Council not to blame

The new Transport Hub parking building in the Tauranga CBD has been held up over design issues.


The Mayor Greg Brownless has given his unequivocal assurance. The problems which have brought construction of the $27 million plus Harington street ‘transport hub’, or carpark, to a standstill, will not fall back on ratepayers.

“I will be doing my best to make sure that does not happen,” the Mayor told The Weekend Sun this week. “I will not have this pinned on us.”

And he was just as staunch in his defence of the Tauranga City Council’s role as work on the carpark has been ‘paused’ indefinitely. “The Tauranga City Council has not done anything wrong here, not at all,” according to Mayor Greg Brownless. “It’s one of the few things I can state boldly, so that is good.”

Problems with the new carpark were revealed on SunLive when a reliable source reported work on the multi-million dollar construction had “stopped because a concrete pour had twisted the walls of the building”. And that it was going to cost $5 million to fix.

The TCC say that was not the case and work had been redirected to areas not impacted by what it called design changes to seismic joints. But later all work was ‘paused’. 

In May, structural engineers Harrison Grierson informed council of a recommended design change relating to seismic joints. The additional seismic joints would allow different parts of the building to move independently of each other, reducing the load on the structure,

The council’s general manager of infrastructure, Nic Johannsson, said during a concrete pour, one beam was observed to suffer from twisting. The situation had been reviewed by structural engineers, who confirm the structural integrity of the beam had not been compromised.

Now work has been paused until detailed design issues have been dealt with to council’s expectation.  An independent structural consultant has been hired to advise on how to address the issues.

Mayor Brownless was well aware that on the back of the Bella Vista episode, people will be saying here we go again. “That will no doubt be put out there. I just know it. We know with Bella Vista that some fault lay with council. I don’t acknowledge any fault of council with the parking building.

“We employed professionals and we expect them to get it right. We had it peer reviewed. As far as I am concerned those at fault need to take responsibility, step up to the mark, get it right and pay for it. I am totally staunch on that.” Otherwise, the Mayor says, he may as well have done the job himself.

The 2020 opening of the carpark has been put back possibly six months. “I will also be expecting any costs incurred by that delay and the cost of the independent review to be made good as well.” The cost of fixing the structural issue, the delays and the review is unclear at the moment. Greg Brownless says people generally have insurance for this sort of eventuality.

When completed ‘the transport hub’ will cater for 800 people across  a range of transport modes. There will be 250 bike parks and associated facilities such as showers and lockers for cycling commuters. There will be 550 carparks, 53 motorbike parks and electric charging stations for cars and e-bikes.

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