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Bridge plan revised

Gisborne District Council staff have been told to look for more external funding to meet the cost of the 1000-Year Walk Bridge.

The council adopted recommendations that the chief executive re-tender and award the contract for the bridge, and that the staff continue to seek external funding opportunities.

The council will also remove the timeframe constraint that called for the bridge to be completed before October this year.

A grant of $3.06 million from the Lotteries Significant Projects Fund for the walk bridge, along with a lookout and sculpture on Titirangi/Kaiti Hill, originally had this requirement but no longer does.

The council was told a fixed price received for the project was above the available budget.

Steps were under way to bring the steel for the bridge, which the council has already ordered, from Napier to Gisborne.

Mayor Meng Foon said time was valuable and the council should move forward with the project and avoid another six-week delay between meetings.

The chief executive should be given delegation to sign a contract.

The more it was delayed, the more the bridge would cost.

Pat Seymour said this was a project the council was not sure was going to happen and it needed to be ranked in the context of other projects it wanted to see happen.

The council already had a pile of activities it wanted to go ahead and it had been hearing for the past couple of weeks about projects it would not be able to do.

With all due respect to the city, she said, people were coming to the council telling them rural roads were falling apart.

Mrs Seymour said she would be happy to get a tender but would not support a recommendation to seek external funding.

The council was already seeking funding for things like the pool and it had not yet got any money from the Provincial Growth Fund.

Mrs Seymour said the council would be irresponsible to go ahead without knowing the tender price.

Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said a competitive tender would ensure the council received the best price to achieve the circular structure. What the council did know from completing the ECI (early contractor involvement) process was that it would have to find more external funding.

Brian Wilson said it might be true that there was a shortage of money for roads, but that funding came from a different source.

The staff had done a good job in sourcing funds and should go ahead. “While the going is good, go for it,” he said.

Mrs Seymour voted against the recommendation that staff seek additional funding.