by STACEY HEANEY
LISBURN'S Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford has
urged the Executive to give the go ahead for work to start as
soon as possible on the National Stadium at the Maze to avoid
further increases in the cost of the project.
Mr Crawford was speaking after the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors in Northern Ireland warned
that costs of public sector construction schemes will rise
because general building materials and wages are expected to
increase above the rate of inflation.
Mr Crawford stated: "The delay of six or
seven years at the Maze has already cost an enormous amount of
money in increased costs, the blame for that rests firmly with
those who put off the decision.
"The construction market is struggling and
contractors will be keen to get the contract. It seems strange
that builders and construction workers are being let go when
this project is ready to go.
"Opponents have to bear in mind that since
costs are rising we will have to do without a stadium anywhere
if it is not at the Maze. The site at the Maze is free of
charge; they are looking a gift horse in the mouth.
"It just shows the Assembly is not up to the
job of running this country efficiently."
RICS's Northern Ireland Chairman, John
Davidson, said the longer major public sector construction
schemes are delayed, the more they will likely cost the taxpayer
as prices for construction materials and for transportation have
continued to escalate.
Mr Davidson said: "The cost of the planned
government construction projects is inevitably rising and the
longer these schemes are delayed, the less value Northern
Ireland will get for the investment being made.
"Northern Ireland has limited resources and
it is vital that best use is made of what is available to the
Executive. Therefore we would urge the Executive to ensure that
public construction schemes are brought on line as quickly as
possible. Delays in doing so are impacting negatively on the
health of the local construction sector and on the public
purse," Mr Davidson added.