Although some of Marlborough District Council’s infrastructure spend is currently lower than expected in some areas, major projects are expected to pick up over the next few months and into the new financial year beginning 1 July, Mark Wheeler, the Council’s Chief Executive says.
“The Council does face challenges in getting its key projects underway, but the overall infrastructure programme is kicking in.
“We are making good progress and three large projects – Blenheim’s sewer upgrade, the District Library and Art Gallery development and the Flaxbourne irrigation scheme – account for almost $50 million of spending. All of these projects are expected to be under construction later in 2020 – in fact demolition of the old buildings in High Street starts this week for the new library and art gallery.
“It’s important to keep a perspective on project delays. Lower than expected infrastructure spend is not unique to Marlborough and sometimes delays are outside of the Council’s control. Our staff are sometimes close to capacity in terms of their workloads but we do well with the resources we have and staff do an excellent job overall.
“Sometimes negotiations with landowners and developers takes longer than we would prefer; that is something that we can’t easily control.
“In Blenheim, the $15m north-west zone sewerage upgrade is planned to go to tender in March; we want to complete that by December 2021. The $5.4m Caseys Creek stormwater project has progressed very well and is on track to be completed by the end of this summer.
“The Town Branch Drain stormwater project is under design and requires agreement with affected landowners.
“In Renwick, the reservoir construction is well underway and due for completion in May. Once that is complete we can get started on the new Renwick water treatment plant. The package of water infrastructure improvements for Renwick alone is worth $13.4m.
“The new $4.4m state-of-the art Seddon water treatment plant opened just last year and negotiations for the land for the new Havelock water treatment plant, a $6.6m project, are underway. The land purchase for the new Havelock sewerage upgrade is nearing completion – that’s an $8.1m project and expected to be completed in the 2021/22 financial year.
“In Picton, stages 2 and 3 of the new sewerage scheme were completed in 2019, at a cost of $16.5m.
“Concept plans for the Flaxbourne Irrigation Scheme, a $16m project paid for by the water users themselves, are being finalised. We hope to get that project started in late 2020, subject to a resource consent application.
“The $3m Pelorus Sound/Te Hoiere seabed mapping is well underway and making good progress, following the successful completion of the Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui seabed mapping project last year.
“The $3m Awatere Memorial Hall was completed this financial year, as was Stage 6 of the Boulevard on Taylor subdivision. The redevelopment of the new DHB building on Queen Street was also completed this year, as was the Stadium 2000 earthquake strengthening, a $4.8m project.
“The new $20m District Library and Art Gallery construction is expected to start in mid-2020 and will take two years.
“The roading renewal and maintenance season is now getting into gear and usually meets its budget. Under the new contract, awarded to Fulton Hogan and HEB, there’ll be more inspections and more fixing potholes and clearing water channels and culverts. There will also be more CBD street cleaning and unsealed road maintenance, and a greater emphasis on maintaining Marlborough Sounds’ roads.”