

* June 2007: The council approves construction after seven years of investigations.

* January 2009: Resource consent granted; two people appeal, including councillor Andy Foster.

* April 2009: Sir John Anderson review finds in favour of Cobham Park site.

* June 2009: Environment Court amends the resource consent conditions.

* August 2009: Building consent granted.

* December 7, 2009: Construction to start. June 2011: Centre scheduled to open.

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- The Dominion Post

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