'Yes' to harbour project

GDC sets $1.5m funding deadline to get inner harbour development over the line.

GDC sets $1.5m funding deadline to get inner harbour development over the line.

An artist's representation of part of the Navigations project. Artwork supplied
Artist's representation of part of the Navigations Project.

GISBORNE District Council yesterday set a deadline for getting an extra $1.5 million needed for phase one of the inner harbour development, after some councillors expressed concern over cost escalations and that not enough information had been provided.

After a strong debate, the staff recommendation to approve the full project was altered, with a deadline of October included for the extra money needed for the potentially $5m project.

While some councillors were concerned at the level of extra costs, others argued for the full project to go ahead rather than rescoping it to meet the $3m construction budget.

The council approved staff recommendations for three major parts of the Tairawhiti Navigations Project to go ahead.

It approved the historical interpretations strategy, choosing the full implementation option that had an indicative cost of $2m.

Wellington company Monk Mackenzie/Navare was approved as the preferred designer for the Turanganui River bridge project.

For the inner harbour development project, it authorised the chief executive to seek further funding to deliver the full phase one project, estimated to cost $5m, with an October deadline after which staff must report back to the council.

Staff were authorised to seek resource consent for this project.

The interpretations strategy attracted general support but there was controversy when the council was asked to appoint a preferred bridge designer.

Navigations project manager De-Arne Sutherland said staff went through a robust process to choose the designer.

Distinctly Tairawhiti

They wanted the bridge to be iconic and elegant but also distinctly Tairawhiti.

Shannon Dowsing said there was very little in the document on which to make a substantial decision.

Ms Sutherland said they were not asking the council to approve funding, they wanted it to approve who they would move forward with. They were comfortable and quite excited about who they had “landed with”.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann reminded councillors that funding for the bridge was from Eastland Community Trust, and they would be reporting back to them also.

Mr Dowsing said without some robust information on how staff got to that decision, they could not go along with it.

Graeme Thomson, who is one of the council’s representatives on the governance group for the Navigations Project, supported him, saying the process had been shoddy.

This was major community money.

“We are the people who sign that community money off. We are responsible for things if they go pear-shaped.”

He could not sign this off with confidence.

“I am not against the concept of what we are doing here, I am just against how it has happened.”

Projects over budget

The council had spent millions of dollars on projects that had come in over budget. Somewhere there had to be a consequence, Mr Thomson said.

Andy Cranston, who moved adoption of the recommendations, said this was an unfortunate situation that often occurred on the council. A steering group did a lot of work and then councillors who had not heard all the information tried to put a handbrake on it.

“We don’t need handbrakes at this stage.”

Delaying things at this stage was a huge risk to the Navigations Project.

Larry Foster said there was no time, the council had to get on with it.

Bill Burdett said this was a watershed.

Amber Dunn said staff were being polite in asking the council approval for the designer. She was on the council to do governance, not micro-management.

Ms Thatcher Swann pointed out that the process to select the bridge designer was no different to that used to select Locales (the historic interpretations consultants working with iwi).

Project at risk

Pat Seymour said the recommendation on the inner harbour development could put the whole Navigations Project at risk.

Planner Kylie Cranston had said the council now had a better idea of the potential cost of phase one. Contingencies had been set at $800,000, which was high and that could possibly be lower.

Mrs Seymour said all the things recommended in the report were fantastic, if the council actually had the money.

The council wanted to add money to practically everything that was on the agenda for the day.

It had to think about what it wanted to spend and how long it took to get projects done. The council should not fluff around asking for another $2m here and there.

This was just one project they were asking Eastland Communiy Trust to fund.

“They don’t have a bottomless pit. I can’t support the recommendation as it stands.”

Harbour a focal point

Brian Wilson said when you went to any place in New Zealand or throughout the world, the harbour was a focal point for entertainment.

The staff had done a good job trying everything together and he liked the plan. The council should go for the full option and if it did not get the additional funding, it could scale the project back.

It made more sense to do this all in one go. This was a wonderful facility that tied in with the interpretations strategy.

“It will be a focus for Gisborne City. It will be a wonderful thing and we should go the whole hog.”

Mrs Seymour said what was scary was that these were estimates. Every project the council had done recently came in at $1m or $2m over budget.

“We can’t just keep on doing this.”

The recommendations were carried on a voice vote with Mrs Seymour voting against.

■ The extra estimated costs of phase one of the inner harbour development project have been reduced from $2m to $1.5m since a report was prepared for councillors for this week’s meeting.

GISBORNE District Council yesterday set a deadline for getting an extra $1.5 million needed for phase one of the inner harbour development, after some councillors expressed concern over cost escalations and that not enough information had been provided.

After a strong debate, the staff recommendation to approve the full project was altered, with a deadline of October included for the extra money needed for the potentially $5m project.

While some councillors were concerned at the level of extra costs, others argued for the full project to go ahead rather than rescoping it to meet the $3m construction budget.

The council approved staff recommendations for three major parts of the Tairawhiti Navigations Project to go ahead.

It approved the historical interpretations strategy, choosing the full implementation option that had an indicative cost of $2m.

Wellington company Monk Mackenzie/Navare was approved as the preferred designer for the Turanganui River bridge project.

For the inner harbour development project, it authorised the chief executive to seek further funding to deliver the full phase one project, estimated to cost $5m, with an October deadline after which staff must report back to the council.

Staff were authorised to seek resource consent for this project.

The interpretations strategy attracted general support but there was controversy when the council was asked to appoint a preferred bridge designer.

Navigations project manager De-Arne Sutherland said staff went through a robust process to choose the designer.

