Last night we told you about the mess with the payroll for the gang truce, the poverty alleviation project and other works projects. Cuts are being made across the board because government can no longer afford the wage bill for all 800 plus persons.

But another project - this one very tightly managed - is providing employment to at-risk persons. It is the Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. This one is no idle past-time, and, in fact, idlers are not welcome; it's back breaking manual work that pays well for those who perform but rejects those who want easy money.

We found out how the project is transforming the Collet Canal area and also changing a few lives:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
The Collet Canal - from Yabra to conch Shell Bay is being transformed. 825 metres of the canal is being narrowed, capped, and the adjoining streets paved in short with about 600 piles, the canal is being civilized - it will no longer be a filth strewn backwater.

It is a massive 10 million dollar project funded by the OPEC fund for International Development

Francis Woods Jr. - Project Manager - Southside Poverty Alleviation Project
"It will transform it tremendously. It will be one beautiful section of road, all the water will be cleaner and it will flow faster. It will really be transformed."

"What is also included in this job is a lot of green areas; so we will be planting a lot of trees; mayflowers. We will be putting up garbage bins and that kind of stuff that will really beautify the area."

But as Cisco Woods showed us this is where most of the work happens at the pre-cast site behind the Cisco Construction Compound at Mile 3 on the Western Highway - where 700 of these "U" forms are being built.

The U form will end up here at the bottom of the canal - spanning it squarely almost like a pool. They're all being made with manual labour - no cement trucks - no fancy machines.

Just these cement mixers. The contents of each mix are carefully monitored and supervised. Each mix is sampled, left to cure and tested here.

But not only stringently supervised, it's labour intensive, tough work and it's all on contract - they get paid per bag of cement mixed.

Francis Woods Jr.
"The name of the project is Southside Poverty Alleviation Project. We decided that if we are successful in the job we were trying to provide as much jobs as possible and so what you see behind us right now is that we are mixing very high quality cement in the basic way of using a small barrel mixer."

"What that has done is create at least 10 times more work than if we were doing it using more modern machines."

And in that way 14 men are employed - and they take ten hours to do the work two men on the truck would take 1/5 of the time to do.

Jules Vasquez
"So then any practical efficiency manager would say that it makes no sense."

Francis Woods Jr.
"I guess you could look at it that way but to be honest at the end of the day if we bought a brand new modern truck and a fancy scale, the money would have gone into machinery and into some US cement truck dealer's pocket. Here at the end of this job we would have had employment for at least 40 of these guys for a year and a half. It's a big impact to the actual city and the economy."

And an impact on these men's lives - they are mostly from gang affiliated neighborhoods

Francis Woods Jr.
"It's a nice cross section, different folks, some aren't gang related, some are guys trying to feed their families type of think. One thing you are right on is they are definitely all at-risk. All these guys really needed the work. They come here and tell you plain and straight that they need to put food on their table for their kids and that kind of stuff. It's a win win situation going on here behind us because these guys are really producing hard and making their money. They work hard, it's unbelievable the kind of energy and motivation that they have. These guys just wanted work for so long, it's unbelievable - they are just going all out all the time. Of course they are making money and so that's a major incentive but they are not only making money but they can feel proud that are actually building parts of the city."

And that brings us back to the Collet Canal - where there's real backbreaking work - dumping towering loads of stone into the canal to backfill the sides.

They get paid on a per load basis - so as hard as the work is - they are in a rush to get the load into the canal - so that they can get paid.

Francis Woods Jr.
"Up to date we have about 90-100 people working."

Machines could do the job in minutes - but the project has been designed and costed to give these men work:

Jules Vasquez
"It's tough work. How has the reaction of the work force been?"

Francis Woods Jr.
"Very positive, these guys have impressed me - there are no words to describe it. These guys work hard in the rain, in the sun. I will say that they work harder when it rains because it's a lot cooler. The production goes up quite a bit. We have had zero troubles when it comes to work. These guys push hard."

The project should take 14 months at which time -it moves unto North Creek.

The project has been going ahead of schedule so far.

Channel 7