Tenders have come in at "almost double the cost we had anticipated", Araluen director Tim Rollason announced last week.
How could that happen?
One could understand the cost estimates being a bit out, but out by more than double?
says the project was costed "quite a few years ago, when Alice Solar City
(ASC) was first announced".
An information sheet about the project reveals that the anticipated cost was around $1m.
Cost was discussed only in relation to an alternative option of photovoltaic cells put at "in excess of $3.0M".
"This would be nearly three times higher than the installed cost of the solar troughs and the absorption chiller put together," according to the information sheet.
has corrected this, saying this week that $1m was the anticipated cost for the solar troughs only.
The project was meant to be one of five "iconic" installations of solar technology for ASC
Controversy arose over its proposed location in the grounds of the arts centre, originally between Central Craft and the Strehlow Research Centre
A compromise location - on the Circus Lawns behind the arts centre, to the west of Big Sister Hill - was later agreed to.
says in its earliest form the project was to be powered by solar dishes generating electricity, which were to have been located at the back of the arts centre.
Later, following a thorough analysis of the building and its energy needs, it was decided that solar troughs - collecting heat which through thermal exchange would chill water which would in turn cool air in the building - would be the better way to go.
This was a different, more unusual technology.
The tender process revealed that a lot of parts for the installation would have to be ordered from overseas.
That was one factor affecting cost in unexpected ways; others were changes in the technology itself and the changing "money story" around the world, says Mr Rollason
Replacing the now 26 year old air-conditioning system remains a priority for Araluen
, says Mr Rollason
says people should also understand that photovoltaic cells would generate electicity but would not be connected to powering the air-conditioning system directly, although they would act to offset the carbon footprint of the building.
Fran Morey is a member of the Friends of Araluen but gives a personal view in calling for Mr Rollason to reconvene the community reference group "to encourage the use of solar energy at Araluen, to help with the costs of the new air-conditioning plant which is urgently needed - but in a cheaper and already tried form".
Fast forward a couple of years to 2010 and the stage is set for the next part of the yarn - the one where this extremely-scared-of-heights person, me, gets talked into doing the unthinkable by his
charming mate, Oz, and his
Just recently Oz had a significant birthday and asked me to come over and play at the party.
The Wizard and Oz would reform, rock the night away and I would get to see where he
lives and works, as the party was to be held at his
Ozzy's new job is at an adventure camp, a place where schools send their students for a couple of days of RnR, interspersed with challenges of the physical (hiking, canoes etc) and mental kind.
Stuff about facing your fears and overcoming them, making you stronger blah blah, you get the idea.
This is great when you are younger, have no real reckoning of your own mortality but do have a desperate need to seek the approval of your peers.
So abseiling and throwing yourself off towers all makes good sense, especially as you are roped up and there is no real risk as such.
Not so good for me, who doesn't care about the ropes and safety nonsense.
But still, there I am in my harness and Bob the Builder helmet, being quietly reassured by Timmy
, the not-scared-of-anything bastard.