Carisbrook’s future: DCC plays commercial sensitivity card

### ODT Online Tue, 16 Mar 2010
Carisbrook discussion remains in private
By Chris Morris
Plans for the future of Carisbrook – now owned by the Dunedin City Council – were debated behind closed doors by councillors yesterday, after a last-minute bid to hold the debate in public was defeated. Councillors were set to debate an agenda item on “Ex ORFU properties” in a public-excluded section of yesterday’s council finance and strategy committee meeting.

Mayor Peter Chin has previously said no decision on the future use of Carisbrook would be made until after “extensive discussion and consultation”.

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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3 Comments

Filed under Economics, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design

3 responses to “Carisbrook’s future: DCC plays commercial sensitivity card

  1. Russell Garbutt

    This story is a very interesting one and demonstrates a high degree of manipulation of information in the public arena.

    I requested information from the DCC on the sale of Carisbrook under the LGOIMA and received a response which listed the properties involved in the sale. The properties were listed as the Ground itself, the vacant land, and various residential properties. The total purchase price of this package was $7m. I was specifically prevented from being supplied the breakdown of this $7m on the grounds of commercial sensitivity. Indeed to quote from the letter I received – “The Council is in the process of preparing the residential properties for sale and wants to ensure the maximum return for these properties on the open market.”

    However, in this morning’s ODT story, Chris Morris reports that the Ground and carpark was sold for $6m and the properties on Burns Street for “a further $1m”.

    The properties which have been bought for $1m, number 8 in all, and the average value for each property can be readily calculated to be $125,000. Any person can go onto the DCC website and find the details of each of these properties including the value of the land and of the improvements.

    So, the question that really needs to be answered by the Chair of the Finance Committee, Richard Walls, is just what was needed to be held out of public scrutiny? Any prospective purchaser knows from the published information the total price of the houses and knows individually the value of the land and the improvements. It doesn’t take rocket science to work out the current values.

    Was it rather, anything to do with the lingering doubts about transparency and the DCC concerning the valuation report in the final draft Horwath Report of February 2007, which included the statement that “a leading Dunedin real estate firm has estimated for us that the existing Carisbrook site might sell for approximately $2.5m”.

    While that statement was removed from the final report – and we don’t know why that should be, or who requested its removal – we are told that another valuation was used in the purchase process.

    There is a considerable difference between the $6m identified as the purchase price of Carisbrook itself as well as the vacant land at 24 Burns Street, and the $2.5m that someone else who seemed to be qualified came up with. The lingering suspicion that the purchase price had more to do with the debt level of the ORFU than the value of the land continues and will do so until the proceedings of the DCC can become much more transparent. However, under this present regime, I can’t see that happening – can you?

  2. Richard

    As Cr Wilson noted in her reported comment in today’s ODT, the sale of the Carisbrook properties is provided for in the current LTCCP once the lease held by the ORFU runs its course.

    The committee at its meeting yesterday simply canvassed that position and other options that need to be considered in relation to the future of the properties.

    A formal report will be on the agenda for consideration at its next meeting on Monday 26 April.

    Consultation with directly interested parties and the public will then follow.

    Simple as that. Anything else is pure speculation.

    Richard Walls
    Chair, Finance & Strategy, DCC

    {This letter has also been published at ODT Online. -Eds}

  3. Richard: “As simple as that?” The fact is, the stadium has become the council’s ‘tar baby’. The harder you try to cast it off the harder it sticks. Like Brer Rabbit, you can’t disentangle from it, it will haunt you and your colleagues up to and through the election. And then it will haunt the citizens in perpetuity. Pity you all hadn’t reined in the mayor and Jim Harland on this one long ago. Playing politics without the deeper understanding of what you are doing has brought you all to this ‘impasse’. Pathetic really.

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