1. Media release from the KCDC issued on Wednesday 1 September

Council releases tender to build Te Uruhi

Kāpiti Coast District Council today released the tender documents to find a lead contractor for the Te Uruhi development.

Sited in Maclean Park, Paraparaumu near the traditional landing and departure point for Kāpiti Island, Te Uruhi will provide an iconic visitor experience, a biosecurity facility, and tell the Kāpiti Island conservation story. It will celebrate our district’s rich cultural history and enhance the environment in and around the Tikotu Stream. It will consist of two small accessible, relocatable and sustainable building pods surrounded by decking and landscaping.

Council is using an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) agreement which involves the preferred contractor providing constructability and innovation advice into the detailed design process.

Sean Mallon, General Manager Infrastructure says the appointed contractor will help finalise the detailed design, but the physical works will not begin until all consents are in place.

“Due to time constraints associated with the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and in line with normal project management processes, we need to keep progressing the project. This early work will inform any future development that might take place,” said Mr Mallon.

Another benefit of an ECI contract is that it reduces costs because construction feedback is incorporated into the design before it’s finalised. “This early input reduces the number of potentially expensive changes made further along the process,” added Mr Mallon.

The tender documents stipulate the building must be relocatable to account for any changes in the environment. This could involve elements of modular construction, offsite fabrication, or other innovations that allow for the building to be removed, transported and installed at a different location.  A further requirement is that the building must meet a high standard of accessibility for people living with a disability.

Other details of the tender include:

  • seeking construction methods that minimise environmental disruption and source materials sustainably and locally
  • minimising building waste through reducing, recycling or reusing it
  • offering opportunities to Māori, Pasifika and women workers in line with the requirements of Council’s procurement strategy and the COVID-10 Response and Recovery Fund.

The tender closes on 30 September and the successful contractor will be appointed by the end of October.

The tender documents can be accessed from the Government Electronic Tenders Service (gets.govt.nz).

2. Media release from the Kapiti Improvement Society issued on Friday 3 September

The tender process for the ‘Uruhi’ Gateway must be stopped immediately. The Kapiti Improvement Society (KIS), representing over 3,000 petitioners opposing the Gateway, is shocked and dismayed to see that KCDC has thrown away the rulebook and has let tenders for the Kapiti Gateway. The Mayor and Six Councillors have decided to steamroll this project and are defying legal requirements. This is an appalling abuse of process.

We have been advised the RMA (Resource Management Act) consent should come first. KCDC has put the cart before the horse. Council seems to be trying to coerce and influence the independent assessor to approve the application. What chance is there that Council’s Regulatory Services Department will turn down an application after KCDC has already started tender work and working drawings? KCDC has spent over 18 months trying to get this project
approved, that has multiple problems with non-compliance issues within the Operative District Plan and the Reserves Act.

We urgently request that our elected representatives step in and stop this tender process immediately.

By starting the project the Council is forcing its Regulatory Services Department to grant consent. In other words the whole consenting process has been corrupted by KCDC’s actions.

There is a second major problem. The KCDC Press release says: “Council is using an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) agreement which involves the preferred contractor providing constructability and innovation advice into the detailed design process.” It would appear KCDC has already chosen, without any competitive tender the building contractor.

We have obtained advice from experts. They say The ECI has four major problems:

  1. There is no fixed price so the costs can soar exactly like the Aquatic Centre did — it went from $6 million to $22 million.
  2. It is non-competitive so the price can go as high as the parties agree.
  3. It requires high quality management and oversight by KCDC. The Aquatic Centre blow out, the closure of the Waikanae library for failed management, and closure of the Community Centre reflect levels of incompetence that should preclude KCDC from even considering using this type of contract.
  4. It is only suitable for large scale projects, and this is not one.

KCDC’s press release indicates ECI is the cost effective way to proceed. It is not. The NZ Government’s own procurement procedures say this method of getting a contract must only apply to large and complex ($15 million plus) projects where there is significant new technology used. It is anticipated there will be spin to suggest that making the building relocatable fits the complexity criteria. There are thousands of relocatable buildings in NZ. It is not complex.

Gurunathan and the six councillors seem to be keen to ram through this project. They have abandoned getting the most effective price for the build by putting it out to competitive tender. KCDC told the Provincial Growth fund this was shovel ready and sent in costings with the application. The Mayor and his support councillors have reassured us all that the costs are firm. Mayor Gurunathan stood on the ticket of transparency and was voted in on that commitment. WE ask he keep to that commitment. Stop the process. Allow the proper rules to apply, and give up the non-competitive ECI process.

Sharon Hunter, Spokesperson