First of all I would like to thank every single person who has contributed to this blog/forum on the debate surrounding the development of a new multi-purpose stadium in our town. From those whose opinions I don’t agree with, I thank you for voicing your concerns. For those who have contributed actual expert knowledge, and those who just wanted to put their two cents worth in, again thank you very much, this is your forum. More latterly we must all thank the StS for imploding (several times) and allowing us to have Elizabeth Kerr on board as the resident dissenting voice. I think you will all agree that this site is much richer for the range of material now presented on the topic, and that is in no small part down to the hard work of Elizabeth.
When I first started this blog (and some with their heads up their neither regions won’t remember this), the original intention was to start a discussion around the design and function of the building. I was critical of the form (and thus function) of the thing, and while it is not our Sydney Opera House or even Water Cube, the subsequent refining of the concept has resulted in a much greater product (although still far from my wishes – but then I don’t have half a billion to give to the project). The site was exclusively about the design, I wanted to keep the politics out of it altogether, as I had seen the exceedingly unpleasant fights that take place on the NZ political blog scene. But this didn’t really interest anyone, or perhaps the debate wasn’t hot enough back then, and the site kept turning over with 5-20 interested souls a day visiting the site (bless them). However as soon as I took the bait from Peter Entwisle one day (thanks Peter) and the site took on a political feel, things went a little crazy. I remember looking at the stats one day, thinking 85 people looked at this today – madness. This may also surprise many, but it wasn’t until I was pigeon holed as ‘the pro-stadium guy’ that I actually took on the role, I was for the idea but still wasn’t convinced of the merits of it.
Well that is long in the past, and while the discussions have come and gone, there has been thrust and parry, jibes and compliments, on the whole this site has been one of the main stopping points for reasoned argument on the merits and concerns of the stadium development. Once public opinion really got heated up by the frenzied campaign of the StS, the stats went through the roof, and journalists, experts and politicians also referenced and visited this site, contributing from time to time (thanks Richard).
I guess what I have been most proud of, has been the fact that this site has become a forum for ideas, to be debated, applauded, shot down, chewed through, rejected, acclaimed, and it’s all been about Dunedin. I can’t remember another site like this, about Dunedin exclusively, and many of you may well know that there is another venture on the way. This has enabled Dunedin folk (or concerned and informed citizens of NZ) to contribute a voice, whether I like it or not. Unlike the StS site which has engaged in banning and censoring those whom it doesn’t agree with, this site, despite its obvious Pro Stadium stance, has been a place where free and frank discussions can take place, about the place we love to live in.
This isn’t the end of What if?. It is however me finally having the time to thank everyone for their contribution to this argument, whatever side of the fence you sit on. Below is a chart of the stats for this site. If you are involved in any of the big weblogs in NZ, these are laughable, but to me and for such a single issue site, I think this is pretty bloody impressive. I could hardly see Kiwiblog surviving for over 2 years and actually increasing the numbers on a SINGLE ISSUE only.
Thanks very much everyone, it’s been a blast, I hope you have all taken something from this site, be it that South Dunedin isn’t going to float away (I can honestly assure you all of that), through to the still tight economics of the development.
This graph shows the cumulative monthly ‘unique’ visitors to this site. Going from 155 average visitors in the very first month March 2007, through to an average of 6,500 April 2009. There have been 308 Posts, which were commented on 1,409 times over 21 Categories, using 1,006 Tags.
And what does this all show us, that you want to talk about the town you all live in, that is a great thing, cheers all.