Is it now time for a commissioner to be appointed to govern Dunedin? Russell Garbutt asks the question. (ODT)
### ODT Online Fri, 1 Aug 2014
Opinion Council failing to govern Dunedin
By Russell Garbutt
There are a number of factors that point to the drastic action of appointing a commissioner to govern Dunedin as being the only solution to contain a council unable or unwilling to govern a city in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act. Such factors include the financial position Dunedin residents find themselves in. While Dunedin’s rate of growth is static, the population is made up of a significant number of transitory students at the city’s tertiary institutions and a significant number of residents who are elderly and have limited incomes. And yet this same population has a level of debt per ratepayer second only in the country behind Auckland, which is growing in size and ability to pay off debt. Most of this debt is directly due to the decision to fund a new rugby stadium that a previous council decided to progress, despite the lack of private construction funding. The truth behind this project will be revealed only by a full forensic audit of all matters connected to the stadium, but this council seems unwilling to learn what happened and even more unwilling to be able to take any action that may flow from such an independent audit. Read more
● Russell Garbutt, formerly from Dunedin, is a Clyde resident.
Cr Calvert “fired a shot at Cr Benson-Pope, claiming he had access to answers – as a committee chairman – in ways some other councillors might not enjoy”. (ODT)
### ODT Online Fri, 1 Aug 2014 278 official requests to council for information
By Chris Morris
Two of Dunedin’s city councillors are helping flood Dunedin City Council staff with official information requests, as a third councillor questions the cost of providing so many answers. Figures released to the Otago Daily Times yesterday showed the council has received 278 official information requests since July 1 last year, more than in previous years. The requests included 34 sent by the city’s elected members, most of which had come from Crs Hilary Calvert and Lee Vandervis, it was confirmed. Read more
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Image: DCC YouTube screenshot reworked by whatifdunedin
### ODT Online Tue, 1 Jul 2014
Opinion Fresh thinking needed in local government
By Ciaran Keogh
Perhaps it is time to look at a far-reaching reform of the way local government functions at both local and regional level. There are substantial efficiencies to be gained from integrating many council functions across the councils within the region. More than 10 years ago I did away with all IT functions at the Clutha District Council and merged these with Invercargill City. This model would work for all of the councils across all of Otago and Southland for little more than it currently costs Dunedin City Council to run its IT services.
Some fresh thinking needs also to be applied to the stadium and the first of these should be the monopoly that rugby has over it and the grass surface. Read more
● Ciaran Keogh is a former chief executive of the Clutha District Council, Wakool Shire in the Riverina region of New South Wales, and Environment Southland. He now lives in Dunedin.
Crowds had been down right across the five New Zealand franchises but that was a worldwide trend, with fewer people attending events.
### ODT Online Tue, 1 Jul 2014 Rugby: Crowds can’t fall any further – Clark
By Steve Hepburn
The Highlanders met budget for crowds this year but have warned they cannot dip any lower if the franchise is to remain viable. In the eight games the Highlanders hosted at Forsyth Barr Stadium this year, 98,326 people came through the gate, an average crowd of 12,291 per game. [...] A crowd of 11,070 attended the last home game, the win over the Chiefs, a figure that did not exactly delight Highlanders general manager Roger Clark. Read more
### ODT Online Tue, 3 Jun 2014
Opinion Transport strategy must respect personal needs
By Phil Cole
Dunedin has its own unique geographic, demographic and historical features that make any transportation planning in the city reliant on forward-thinking, rather than academic theoretical practices. The historical past of Dunedin’s transportation, however, should only be ignored at its peril. It is vitally important for Dunedin’s direction that any long-term transport planning is determined not by short-term populist ideas but by long-term growth, based on economic conditions, city development and people’s habits. It is equally important council land-use planning is closely aligned to, but does not determine, how the city can be rejuvenated. Read more
Riccarton Rd resident Brian Miller said the council was not trying to reach a fair and reasonable settlement and valuations were being forced on landowners.
