The $2 million upgrade of the Katherine hot springs has hit a big delay.
Works have stalled this year and Katherine Town Council has so far been unwilling to explain the reasons why.
There is still no timeline on when the works, costing more than $2 million, will be complete.
The first stage of the project was supposed to be finished last October.
When first announced in April, 2016 the government said the “upgrades to Katherine Hot Springs is expected to begin in the coming weeks and be completed by the end of November this year”.
Some of the delays could be explained by this update, after repeated questioning from the Katherine Times, made by the council this week.
“As a result of the 2017/18 wet season it has been noted that some erosion has occurred in the lower gabion rock wall tier,” the council said.
“Given the unique location of the site and the challenges that are often seen in projects of this scale, consultants have been engaged to inspect the site to determine the best method for remediating this matter.”
Katherine Times has inspected the site which is now locked down behind security fences and gates.
A respected engineer has told us there is severe erosion on the site, which may be related to a lack of drainage.
The engineer questioned the safety of the site over the next wet season.
Remediating is suggested to mean there is a structural or engineering issue which now needs to be fixed before the project can continue.
Also, it was announced this week new designers and project managers had been appointed to the half-finished project.
Mode Design Corp has been appointed to finish the project along with Irwin Consult.
Mode is engaged in building new tennis courts in Darwin along with many other projects, and was famously involved in designing a 300 metre glass skywalk at the Gorge for the then Giles Government.
“Mode Design in collaboration with Irwin Consult have been entrusted to undertake this important task and have carried out a site investigation and come up with a preliminary concept that meets the design,” council said.
“With the structural engineers from Irwin Consult in Darwin and the oversight of Mode Design, Katherine Town Council is confident the issue will be remediated to meet the timeframes set out.”
There are no new timeframes from the council.
The project has a troubled past with an illegal clearing as a result of an “administrative error”.
A 900-square-metre portion of the river corridor had been cleared without a permit.
Almost $1 million has been budgeted for the first stage of the project with most of the money funded by the Northern Territory Government.
The first stage involved the terracing on the main entrance bank to the Hot Springs and the installation of the gabion rock baskets.
RISE Ventures worked with a subcontractor from Adelaide to complete all terracing and gabion rock baskets using some CDP money.
The second stage of the project involves a new playground at the top of the river bank, near the Pop Rocket Cafe.