Covid throws a spanner in the works for CBD project

After more than 10,000 hours were lost because workers were isolating because of Covid-19, the Invercargill CBD development opening date will be delayed for about a month.

The opening of the first stage of the multimillion-dollar project was planned for June 10, but project manager Geoff Cotton said the date had to be pushed back.

About 12,000 to 14,000 hours had been lost as many of workers had had to stay at home either sick due to Covid-19 or as close contacts, he said.

"We still have a little bit of Covid on site, but not significantly anymore.

"We are now confident we can build properly without having everybody not turning up every day."

About 240 contractors were working at the site, and Mr Cotton said that in the worst period, there had been about 80 workers off at home.

A new date for the stage one opening was still to be confirmed, but the aim was to open Farmers and seven to nine associated retailers in early to mid July.

"If it wasn’t for Covid, this project wouldn’t have delays. We were in a good position considering the state of the construction industry and supply chain problems ... we haven’t suffered any of those, but we’ve been impacted by Covid — either by lockdowns and or having no people to do the work."

He said the project team was still assessing the financial impact of the lost hours, but the opening dates of stages two and three were on track for November this year and February next year respectively.

New centre manager Kelvin Mooney was pleased with the progress on site despite the challenges.

The Farmers store was being fitted out and the interior was taking shape with internal scaffolding starting to come down.

Luisa Girao - Otago Daily Times