Leaky Cook Islands buildings set for repair
Three public buildings in the Cook Islands contructed by a Chinese firm within the last decade are needing repairs totalling US$600 000 due to leaks, rust and damage.
Three public buildings in the Cook Islands constructed by a Chinese firm within the last decade are needing repairs totalling 600,000 US dollars due to leaks, rust and damage.
The head of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Tamarii Tutangata, told Jenny Meyer the problems with the Courthouse, the Police Headquarters and the Sports Arena in Rarotonga should not be blamed on the Chinese.
TAMARII TUTANGATA: We did not put in specifications about the type of materials that are required for tropical conditions. And what has emerged is that some of the materials that were used, the type of steel that was used for instance, starts to rust fairly early over here. So we've had to do something about replacing those in the Justice building and the Police building. Nothing like that has yet happened in the TSA which is the sport facility, although there are some signs of rust with some of the steel works there.
JENNY MEYER: Are you saying really that it's the climatic conditions rather than shoddy workmanship or do you think it might be a combination of both?
TT: I don't want to be seen to be putting the blame completely on the Chinese. I think it's our specifications as well about the type of materials. There are examples of small construction failures but these aren't major in that sense. So it's also the type of supervision that we allocated to these projects. The sports stadium that I'm talking about was done under extreme pressure. Pressure that we basically put on ourselves in the sense that government did not request the Chinese to construct the building until very late in the piece. Which then basically required the Chinese construction company to build the building within 12 months. But the Chinese managed to meet the deadline through working very long shifts and sometimes through the night to ensure that the building was constructed in time.
JM: You're now faced then with quite significant repair bills. Who's going to be responsible for paying the cost of the repairs to these three public buildings, the Courthouse, the Police Headquarters and the Telecom Sports Arena?
TT: Well in discussions with the Chinese, they have expressed the willingness to provide the funding necessary. These are informal discussions. But we've just recently, in the past three weeks, submitted a formal request for them to provide both the funding as well as to rectify the actual anomalies that need to be rectified.
JM: In the meantime are those buildings all functioning in the capacity that they were intended? Or are these leaks and rusting parts and damage, are they causing a functional problem with the use of the buildings?
TT: In terms of the Police building, no it's not causing any disruptions at all there. The sports stadium, that's also not a major work. The building continues to be used normally by the sports people. In the case of the Justice building, the major one that is causing quite a bit of discomfort is the fact that the air conditioning has broken down and has been slated for replacement for over a year now.
The head of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Tamarii Tutangata says the repairs will start next year.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: