Monday, July 15, 2024

COVID locks down city’s biggest projects

The COVID-19 lockdown has pushed out completion dates for two of Christchurch’s biggest construction projects – the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and the Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre.

Te Pae (pictured) was due to open in October but Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive, John Bridgman, today confirmed the opening would be delayed as many of the specialists needed to complete the facility were unable to travel from the North Island.

“At least 30 experts in areas such as fire systems management and other aspects of commissioning and compliance for a venue of this scale are based in Auckland and Wellington,” Mr Bridgman said.

“It’s understandable these people won’t be able to travel outside their regions for some time. Also productivity on-site will be reduced with the Level 3 personal distance requirements. With all the unknowns, we can’t yet provide a firm opening date but we are aiming to provide event organisers with as much clarity as is possible at the moment.

“This is a large facility and we’re unlikely to be able to host the most complex events such as big conferences and exhibitions this year but we are optimistic of holding meetings and banquets before Christmas.

“While we are very keen to get the doors open as soon as possible, this will be a key city asset for decades to come. Even allowing for COVID-19, it’s likely to provide about $600 million of direct economic benefit in the next 10 years.’’

The 2021 Smart Christchurch Innovation Expo scheduled for 31 October and 1 November was to be one of the first public events at Te Pae.

Expo organiser and Smart Christchurch Manager, Michael Healy said his team was working with the venue company to reschedule the expo to early 2022.

“Unfortunately the latest lockdown means we are unable to go ahead with the event as planned this year, but we are determined to proceed with the expo at Te Pae and are currently in discussions about locking in some new dates,’’ Mr Healy said.

The latest COVID-19 disruption has also impacted work at the Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre.

Construction will now not be completed until some months after the pre-lockdown target of the end of 2022.

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