If it’s good enough for dear old Syd Adie to inflict his protectionist/NIMBY/grow-old-and-gather-moss attitude on the good people of Dunedin, and for others to risk a council to further their I’m-not-paying-for-that attitude, then it’s more than time I took the gloves off and got in boots and all over this and other closely related topics (how may clichés can one put in an opening basket sentence).
Fortunately for myself and the good people of Dunedin I’m off to sunny Vancouver for the next 6 months. This is good for several reasons. I’m finally going to get the time to really fill this site up with readings and other material all related to building this stadium. I’ve collected a wealth of material, sorry some of it is academic and thus really interesting but bloody dry. There is enough to provide a new post a day from now till the day the first sounds of the Military Tattoo resonate around the new stadium. This is also good for the people of Dunedin as I may have been tempted to provide a counter to all those wishing to stand for council with the sole aim of shutting down Dunedin and turning it into the Syd Adie Memorial Town For the Progressively Challenged (picking a bitter theme here yet?).
I’d be more than happy to be the Patsy for the developers and the money men. If this sounds all a little too much for such a pinko greenie like myself, don’t be fooled, there is such a thing as progress and development with a social and environmental conscience.
What’s prompted this out-of-the-blue outburst? Ian Taylor (and I want to thank him no end for getting me going again). The piece that he wrote in the ODT about the price of doing nothing, was a stunning opinion piece. My only dread is that either not enough people read it, or even more regrettable, they read it and either didn’t get it, or dismissed it. I’m going to try to contact Ian or the ODT to get permission to re-post here, it needs reading over and over again. His beef with council and protectionists of Dunedin, is the lack of imagination, and I agree wholeheartedly. I had no idea that the relationship between council and business had sunk so low, I also had no idea that there was such a negative attitude to business and progress in this town. I always assumed that it was external factors (relocating head offices etc) that were solely to blame for the cosy-ole-dunners attitude down here. Oh no baby. After reading that piece it should have been bleedingly obvious to the good people of Dunedin that a lynch mob (for want of a better term) should have marched on council and turfed the whole lot out there and then. As left and green as I am, the relationship between council and business must be as strong as it can. This would ensure good governance and of course good communication. What a complete lack of imagination exists in this council.
And no sorry Fliss, getting the Top Gear presenter into town to attract more blokes for the shelias is not a good idea – some things are best not said aloud. There should be vigorous and passionate debate, with brilliant repartee and counterthrust. There should be fundamentals debated (not freaking dating schemes), there should be consultation with business, every business. I mean really do we have to let South Dunners look so poorly? The poor buggers that live there have a hard enough time without us having to neglect them. Why does Forbury Park look so bloody miserable. God knows race 10 at 10:45 last Friday night in the freezing sleety southerly was miserable enough without the place looking like it needs a bullet more than a lame horse. Does anyone in town know or even understand the fine tradition that Forbury Park has played in the social/sporting and cultural heritage of this city, apparently not? A fine old racecourse on the beach in any other town could be the focus of many a great event. I don’t know or care if this is privately owned, council and business should be in bed together over this one (and many many many other facilities in town), as to how do we attract more, get things going better. I mean really, (with all due respects) a shady pub is the flashest thing about that place, yet it should be a fun vibrant place. What kid doesn’t love watching horses going round and round. Then of course what kid at the races doesn’t want to play on the fun things there, with their parents forking over hard earned dosh to the nice family friendly restaurant there. Mind you, with all of the big business and OLD (and my god there is a lot of it in town) money about, why the hell haven’t they been hit up for decent contributions to facilities and prize-money? Baffles me, but them I’m not them and also not in council. Holly crap – another diversion, sorry.
So long story short, business is tight and council is weak, not a good combination when looking forward. Take the hot salt water pool. Yeah – but – no. Could have been a stunning return to good old days of yonder (whenever that was), instead it feels like a semi-colon in a poorly constructed plan. Yikes stop it, you’ll lose the readers. Anyway without wanting to rant for too long (too late), we must not let the likes of Lee Vandervis and his cohorts dictate to us their incredibly narrow and scary vision for this once great city. There is way too much potential in this town (more per capita than almost any in the country) for his band of scalywags to shut this town down. Let me just pick a small bone with the guy at this time (comments are turned on Lee). Non-binding referenda. 3 words – OXY FUCKING MORONIC. How ‘feel good’ can you get? How two-faced can you get? Pretend to make the people feel like they are included. Pretend to listen to them. I mean if you really wanted to represent the people and are stupid enough to give them a referendum, make the bloody silly thing binding, otherwise you’re lying to them from the outset. “We’ll give you a say, but we might not follow it up”. I bloody well hope you don’t follow it up, and thank god it’s not binding, who has ever heard of progress via committee? Take the work on the Bayfield causeway recently. There would have been a thousand different opinions on how to do the work, what it would look like and who would pay for it, and come 5 years down the track after a steering committee had approved any people’s plan, may have done the work. Ok this is of course taking it to the extreme, but there is no way that binding referenda are good for society. There is no way minorities of any shape or form would be championed, if majority ruled. But to play the pretend we are going to listen card and then make it non binding, my god man you are already lying to the people. They don’t know what is good for them and they don’t know how to run council, this is why we elect council, to provide leadership and employ those whom can do a job, and do it well. Be respectful you bugger. Listen to opinion and engage in discourse, we all have something to say, no matter how silly it sounds, but don’t pretend that non-binding referenda are anything more than a hollow promise, the wolf without the sheep’s clothing, imagine if you will the emperor’s new clothes without the emperor inside of it – nah that doesn’t make any sense, but you get my drift, it’s a hollow promise. So thank god I’m not in town for the elections, or I may have made a fool of myself and kissed babies and grannies on the streets prostituting myself in the name of progress.
Thank god I am also away from all the nonsense and misinformation that will be inflicted upon Dunedinites in the run up to election. But there is no way on earth I would have thought of something so bloody stupid as non-binding citizens initiated referenda would have been a premise for running for office – do you take the people for fools that much? As for those visiting this site for a discourse in architecture and design (as you should expect), I will be ramping up the material asap, and keeping the party political broadcasts to a minimum, and of course will be separating out the content. BTW, I’m all for lowering the age of voting to 16, but then also cutting it off at the other end (how old is Syd?). How sad, your legacy to the city (no matter how great the rest of your contribution may have been), is to be remembered as the many who helped turn Dunedin into a cold (well it is today – despite what the t-shirts say) retirement village. Here endith the sermon today.