### ODT Online Wed, 4 Jun 2014 Offers prepared for land
By Shawn McAvinue
The land needed to widen Riccarton Rd will be obtained by statutory authority if a mutual agreement can not be met, Dunedin City Council roading projects engineer Evan Matheson says. [...] Some landowners were hesitant to make land available, he said. Read more
More structural changes inside the council, including across its property group, are expected to be announced today by chief executive Sue Bidrose.
### ODT Online Fri, 2 May 2014 Agency given a name
By Debbie Porteous
The new Dunedin marketing agency to co-ordinate tourism, events, investment, skills and migrant promotion efforts for the city will be known as Enterprise Dunedin. Dunedin City Council [...] was to form the new agency, moving Tourism Dunedin in-house, from July 1. The agency would be responsible for economic development and city marketing and consist of the council’s present economic development unit, i-Site and Tourism Dunedin staff. Read more
Updated post 3.5.14
New team structure unveiled
Following consultation with staff the decision was made to retain property staff as one team. A new property manager, in a lower level management position than previously, would oversee the team and report to infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery. However, ownership, and therefore any final decisions, of the investment property portfolio would sit with group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie. ODT Link
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Images: 3.bp.blogspot.com – NSE bridge; odt.co.nz – Grant McKenzie (re-imaged by whatifdunedin)
### dunedintv.co.nz April 28, 2014 – 6:53pm DCC’s Robert Clark steps down
The man in charge of the Dunedin City Council’s property portfolio is leaving the role he has held for the last six years. Group manager of economic development and property Robert Clark is returning to the commercial sector. The council says the creation of a city marketing agency and proposed structural changes will affect property operations. It says that review provided an opportunity for Clark to return to the commercial property environment, and pursue other interests. Ch39 Link [no video available]
Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Manager Economic Development and Property moving on
This item was published on 28 Apr 2014
The Dunedin City Council’s Group Manager Economic Development and Property Robert Clark is leaving the organisation after six years to return to the commercial sector. General Manager Infrastructure and Networks Tony Avery says Mr Clark’s last day at the DCC will be on Friday, although he will continue to do transitional consulting work in the coming months on some significant projects.
Mr Avery says the DCC is currently working on the creation of a City marketing agency and proposed structural changes, some of which may impact on its property operations. “The DCC and Robert have been in discussion around the future of the Property Group within Council. Robert has achieved a number of significant successful property and commercial projects and outcomes for the city. The review of property operations has provided an opportunity for Robert to return to the commercial property environment and pursue other interests. Robert wishes his team and colleagues well and said it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with such a talented group and achieve such positive outcomes for the city. He leaves the DCC with our best wishes and we look forward to an ongoing working relationship with Robert.”
Mr Avery says the DCC is still in consultation with staff regarding the proposed marketing group and other organisational changes, and an announcement is expected from CEO Sue Bidrose by the end of the week.
Contact General Manager Infrastructure and Networks on 477 4000.
The existing positions of economic development and property group manager, held at present by Robert Clark, and customer services agency manager, held by Adrian Blair, would be disestablished under the proposed changes.
### ODT Online Wed, 26 Mar 2014 Further DCC restructuring proposed
By Debbie Porteous
The Otago Daily Times understands the council is proposing two management positions be disestablished and three new positions created under a new council structure. Two new groups with new group managers would be created and the council’s commercial property investment portfolio split off from operational property and moved into the finance team. A commercial property investment manager position would be created with responsibility for overseeing such investments across the whole council family, including by council-owned and controlled companies. Read more
The proposed amendment bill raises significant concerns about the maintenance of current building stock, the character and identity of towns and cities, and the economic and financial wellbeing of provincial councils and their communities. More than 7000 buildings south of Timaru would require upgrading, at a cost of $1.77 billion over a 15-year period.
### ODT Online Mon, 24 Feb 2014 Councils aghast changes could cost billions
By Andrew Ashton
South Island councils are expected to offer a ”united front” in opposing new Government building regulations that could cost councils billions of dollars to implement.
