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In the Clutha District Council’s draft 2019-20 annual report, released last week, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said while Covid-19 had caused "inevitable" delays to the council’s capital works programme, it could not account wholly for a "concerning" 39% completion rate in some areas.
"The effects of the pandemic in halting most activity during a key period were certainly the dominant factor in the low rate of completion on many projects, but there were also other factors at play."
Those included severe region-wide flooding in February and significant consenting and non-compliance issues for some projects, including bridge replacements and wastewater plant upgrades, he said.
A $3.4million bridge replacement at Hinahina in the Catlins was due to start in March, just before the lockdown began.
Also in March, an Otago Regional Council review revealed issues with all 11 of Clutha’s wastewater treatment plants, requiring the council to formulate an extensive programme of works to remedy the situation.
The area of water delivery did not fare much better, after only 39% of capital works were completed.
In the area of roading, the council completed just 50% of its planned capital works during the year.
"Unfortunately, the majority of roadworks are done from March to June to benefit from the weather. As we’ve seen this year, that can cause issues when no work can be done at all during that key period."
Mr Cadogan said irrespective of the challenging year, the council needed to "refocus" and redouble its efforts.
"Further disruption aside, now it’s time to deliver for ratepayers."
During the 2019-20 financial year, the council spent a total of $57.9million, which included $18.2million of capital expenditure.
Its total operating revenue was $47,414,000, up 10.6% on the previous year.
Debt remained limited at $9million.