Cost of controversial dam near Nelson blows out by $25 million

A major dam project in Tasman, already the subject of controversy over its pricing, has skyrocketed in price.

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The project has faced fierce opposition over rising costs to ratepayers and possible harm to the environment. Source: 1 NEWS

The latest estimates to build the Waimea Community Dam in the Lee Valley have been revised, with the new projected cost increasing by $25 million to $129.4 million.

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Controversial Waimea Community Dam to go ahead after council votes 'yes'

Waimea Water Limited, a council-controlled organisation overseeing the project, has put the cost change down to “unforeseen geological conditions”.

WWL Chief Executive Mike Scott says some areas of rock, meant to be used for drainage in the build, was found to be unsuitable.

“Some rock was found to be more fractured and breaking up more readily than expected,” Mr Scott says.

“Testing has confirmed that it is not of a high enough quality to be used”.

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The heat is on Tasman District councillors today as they decided whether to go ahead with the construction of the Waimea Community Dam. Source: 1 NEWS

A range of solutions are being sought after, which may include buying rock from a nearby quarry or other locations in the valley.

Tasman Mayor Tim King said it was too soon to say how the increase in costs would be covered, but under the agreed funding model, the council was committed to pay for increases over $3 million. But he said that “doesn’t automatically mean it’s funded entirely through rates.

“We would hope the other funding partners will look seriously at opportunities to contribute to the funding mix”.

The project also faces a delay between two and four months.

There will be a public meeting held at the end of March to answer questions and concerns.