$20,000 per bus shelter?

John Lapsley
Life gets far too exciting, writes John Lapsley.

I read that the go-ahead Queenstown Lakes District Council will bless residents with bus shelters, which skilled staff will build for a mere $20,000 each.

I hear you Wit’s End churls mumbling: "Dear God, twenty thou for some cruddy bus stop. I could knock up a shelter with gold knobs, marble floors and a Christmas tree, for only ..."

But wait, this $20,000 bus shelter includes a seat, a ski rack and bike stand, plus 12 months’ free consultations on locations. (No limits on how many can campaign for a stop outside their front door.)  Still, 20 big ones? Perhaps if some citizen suggests they could wallop that price, the council may consider putting the bus shelters out to public tender. Anticipating this, Wit’s End has prepared two tenders — the first for a shelter as per the council spec, the second, for a more luxurious bus shelter that reflects the actual council budget. Our pricing is as follows.

First Tender
(Matching council plan)

1 The Building:  1 Keter Factor 8x8 shed, with pitched roof and attractive weather-board look. Its double doors can be closed to the winter elements, and an approaching bus spotted through its windows. Cost: $1798 from Mitre 10. We can provide Queenstown with a cheaper $899 building, but appreciate the luxury version is more to the council’s taste.

2 Steel Ski Rack, to hold eight pairs of skis and 16 poles. Rough Rack brand purchased direct via their Fishpond website. $268.

3 Six-bicycle floor stand (steel), from Cycling Ideal. $85.

4 Mimosa Hampsted bench (with back support), eucalyptus hardwood, and rated to carry 270kg or three large people. Bunnings, $199.

In summary:

Luxury shed:  $1798
Ski rack: $268
Bike rack:  $85
Bench: $199
Total:  $2350

Because the QLDC has indicated a budget of $20,000 per shelter, we have prepared a second tender to a higher specification, as follows.

Luxury Tender

1 Shed, bench, ski and bike racks, as per First Tender: $2350.

2 Children’s bus stop playground — with wooden playhouse, swings and sandpit. Trade Tested — $1342.

3 Heated spa pool for adults. LUX3 with three seats, 25 jets, a 2kW heater, ozone water sanitiser and LED floodlights. $4495 from Pure Spas.

4 Commuter entertainment system — we suggest you be uncompromising, and go straight to the top-of-the-range Samsung 65-inch curved screen Ultra HD 4K Smart LED TV, $4848 from Noel Leeming. (Purchase will entitle the QLDC to 193 Fly Buys.)

5 Public address and ticketing system. We recommend you think outside the square, and install a parrot. A Trade Me bird supplier offers Rosie, an intelligent 3-year-old galah who is already trained to greet commuters with a cheery "Hello". Rosie has also mastered "Here, Puss Puss", and "Where’s the Cat?" so she can be taught to announce fares and, likely as not, to clip tickets (one peck for Frankton, two to town). Asking price $1000.

6 Bus stop library for adult learning. The One World A-Z Encyclopedia, 22 volumes with stand. Used (some pages foxed) $300. We also offer a free Gideons Bible, but understand Christianity is controversial, and may open the council to legal action by any Victim of the Month.

7 Plus a "ratepayer bonus". Why not delight bus customers with further unexpected services? Hence, a "Super De Luxe" Massage Chair, in classy ivory-coloured PV Leather, four air bags for the body, and 14 for the legs and ankles. Our chair offers four massage speeds, so it is adaptable for pensioners, and friskier occupations. $1299 from TVSN.

All up, our "luxury" tender elevates the council’s service from simple Bus Shelter to that of a modest Community Centre, complete with education, entertainment, sports and children’s facilities — all managed by a highly trained, no-nonsense parrot.

Regrettably, our total price of $15,634 still falls well short of the council’s proposed $20,000. So we insist on providing for whichever purchasing officer you nominate, a five-night Fijian holiday for two, staying in an ocean-side room at the five-star Denarau Sofitel. Flights included (Flight Centre, $3470).

Wit’s End trusts it has met council’s expectations, but should we have failed, please ask us to sharpen our pencils. After paying full retail prices, plus an overseas holiday bonus, we still have $896 of your $20,000 left.

- John Lapsley is an Arrowtown writer.

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