A dozen or so myths about the stadium

In no particular order, these reoccurring MYTHS, lies or morsels of misinformation keep surfacing, with the distinct ability to stifle any meaningful debate, and only leave those unsure about the stadium unable to make an informed decision. Personally I am in favour of the stadium if all of the requirements are met. However if you have read all of the opinions and so called facts and still oppose the stadium, that is your prerogative, just make sure it’s an informed decision.

So what has been put up as seemingly valid argument against the stadium.

1, Not Multi-Use – MYTH: Well unless you have a Tardis and by 2050 not one other single event (including the Mountain Daisy Preservation Societies AGM) isn’t held at the stadium, then we have to assume that they are developing a multi-use stadium. The designs and management agenda seems to indicate this is the case.

2, Cost – MYTH: We have to assume that the professional organisations which put together this proposal, and the councils that set the budgets are correct. Do not be fooled by those who claim the stadium will cost double – what are they basing that assumption on. Another claim is that steel prices have gone through the roof, when yes they did, but they have also suffered the same as many commodities recently and prices have fallen sharply as demand for that product has declined. Unless you know for a FACT that the cost will be as some claim upwards of $450m, then it’s pure speculation.

3, Materials – MYTH: The revolutionary material which the roof will be made of is in use around the world in several ground breaking stadiums. Just because it’s going to have a ‘plastic’ roof doesn’t make it a bloody glasshouse as described by some.

4, Design: Claims that this design is ‘ugly’ are aesthetic arguments, and one persons beautiful building is another’s eyesore. Sure we aren’t getting a Ghery or Lord Foster (architects) creation, but we are getting a very well thought out stadium. HOK Sport is responsible for over $1 Trillion US dollars worth of stadium and entertainment facility development over the last 15 years, they know how to build a good working stadium. There are claims that the stadium will negate the relationship between the town and the waterfront or Water of Leith, this I will address in another piece in more detail.

5, University Non Involvement – MYTH: Some misread the original discussion surrounding the development and assumed that the University would be investing money directly into the stadium. But further to that many have questioned the Universities committment to any involvement. However as seen recently, the University plans to relocate a significant proportion of staff, students and services (Student Health) down to the complex in their own buildings. This would see an annual 400,000 people using the area (dispelling another myth that the area would be a virtual ghost town when there aren’t the dozen or so rugby matches held there each year).

7, Carisbrook is adequate – MYTH: It has been stated by the authorities that unless the stadium is completely upgraded then Dunedin as a test venue will cease to be. The Current mish mash of buildings, poor media and corporate facilities and broken down appendages all combine to make a stadium that is surviving on the mythical ‘Carisbrook – house of pain’ name. Capacity is too small, location is poor, and any attempt to throw small amounts of money at it to redevelop it would amount to nothing more than (to borrow an overused US political term) putting lipstick on a pig.

6, Traffic: Claims that the stadium would see an increase of traffic during big events, are of course 100% correct, but then again this is the case at the moment at the current stadium. In real terms the new stadium is closer to the centre of city and closer to the student and visitor accommodation area. There is ample parking in the area and any argument against this stadium’s traffic concerns are equally valid at the current stadium.

7, Landscaping: Carisbrook is just so awe inspiring isn’t it. Besides, what is to say that money can’t be found before 2011 to complete significant landscaping?

8, Exposed to Elements – MYTH: While not 100% enclosed as per the popular perception of an indoor stadium, it has been confirmed by modelling, that if there was a 100km/hr wind outside the building (which is rare in that part of town) during an event (again chances are negligible) then the winds inside the building will be about 5-6km/hr (can you even feel that on your face?).

9, Global Warming – MYTH: The affects of global warming if you take the extreme worse case scenario proposed by NIWA, then Mean Sea Level rise in the area in 2090 will be up to 0.80m. This isn’t insignificant, but considering this is the worse case scenario and that the surrounding land is considerably higher than a couple of meters above MSL, the worse case scenario must be taken with caution. It is equally plausible that the norm projections 90 years from now which show 0.10 to 0.30m above current MSL as a possible outcome. Besides which, the argument is that cars cause global warming, and we should be using the harbour cycle way more. That’s fine, but I thought you told us that this part of the harbour will be in the sea by 2090. Also in 2090 if we have seen such a modest increase in MSL and haven’t taken precautions for the current waterfront, we are in serious trouble anyway.

10, Terrorism – MYTH: If, and I repeat If terrorists ever wanted to attack a sports event or concert at the Stadium, then relying upon sabotage of the very well protected underground fuel storage facilities in the area wouldn’t necessarily be the best way to conduct such an attack. One would have assumed that the Sub Station currently hosed directly under one of the stands at the current stadium would have been an easier target, with equally devastating consequences. I would have thought the brand new 60,000 seat stadium in the heart of suburbia in Auckland would have been a more obvious target? But then I’m being facetious, terrorism is a serious issue, but in this case just not an issue worth giving any real credence to.

11, Stadiums halted or in decline – MYTH: Recently someone posted a comment on the ODT website claiming to have knowledge of major stadium developments in the US being halted because of the current economic climate. Quick investigation quickly dismissed this claim. Indeed of the several stadiums mentioned, only one wasn’t underway, but considering that it had been embroiled in a decade long legal battle with the city, this wasn’t at all surprising. But other stadium developments were put forward by the STS as warnings for us to heed. The only problem was, the stadiums mentioned were indeed in financial trouble some matter of years ago, but due to management changes and other factors, these (Rogers Centre in Toronto and O1 Arena in London) were now financial successes. Don’t stop at the bad news part of the story, tell the whole story (or it’s disinformation bordering on lies).

