The Damn Cashmere Valley Dam

This all started after my dog walk in the Cashmere Valley/Cracroft neighbourhood of Ōtautahi/Christhchruch, Aotearoa/New Zealand where i live. I posted this (includes a couple photos) in my preferred corner of the Fediverse.

I can report that I've had a rather long conversation with Dean Ewen, who's phone # is listed as the project manager on the sign. To explain why they were behind schedule, he claimed that they'd 'lost 3 months to wet weather'... er, it rains *every* year. How'd they not work that into their delivery timeframe? And he said the they hoped to have "most" of the world done by the end of the year (well more than 3 months beyond their announced completion date) - and there's still more for them to do in the new year, because they won't be finished.

I asked him why they hadn't informed the community about the overrun on the time. He didn't have an answer. They did, of course, have time to tape over the completion time on the sign. Then there're the roads through the basin. The ones that'll be under water for, say, 3 months per year. Weren't we promised 'raised boardwalks' through the *wetland*? I asked him. He said that they 'de-scoped' the project, due to cost overruns... (this is from the *project manager* - why were there overruns?) and as such went to shingle roads to reduce costs (and use left-over metal). A very underwhelming substitute.

I asked why they don't finish all the paths, so that those of us who *moved here because of the beautiful reserve* that we haven't been able to access due to arbitrarily placed fences and unfinished bridges & walkways, can finally use them - months after originally promised. They could, of course, have given us access all along, only putting up fences on the odd week when they *actually did some work in a particular part of the reserve*. But not, they just put fences up the whole time, and expected us all to lump it. He defended that by saying "when a backhoe operator is working in an area, they need to be confident nobody's going to walk into the area they're working", and yet their practice of willy-nilly fence placement has trained us to ignore them because 99% of the time, there's literally nothing happening. Also, if there's a backhoe in the vicinity, it's usually pretty apparent to everyone within a few hundred meters.

Anyway, I'm quite unimpressed by the community engagement of the project, the underwhelming outcomes, the lame excuses for stuff that it was their job to take into account, and by the council's lack of enforcement of the agreed plan and dates. It seems like these folks (GSL? A subbie to Fletchers?) completely ignore their own timelines and experience no repercussions. It's no wonder this sort of public work cost so much - because *all* the risk is worn by the ratepayer, not the contractor. The ratepayers of Ōtautahi deserve much better.

Actually, reflecting further, I'm quite annoyed that Dean thought that "'we couldn't work for 3 months, due to bad weather, so we couldn't make our deadline" was a valid excuse. I've lived in the area for 4 years now, and, if I'm not mistaken, it's rained every year. Plus, the catchment has filled every year. If their planning process didn't allow for rainy weather, then what business do they have being planners? A good planner would've made allowances for it in their original timeline. What it's increasingly smelling like is a badly managed project and a contractor who's entirely unconcerned about being held to account.

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