Mercury Bay Sports Park budget blow out

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 16:24 19/02/2013

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It should have cost $6 million, but Whitianga's new Mercury Bay Sports Park has blown its budget by $2.069 million.

Two independent reports into the blow out of the sports park, on the corner of Moewai Park Rd and SH25,  are being tabled as a late item at Wednesday's Thames-Coromandel District Council meeting.

The independent reports, from professional services company Deloitte and a human resources consultant, were commissioned late last year by the council's audit committee after the council received two requests from council staff for invoices totalling  $2.069 million to be paid.

The first, for an extra $1 million, came in September, and the second, for  $1.069 million, came in December.

Mayor Glenn Leach told the Waikato Times the reports would be made public tomorrow.

''There is a blow out in the Mercury Bay Sports Park budget,'' Mr Leach said. ''The issue would be on the size of the building that was built.''

Mr Leach said the council had approved changing facilities and public toilets as part of the development but instead it had been made big enough for a grandstand with seating for 1000 and corporate boxes.

The town of 4,100 will have a park consisting of 10 hectares of playing fields known as Whitianga Sportsville, three rugby or rugby league fields, two soccer fields, five netball courts, three tennis courts serviced by changing facilities and public toilets alongside 220 car parks.

''There's a question mark over whether that size building should have been built or not. The Deloitte report is dealing with that and how it ended up the way that it has.''

Mr Leach said he had seen a draft of the 50 plus page Deloitte report but could not comment further until it was in the public domain.

''It's not pretty,'' he said.

The project is overseen by the Mercury Bay Recreation Trust whose job, the council's website said, was  to ''promote and develop the Mercury Bay Sports Park''.

''Tasks include establishing a governing body for the sports park and applying for external funding for various aspects of the park that will not be funded by the Thames-Coromandel District Council.''

The trusts members are Sheree Webster, Murray McLean, Douglas Bourne, Shelley Balsam and Joseph Davies.

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