Asbestos likely to be cost in future

Asbestos may impact the financial health of the Dunedin City Council's coffers in years to come but the extent of the cost remains unknown, councillors heard at yesterday's annual plan deliberations.

Group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie told councillors work was under way at present to establish the extent of asbestos use and issues in council-owned assets, but the cost to rectify it would not be known until the investigation was complete.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr McKenzie told the Otago Daily Times the $300,000 budget for completing the investigative work was included in the council's 2015-16 budget and there was no additional cost to the council for the work in the coming financial year.

The cost to resolve any problems identified would impact budgets from the 2017-18 budget onwards.

The work to identify the extent of the problem was under way and ongoing, he said.

During the meeting, Mr McKenzie told councillors the work would "highlight what actually needs to be done''.

Once any issues were identified, council might need to "reprioritise'' other projects or funds to resolve them.

Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said council staff believed it was probable asbestos would be an issue in some of the council's buildings.

"Given the age of some of our assets ... we think it's highly likely we will find something that contains that material,'' she told councillors.

Earlier this year, the council revealed asbestos had been discovered in Moana Pool, though it was no risk to the public or staff, and decaying asbestos pipes at Sullivans Dam would be replaced after concerns were raised by the Amalgamated Workers Union.

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