Local politicians in the inland city of Hamar were red-faced last week after news broke that a diving platform they’d planned to build along the shore of Lake Mjøsa literally had to be put on ice. The diving board project was supposed to cost NOK 1.5 million (USD 250,000), but costs had soared to a stunning NOK 14.5 million before city officials called a halt to it.
Newspaper Hamar Arbeiderblad reported that finishing the project may cost as much as NOK 29 million or more. That would mean a budget overrun so dramatic that politicians now don’t seem to dare to go further with the project, which they’d hoped would be a new landmark along the shore of Norway’s largest lake.
It all started with NOK 700,000 in funding from a public lottery system and NOK 500,000 in a gift from a local bank, which was supposed to fund most of the project. Instead, some officials blame “the diving platform’s complexity” when trying to explain how costs began mounting far beyond the initial budget: Plans evolved into a “diving complex” instead of just a diving board, and then it proved to be incapable of withstanding the strong winds and waves that can crop up on the lake. Its anchoring system didn’t work and politicians had to admit that their diving dreams were drowning.
Now the diving tower itself has been towed into Hamar’s harbour for the winter, reported newspaper VG, in which one commentator wrote that the would-be landmark has become a monument to how politicians and public officials can use money that’s not their own. The future of the project remains unclear.