The Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust (CCHCT) has issued a media release to address perceived misunderstanding over the organisation and funding of the building project.
Trust chairman Dale Anderson concurred with Clutha Leader and ODT articles that the present projected total cost of the build is $24 million, and the press release, dated April 7, addresses a commonly touted figure of $15 million.
‘‘[The Hub] has never been a $15 million project. The  publicly released feasibility study indicated $20 million,’’ the release reads.
It explains that the Clutha District Council (CDC) committed to contribute 50% of costs up to $15 million, meaning $7.5 million would be provided by the CDC.
A further $7.4 million came from the central Government’s Kanoa ‘‘shovel ready’’ projects fund, and contributions from third parties — including $2.2 million from the Otago Community Trust — have raised the kitty to a present total of $17,195,714.
The project’s original costs were estimated in the 2020›2021 era, but as global economic and supply developments, including those related to Covid›19, began to accelerate, the construction stakeholders became increasingly aware the numbers were changing.
‘‘At a February 10 meeting, Hub members raised concerns that increases were now placing their ability to cover commitment with fundraising under pressure.
‘‘There are two major components to this; changes in scope and design as the group have refined details and maximised floor space, and cost escalations. The Hub Trustees rightly turned to Council requesting our assistance,’’ Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said.
At a CDC meeting on March 30, updated adjustments for the project calculated present funding requirements at $7 million.
‘‘Close inspection reveals the [Hub] Trust have been diligent in containing costs, considering global events and extenuating circumstances beyond their control, and now the preferred option is to forward›order the remaining components required, to mitigate against future increases, and the group are confident this will enable completion of the project,’’ Mr Cadogan said.
As an entity separate from Council, CCHCT has broader options for seeking funding and income streams.
‘‘That was definitely a consideration when the project was set up. Developments lately have brought on acute pressure early, but further, ongoing fundraising has always been part of the plan,’’ chairman Dale Anderson said.
‘‘This project has literally been handed to the community to be executed without Council involvement.
‘‘They’ve obviously been huge supporters but the Trust has driven this as an independent piece of work from Council, as a community entity managing all the same processes that anybody else doing a building of this nature has,’’ he said.
CCHCT’s press release states an independent quantity surveyor reviewed the figures and found costs were in line with market expectations, and reiterates the positive impacts of the Hub for the community.
As part of its annual plan process, the Council will consult today, April 14, on the additional funding needs, with ‘‘drawing from Council reserves as the preferred option’’.