Posts Tagged ‘Hutt CC’
Hutt City Council is back in the proverbial.
After seven weeks and $500,000 spent fixing the Hutt Valley’s main sewerage pipeline, a new leak means council workers must walk all 18 kilometres of the waste expressway to plug the holes.
The first sign of the problem came on Saturday morning when effluent bubbled to the surface near the centre of Eastbourne while the pipe was being refilled. Despite this saga, the council says the pipeline is in “good condition” and that talk of a $20 million replacement is premature. About 2.5 million cubic metres of treated effluent has poured into Wellington Harbour since the first leak was found in March and the pipeline shut down. More than 1 million cubic metres will follow suit over an extra month of repairs, that will cost at least another $100,000. While the last repair job used CCTV cameras to identify leaks, this time council workers will physically walk the pipeline to spot any missed leaks.
Council city services general manager Bruce Sherlock said the first round of repairs which identified 11 leaks was finished last week. Refilling of the pipeline was about two-thirds complete when the new leak surfaced near Rimu St in the central shopping area of Eastbourne. Unlike most of the other leaks, the latest one stemmed from a crack in the pipeline and would require excavation work, Mr Sherlock said. “It’s frustrating … We regret it obviously and, once again, we’ll work as quickly as we can to get it fixed.”
The pipeline had since been emptied again at discharge points along the coastline. As a precaution, signs were put up at several bays warning people not to swim or collect shellfish in the area. However, he said all of the council’s tests had shown negligible health risks from the effluent which was usually of a higher quality than Wellington Harbour after a storm. Asked if the new leak meant the pipeline should be replaced, Mr Sherlock said the council’s position had not changed. “We’ve done the CCTV inspection, which confirmed what we already thought, which is that the pipe itself is in good condition.” But the walk-through could still provide new information, he said.
Eastbourne Community Board chairman Ian Young said the repeated discharges were concerning though a council engineer had briefed him on the pipeline. “It’s just fortunate it’s in the middle of winter when fewer people are going swimming.” Most residents wanted to avoid the huge disruption of having the entire pipeline replaced, he said.
Well all credit to the Dom Post for following up on this matter, addressed earlier on this site about the apparent reversal over this development has unearthed minutes of council meetings regarding Daly Street. It does seem now that the developer wont be moving any time soon on building on this site. The question still remains over what role does the Hutt Council play in using public money for such matters. Opinions vary widely.
Hutt city councillors voted to lend nearly $1.7 million of public money to a developer that had never before completed a building project.
Papers obtained by The Dominion Post show some councillors and officials raised early concerns about the Merge Property Group’s inexperience. Nonetheless, the loan was approved in principle for the company’s $22.5m, 14-storey riverside apartment block in Daly St at a closed meeting in late January.
After public pressure, the loan was changed into a guarantee, before falling through when the council’s own property company rejected the idea.
Minutes of several “public excluded” meetings earlier this year show councillors and the senior management team were each divided over the proposal.
At the January meeting, Merge executive director Brent Casey appeared before the council with real estate agent John Ross.
“In response to questions from a member, Mr Casey advised that the company had been formed three years ago and had yet to complete any developments,” the minutes read.
Matt Reid, the council’s general manager of business services, expressed “a concern with the young age of the company”. Councillor Deborah Hislop opposed the plan because the company had not completed any developments, and other opponents argued that the loan was not the council’s core business.
Chief executive Tony Stallinger, a supporter of the loan, identified risks including losing the money, increasing debt, inconsistency with recent practice and adverse public comment. However, he also argued that the venture could turn a profit for the council, and one apartment block in Lower Hutt could encourage others and help to revitalise the city centre.
Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden backed the loan idea and said this week that he stood by it. “All we were trying to do, some of us, was to get more people into the city.”
Though the young age of the company was “an interesting fact”, the people in charge were experienced. “They weren’t gauche or naive or unsuccessful people.”
The deal would have been handled by the council’s property company, Urban Plus, which was set up to provide housing for the “elderly and socially disadvantaged” and to manage council properties.
The Merge Property Group is also behind two stalled Wellington developments the $46.5m, 108-apartment building in Taranaki St on the former Forest & Bird site, and the $60m, 15-storey Metropol development in Ghuznee St. A Merge spokesman could not be contacted yesterday.
via Dominion Post
Hutt City Council granted resource consent on the 17th April for the upgrade and this has triggered an immediate start to the project.
The upgrade includes:
- 3 storey parking building off High Street
- a new emergency department (ED) double the size of the present one.
- doubling the number of operating theatres from 4 to 8.
Part of the consent is to address the 8 resident concerns of Pilmur Street who objected to the plan. Their concerns are addressed via a raft of conditions, including that an acoustic fence/wall at least 1.8m high be built on the street boundary and a noise management plan setting out measures to control vehicle and “antisocial noise at critical times” be worked out.
Carparking can be expected to start as early as next week, with action on the Pilmur Street parking first. The hospital has currently 942 employees so the issue around parking is paramount.
Council owned company Urban Plus last week recommended that the council not proceed to lend $1.7 million to a developer as the risk was too great.
No doubt the council acted properly by insisting that Urban Plus complete due diligence, the question lies as to whether it is the councils role to fund a developer at all?
Public opinion would suggest that a greater level of transperancy is required by the council in any dealings involving funding especially all projects that involve private investment, or a project deemed to benefit a private investor.
So what of the Daly Apartment development now?
Is the project going to proceed? Was the councils money a necessary deal maker to complete the project?
No doubt time will tell if any work will commence on this empty site in Daly Street.
Photos copyright HuttNZ