I have heard repeatedly from supporters of a no dam solution that is the solution the project believes is the most cost effective solution.
Proponents of a dam however indicate the project has not properly accounted for litigation costs from property owners on the creek. I am far from a legal expert so there is not much I can offer there.
What has not been debated however and what I can comment on is, is the accuracy of construction costs proposed?
As someone with 40 years plus in the building industry I believe the Project is guessing at best, albeit by independent experts, when it comes to the physical building cost of the project. Whether costing the dam or the creek widening the experts can only make a best guess if they don’t have detailed design.
I ask anyone taking the trouble of reading this however how often do we hear of government projects going over budget. If you are honest, too many is the answer. Why? Because we present to the public a budget before the detail is available. And why do we do that? Because the cost of preparing detailed design is a costly exercise in its own right.
The intricacies of the creek widening concerns me and I am disinclined to accept the cost estimates at face value and that is no criticism of those who prepared the budget.
I am acutely aware of the lack of design work within the City of Unley having spoken with property owners along the creek. One very common storey I hear from these property owners is the Project is unable to tell them what is intended in their property. The report itself says on page 43 “the estimated properties requiring works are identified” meaning the extent of widening/walls is not determined.
The number of properties with creek works needed that is lacking detail design leaves me concerned that the budget is likely to blow out alarmingly.
Will the cost be contained under budget with any option? Hopefully yes but probably not.
To be able then to vote for option D is made hard for me without a better confidence on the costs. Indeed, as I write this, I think I may discuss this issue with our management.