Mayor not fazed by project failures

KATE DAVIDSON
Last updated 12:58 02/07/2014

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Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says she has confidence in staff at the Nelson City Council despite the mismanagement of two projects.

The failure to maintain drainage at the Saxton Oval and a budget blowout on the Maitai shared pathway have cost the city an extra $968,680.

For the Maitai shared pathway $200,000 of the $726,680 needed to complete the project has come from "savings in footpath renewals" and the $242,000 for the Saxton Oval has come from savings made elsewhere.

The project blunders were reported to the council by staff earlier this year, with investigations finding the local body's project management not up to standard.

The mayor said the council's chief executive, Clare Hadley, had responded appropriately by calling for a review, and Hadley has told Reese there were no other problem projects that she was aware of.

"We are looking at a number of project failures and I think the staff have recognised that, and I think they have been honest and upfront and prepared to say quite publicly we need to perform better as an organisation," said Reese.

Despite these failures, the council still delivered millions of dollars worth of projects every year "very successfully", but it was important to investigate why there had been issues and the review would establish this, she said.

"When you understand what's caused a problem, then you can do something to solve it," said Reese.

The mayor said it was crucial for future projects to be undertaken with the best project management possible to the meet the council's standards in a timely and efficient way.

However, issues were bound to arise with some projects when they were being undertaken in areas where there were land complexities or the design had to be changed to meet evolving community needs, she said.

"The important thing here is that, when issues arise, that they are brought back to the governance table of this council so direction can be given on whether you reduce the scale of the project to meet the budget or you consider maintaining the budget and reprioritising some other projects to allow that to be delivered," said Reese.

Hadley said she was working on the terms of reference for the review and could not say when it would be finished as the council was still looking for someone to carry it out.

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