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Contract dispute suspends skating rink overhaul

The reconstruction of the Budapest outdoor skating rink has been suspended due to a dispute between the Budapest municipality and the principal contractor of the project, both claiming the other breached contractual obligations.

Construction company Hérosz Zrt claims it has already spent HUF 700 million on the project since the launch in spring and has only received HUF 60 million from the town-. The municipality refused payments saying that the invoices submitted by the company are not in line with the plans for the reconstruction and paying them could mean the loss of EU subsidies.

The builder lists further causes for suspending work, such as extensive archeological exploration of the site, the presence of utilities that were not in the records and the finding of hazardous materials.

Hérosz declared that it wants a new contract. Accordingly, it considers the originally agreed deadlines void and is ready to go to court to receive due payment. Budapest rejected the demand and stressed it would not make payments on any jobs that are not fully compliant with the contract.

The conservative daily Magyar Nemzet – which ran the story claiming possession of the letter sent by Hérosz listing its grievances – noted that the skate park will be the third EU-funded investment that will not be completed by the initially set deadline. The M4 metro line and the Margit Bridge are also behind schedule. 

Budapest won HUF 3.6 billion in EU support for the investment in 2005. (BBJ)