Greymouth town square renewal project 'back on track'
A new town square project on the West Coast is "back on track" despite a few unexpected snags.
The first phase of the $1.7 million Greymouth town square and shared street project was supposed to finish in June.
It was delayed due to discovery of a contaminant – a by-product from the old Greymouth gas works – and some unknown service cables.
In April, toxic coal tar was discovered in the sealed roads of the construction site for the town's new square and planned upgrade to Tainui St.
Grey District Council assets management and engineering manager Mel Sutherland was not available for comment this week, but said in a June 30 statement that coal tar was used in many parts of New Zealand earlier in the 20th century as a road making material.
"When the coal tar was discovered, council immediately erected plastic screens around the area to contain it and the contractor, Paul Smith Earthmoving Ltd, began following the comprehensive procedures developed for working with this contaminated product."
Council chief executive officer Paul Pretorius said the discovery of coal tar had not been expected as earlier roadworks in the area did not indicate it had been used.
The project was also delayed by the discovery of several underground services the council had not known about, but it was back on track, he said.
"Greymouth is an old town and older services are not always recorded on plans. It is important to note that all known underground services had been recorded on the project plans and that such services did not cause delay."
The unknown services included two electrical cables not indicted by the service owner on the project plans and a lateral connection on a council service to a nearby building.
"If you see how extensive council's services mapping for the district is, you will deduct . . . we are talking about the exception rather than a regular occurrence," he said.
The problems caused a delay of almost three months and the first phase of the project was now expected to be finished on October 6.
The upgrade to Tainui St will turn it into a shared street, forming part of the square, which could be closed off for galas and market days.
Tenders for the construction of specially-designed street furniture closed on August 11 and included pod seats, benches and moveable planters.
When the council released designs for the square in December, Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said he hoped it would act as a meeting place for residents and tourists, and provide access to a renovated floodwall and the Grey River bank.