Contractor announced for Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga
Construction company Livingstone Building has been selected as the successful tenderer to build South Taranaki's new library arts and cultural centre, Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, although the $15.5 million price tag came in well over the $ 9.2 million estimated three years ago to build the facility and complete the surrounding landscaping.
South Taranaki District Council (STDC) chief executive Waid Crockett says while frustrating, the cost increase was not unexpected given the original estimate was three years old, and significant cost increases had taken place in the construction industry in the last 12 months alone.
“You really don’t know what the final price will be until you go to the market. Livingstone’s tender price was in-line with the other tenders and reflects the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, the increases in inflation and the difficulty in getting both supplies and skilled tradespeople at a time when demand in the construction sector is so high,” says Crockett.
“However, thanks to external fundraising being substantially more than budgeted, and by using funds budgeted for other Hawera town centre projects, and the council's long term investment fund, there will be no impact on rates to build the facility, and meet the cost increase,” he says.
Council’s original external fundraising target for the project was $3.2 million but to date just under $7 million has been secured with major contributions from the TOI Foundation ($2.8 million) and the Government’s Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit’s COVID-19: Infrastructure Investment Fund ($4 million).
“We will also continue to look at other external funding sources that may be available to us,” says Mr Crockett.
Mr Crockett says Livingstone put a strong emphasis on using local subcontractors and suppliers in their tender and many South Taranaki businesses will be working on the project.
South Taranaki Mayor Phil Nixon says the long-awaited project is a key part of the council’s post-COVID economic growth and Hawera town centre revitalisation strategy.
The new facility will not simply revitalise - it will transform the town centre. The modern, multi-functional, community facility will provide residents and visitors with a wide range of services, information, cultural and educational resources. These include a library, community meeting rooms, art gallery, i-SITE visitor centre, café, and public toilets. Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, will not only be a community and visitor hub, but it will also be a catalyst for driving change and increasing investment in the town centre.”
As significant funders of the Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanaga project Toi Foundation Chief Executive Maria Ramsay acknowledges the Foundation’s commitment to South Taranaki. “The centre will provide a much-needed facility for the community and bring about a new vibrancy in Hawera providing enhanced community services, creating economic stimulus and improving connectivity for both the South Taranaki community and for visitors to the district.”
Physical work will begin on the site by the end of the month.