Budget blowout for Fergburger work


The cost of a controversial pavement project outside a prominent Queenstown burger joint has almost doubled.

Late last year, Fergburger if it could gobble up three carparks outside its Shotover Street home to deal with pedestrian congestion – saying it would cover costs up to $100,000.

– though the vote was split.

After questions from Mountain Scene the council confirmed tonight the project will now cost $195,000 – and ratepayers will be slugged with the difference.

The council has renegotiated the arrangement so the burger joint will pay an annual chunk under its table and chairs policy.

The cost overrun, which will be swallowed by existing budgets because the council has deferred other work, follows several delays in the work – which was originally meant to be .

Now there are questions over whether the job will be finished before Winter Festival.

Right now the carparks are unusable – after the council paid a contractor to tear them up without having awarded the contract for the footpath-swallowing work.

Council infrastructure manager Peter Hansby says the tender is expected to be let this week and work should start almost immediately.

“We intend that the work will be completed before the start of the Winter Festival but this will be confirmed with the contractor as part of the current negotiations.”

But that’s cold comfort for ratepayers – and for Fergburger, which got agreement for the work to go ahead last July.

Hansby says only one tender had been received for the project – presumably months after the council originally signed off on the project – and the price was significantly higher than the $100,000 estimate.

The work was approved despite opposition from business heads in the town.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce boss Ann Lockhart said ahead of the council vote she was concerned about the “piecemeal” loss of CBD car parks.

At the crucial council meeting, Queenstown business veteran Kim Wilkinson, a pharmacist, said it was wrong to allow a business to expand on to ratepayers’ land.

The state highways manager of the deal – giving it a cautious tick as long as the council took any flak if it went pear-shaped.