Distinctly Tairawhiti

They wanted the bridge to be iconic and elegant but also distinctly Tairawhiti.

Shannon Dowsing said there was very little in the document on which to make a substantial decision.

Ms Sutherland said they were not asking the council to approve funding, they wanted it to approve who they would move forward with. They were comfortable and quite excited about who they had “landed with”.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann reminded councillors that funding for the bridge was from Eastland Community Trust, and they would be reporting back to them also.

Mr Dowsing said without some robust information on how staff got to that decision, they could not go along with it.

Graeme Thomson, who is one of the council’s representatives on the governance group for the Navigations Project, supported him, saying the process had been shoddy.

This was major community money.

“We are the people who sign that community money off. We are responsible for things if they go pear-shaped.”

He could not sign this off with confidence.

“I am not against the concept of what we are doing here, I am just against how it has happened.”

Projects over budget

The council had spent millions of dollars on projects that had come in over budget. Somewhere there had to be a consequence, Mr Thomson said.

Andy Cranston, who moved adoption of the recommendations, said this was an unfortunate situation that often occurred on the council. A steering group did a lot of work and then councillors who had not heard all the information tried to put a handbrake on it.

“We don’t need handbrakes at this stage.”

Delaying things at this stage was a huge risk to the Navigations Project.

Larry Foster said there was no time, the council had to get on with it.

Bill Burdett said this was a watershed.

Amber Dunn said staff were being polite in asking the council approval for the designer. She was on the council to do governance, not micro-management.

Ms Thatcher Swann pointed out that the process to select the bridge designer was no different to that used to select Locales (the historic interpretations consultants working with iwi).

Project at risk

Pat Seymour said the recommendation on the inner harbour development could put the whole Navigations Project at risk.

Planner Kylie Cranston had said the council now had a better idea of the potential cost of phase one. Contingencies had been set at $800,000, which was high and that could possibly be lower.

Mrs Seymour said all the things recommended in the report were fantastic, if the council actually had the money.

The council wanted to add money to practically everything that was on the agenda for the day.

It had to think about what it wanted to spend and how long it took to get projects done. The council should not fluff around asking for another $2m here and there.

This was just one project they were asking Eastland Communiy Trust to fund.

“They don’t have a bottomless pit. I can’t support the recommendation as it stands.”

Harbour a focal point

Brian Wilson said when you went to any place in New Zealand or throughout the world, the harbour was a focal point for entertainment.

The staff had done a good job trying everything together and he liked the plan. The council should go for the full option and if it did not get the additional funding, it could scale the project back.

It made more sense to do this all in one go. This was a wonderful facility that tied in with the interpretations strategy.

“It will be a focus for Gisborne City. It will be a wonderful thing and we should go the whole hog.”

Mrs Seymour said what was scary was that these were estimates. Every project the council had done recently came in at $1m or $2m over budget.

“We can’t just keep on doing this.”

The recommendations were carried on a voice vote with Mrs Seymour voting against.

■ The extra estimated costs of phase one of the inner harbour development project have been reduced from $2m to $1.5m since a report was prepared for councillors for this week’s meeting.

Authentic local experience to the world

THE Tairawhiti Navigations historical interpretations strategy will tell an unparalled, world-class story, Gisborne District Council was told yesterday.

Councillors enthusiastically received and approved an outline of the strategy by Chris Hay of Wellington company Locales.

The $2 million project will feature the indigenous people of Turanganui-a-Kiwa, the arrival of the Endeavour and Captain Cook, and early European history.

This was not just about signage, it was a project that would encourage domestic and international visiors to come here, spend more time and ideally spend more money.

The story would be told using viewshafts located in full view of where the story they were relating took place, such as the one planned for the top of Titirangi/Kaiti Hill.

There was a growing trend for this type of project. His company had done the one on war trails through Turkey, Belgium and the UK.

People could take mobile devices with them on the journey and listen to stories told by local people.

“You can create a world-class product that people are interested in.”

To get really authentic stories you had to work closely with iwi and local navigators. There would be a focus on what binds the four iwi here.

The strategy was designed for four types of audience: an international tourist, two domestic tourists and a local.

Because it was local and authentic it was not just a tourism product, it was a community education resource as well.

The project would make the most of Titirangi/Kaiti Hill.

“This is one of your best assets. The viewshaft at the very top is awesome.”

People could go to the top of the hill, start their experience and work their way down. The viewshafts would be sculptural installations that were map-based. A large-scale model would orient the story to the view.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said the $3.5 million of extra project costs approved yesterday, which included phase one of the inner harbour development, would bring the total cost of the Navigations Project up to about $13.5m.

Amber Dunn said this was a project that made her proud to be from Tairawhiti. One of the strengths of the region was its history, expecially the Maori history. She liked the fact it was linked with the top of Titirangi and said the design should be consistent with the Oneroa walkway.

Josh Wharehinga said he enjoyed the fact that earlier historic layers would be included. He had recently visited three Asian countries, and no one asked him about Captain Cook but they all asked about being Maori. This district had a unique point of difference.

Rongowhakaata representative on the governance group Jody Wyllie said this was one of the first times the four tribes had come together. Years ago the Treaty settlement process drove them apart. It was good to be able to share their stories.

He was mindful of European history, and carried a Scottish name, but it was essential to get the layering right, starting with the early pioneers that came here.

Maori had not “crash landed”, they went back to the Pacific and knew New Zealand was here.

Gisborne had two wonderful navigators living here now who had sailed here from the Pacific.

The missionary influence was important, the Navigations Project would not work if it was just from the Maori perspective.

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