Last year the Waitaki District Council joined the Dunedin and Invercargill city councils and the Central Otago, Clutha, Gore, Mackenzie, Southland, Timaru and Waimate district councils to present a joint submission on a discussion paper detailing proposed changes to the way earthquake-prone buildings are managed. Read more
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Image: Town Halls and auxillary functions (clockwise from top left) Invercargill, Dunedin, Timaru and Oamaru – posterised by whatifdunedin
Dunedin, March 2010. Benchill (Wikimedia Commons).
### ODT Online Fri, 3 Jan 2014 Streetlight ideas from US trip
By Debbie Porteous
Seeing the bright lights of some major American cities has given the man responsible for a street lighting revolution set for Dunedin some solid ideas. Dunedin city council roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring went to the United States last year to look at different technologies and visit cities that have started updating their street lighting. Read more
Puzzled. The news story says Peter Standring went to USA.
But lower down, it says (our emphasis):
“Los Angeles was in many ways the world leader in the procurement, installation and development of LED technology, and the group was “very lucky” to have had one and a-half hours of Mr Ebrahimian’s time, Mr Standring said.”
What group? A DCC group? (or a USA group he tagged along with?) What have we paid for? A 2013 trip for one person to Los Angeles, Durham, Racine, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco —or a trip for a group of staff and their wives?
[via Upstart Incubator (@UpstartDunedin) who tweeted at 9:29 AM on Tue, Dec 31, 2013]
### mckinsey.com September 2013 How to make a city great
By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That could mean great things for economic growth — if the cities handle their expansion wisely. Here’s how.
What makes a great city? It is a pressing question because by 2030, 5 billion people — 60 percent of the world’s population — will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbocharging the world’s economic growth. Leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanisation on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities and the livelihoods of the people who live in them. And all are aware of the environmental legacy they will leave if they fail to find more sustainable, resource-efficient ways of managing these cities.
Explore six diverse initiatives aimed at making cities great places to live and work.
To understand the core processes and benchmarks that can transform cities into superior places to live and work, McKinsey developed and analysed a comprehensive database of urban economic, social, and environmental performance indicators. The research included interviewing 30 mayors and other leaders in city governments on four continents and synthesizing the findings from more than 80 case studies that sought to understand what city leaders did to improve processes and services from urban planning to financial management and social housing.
The result is How to make a city great (PDF, 2.1MB), a new report arguing that leaders who make important strides in improving their cities do three things really well:
█ They achieve smart growth. Smart growth identifies and nurtures the very best opportunities for growth, plans ways to cope with its demands, integrates environmental thinking, and ensures that all citizens enjoy a city’s prosperity. Good city leaders also think about regional growth because as a metropolis expands, they will need the cooperation of surrounding municipalities and regional service providers. Integrating the environment into economic decision making is vital to smart growth: cities must invest in infrastructure that reduces emissions, waste production, and water use, as well as in building high-density communities.
█ They do more with less. Great cities secure all revenues due, explore investment partnerships, embrace technology, make organisational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and manage expenses. Successful city leaders have also learned that, if designed and executed well, private–public partnerships can be an essential element of smart growth, delivering lower-cost, higher-quality infrastructure and services.
█ They win support for change. Change is not easy, and its momentum can even attract opposition. Successful city leaders build a high-performing team of civil servants, create a working environment where all employees are accountable for their actions, and take every opportunity to forge a stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community. They take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasise collaboration, and train civil servants in the use of technology.
Mayors are only too aware that their tenure will be limited. But if longer-term plans are articulated — and gain popular support because of short-term successes — leaders can start a virtuous cycle that sustains and encourages a great urban environment. Link to source
*Image: commons.wikimedia.org – Central city view of Dunedin, New Zealand, at night from Signal Hill lookout. The dark horizontal band above the centre of the photo is the Town Belt. Some landmarks including First Church of Otago and the Dunedin Railway Station are visible near the centre. Photo by Benchill, 9 March 2010.