Don't sign any tender papers, Harland told

Dave Cull
Dave Cull
The controversial project to realign Lovelock Ave, in Dunedin, may be dumped, just days before tender documents are due to be signed.

Mayor-elect Dave Cull said yesterday he had already told council chief executive Jim Harland not to sign any tender documents for the project.

Those documents were sent to selected contractors about three weeks ago, and are due back on Monday.

"There will be no tender accepted until the council has had time to reconsider," Mr Cull said yesterday when contacted.

After years of debate, the project appeared to have been approved when Mayor Peter Chin used his casting vote in May to ensure it went ahead.

The plan to realign the road, which runs through the Dunedin Botanic Garden, was developed by garden managers to allow more room for the rhododendron dell and relocation of propagation houses and administration buildings, and to deal with what they said were safety issues related to the road.

The project was supported by the Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

But many Opoho residents opposed the plan, claiming the new alignment, next to the Northern Cemetery, would be too steep, too frosty in winter and too prone to sunstrike.

Rumours have been circulating in Opoho recently that tender documents for the realignment had been sent out by council staff in a hurried attempt to prevent the incoming council from stopping the realignment.

Council community and recreation services manager Mick Reece said yesterday tenders for the Lovelock Ave work had been out for more than three weeks and were due back with consultants OCTA Associates by Monday.

"I'm disappointed, but not surprised that these rumours have been circulating."

He said if staff had wanted to make sure the realignment went ahead, they would have put out the tender documents immediately the council voted to go ahead with it in May.

That had not happened.

Instead, the council took its time on the issue, doing further engineering and design work before the tenders were sent to selected tenderers.

If the project went ahead, the next step for staff would have been to look at the tenders received, then recommend the most suitable.

A council spokesman said yesterday sending out the tender documents was unlikely to mean the council legally had to accept one or any of them, as a clause was usually written into the tender form to that effect.

Mr Cull said the matter would be looked at early in the life of the new council, both because he wanted it dealt with quickly, and because tenders had to be dealt with within a certain time.

It would probably not be at the first council meeting on October 26, but not long after that, he said.

Mr Reece said stopping the realignment "wouldn't necessarily save money", as realigning the road and moving the facilities to a new position by the old road was the most cost-effective of the plans discussed.



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