Council signals budget increase for Library and Civic Centre
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An uncertain market impacted by COVID-19 has forced Ashburton District Council to adjust its forecast budget for the Ashburton Library & Civic Centre project from $51.6 million to $56.75 million, as construction negotiations continue.
The Council has increased the project's contingency budget to ensure the facility can be delivered to its agreed design plan should the extra funds be needed. Chief Executive Hamish Riach noted that the contingency increase was a safeguard and that Council and its partners would be doing all they could to minimise calls on that contingency.
Hamish Riach said that realising the uncertainty of the market last year, Council applied for a Government grant as a financial safeguard.
"We were very fortunate to receive $20 million from the Government's 'shovel ready' project funding which has effectively offset the increased project cost and reduced the original financial input from ratepayers.
"While we are now looking at a bigger budget than was expected, the Government's contribution has shielded our community from shouldering that cost."
The Government developed its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund last year to support 'shovel ready' infrastructure projects that would boost the economy in the wake of COVID-19.
The Council was awarded $20 million from the grant in July 2020 after it applied for the funds in April. It is expected the project will create 500 jobs.
The Council is now in negotiations with its preferred contractor, Naylor Love for the construction of the Library & Civic Centre.
The revised budget will be reflected in the Council's draft 2021-31 Long Term Plan, which is currently being developed ready for consultation in the coming months.
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