12, Opportunity Cost – MYTH: There have been suggestions that the cost of the development will have a significant opportunity cost associated with it. That would be true if the examples put forward by opponents were correct too. The sewage out fall pipe and treatment station development is not going to be shelved to pay for the stadium (indeed the pipeline is all but complete). The water quality improvements for the settlements north of Dunedin are currently being undertaken. Other opportunity costs suggested has been aged care, underprivileged council housing among other things. Problem is that these were never considerations in the first place. There was no council initiative to construct council flats for the poor or aged, and none was on the horizon.

13, Broadband – MYTH: I heard from the president of the STS Bev Butler that business were lining up to leave Dunedin because the broadband connections in this city were too poor. Only problem is that she refused to give any examples, and considering that broadband to the city is more or less as good as most cities in NZ, this claim is false. Besides the biggest industry dependent on good quality high speed internet connection, the University, has one of the best network connections in the country. But then there is also an opportunity cost to relocating a business to say Auckland, where it’s been measured that $1B a year is lost in productivity due to the poor transport infrastructure in place.

14, Science – Tech Park – MYTH: She also claimed that we should be investing in a science/technology park this was another opportunity cost. Problem is, we already have one, it’s called the university and the centre for innovation. Also since this was raised, the new School of Design incorporating business in a park like facility has been proposed. I would assume that it would have been outside the council’s brief to create a competing science/technology park to that which is currently at the University.

15, Concerts and conferences won’t be held there – MYTH: Someone asked Wellington promoters if they would consider bringing big acts to Dunedin in the new stadium, and funny they said no they wouldn’t. Of course they wouldn’t. They were asking if a Wellington business with Wellington infrastructure and Wellington business partners, do you want to take business away from you and your associated business partners and bring them to Dunedin. It’s up to our management team to be negotiating with promoters to bring the acts here, not Wellington promoters. As for conferences, arguments against these included lack of carpet and AV equipment. Considering the last conference I went to had hardwood floors and a massive PA and IT set up hired for the event, this is an argument that just doesn’t hold up. How wonderful for local businesses to be part of this associated industry in the stadium and provide this equipment. It’s all a matter of management and event management decision making, and if the right team is in place then more or less anything could be accomplished.

16, University Creep – WHAT? You are joking right? Someone was bleating in the paper the other day that University Creep was taking away prime industrial land, and besides which the Uni doesn’t pay rates, so why should the public subsidise further University development. Aside from the fact that the single largest industry in the city is the University, the largest employer and largest cultural, educational and scientific facility etc the University also contributes $1B a year to the local economy. The University dominates this city, and this city in it’s current form just simply wouldn’t be able to exist without a continually innovating and developing University. In other parts of the world it’s quite common to give such singularly large industries/educational institutions more than simply rates relief too by the way. This city is indebted to the University, and any suggestion to the contrary is simply misinformed.

17, Dwindling Capacity – MYTH: It’s been suggested (again based on myths and misunderstandings) that because the stadium is configurable, that the actual true capacity of the stadium is less then 20,000 and falling with each redesign. This simply is either a lie or myth. The capacity of the stadium is as it was proposed right from the very start. It is true that some configurations of seats for differing events is less than 20,000, indeed it could be as intimate as a couple of thousand, but that would be a desired effect for differing events.

18, Rugby Only – MYTH: Recently FIFA the world governing body of world Football (soccer) was so impressed with how New Zealand hosted the inaugural FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, that they gave a strong indication to Football NZ that we should be looking at hosting all but the biggest tournament of all, which includes the U20 Men’s and Women’s World Cup. These events are equal or similar size to past Rugby World Cups, and considering both of these are due to be held after 2011, or the year after the Rugby World Cup here, then what a golden opportunity this city has. To be included in the plans for either or both of these events would be something special and of real economic benefit to the city. But that aside, you name it, it could and should be held at the stadium. A failure of stadium management would be the only reason other events won’t be held there, and if such failure should occur, then a management change is needed not stopping this development dead in it’s undeveloped tracks.

There are numerous other arguments put forward against the stadium, which I will address in another post. Enough laughs/despair for now.

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37 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Geography, Hot air, Inspiration, Media, Site, Stadiums

37 responses to “A dozen or so myths about the stadium

  1. Peter Entwisle

    The flaw with 1 above Paul is that while the stadium may be designed to be multi-functional – and in fact its design relies on others providing expensive “overlays” to achieve many of the suggested functions – it doesn’t follow it will be actually used for those purposes. You know the reasons it is unlikely to be used for concerts, or conferences but to choose to disregard them. We aren’t really completely in the dark abouthow it might be used. Any amount of enterprise and energy won’t always suffice to overcome obstacles.

    The trouble with 2 is that the professional organisation involved in calculating costs – the CST – has shown itself to be less than objective in its eagerness to get this thing built. Also the peer reviews of their costings concluded they were incomplete and not conservative. There are other ways of estimating the costs of such projects anyway as Rob Hamlin has shown and Nicola Holman. Taking all of these professionals’ views together it’s clear the consensus is the whole cost of the project is likely to be a lot more than the stated $188m with most or all of the extra being borne by the city and regional councils.

    Your number 6, traffic is a serious misunderstanding. I don’t know if you were at the hearings for the plan change and the notice of requirement or read the evidence submitted about this and what was asked and said by the commissioners. You say that if people park all over the north end during big matches that isn’t any worse than what happens now in South Dunedin when there’s a big game at Carisbrook. First, the existing situation vis a vis parking in north Dunedin is worse than that in south Dunedin. Second, and most significantly, Carisbrook was built long before the present District Plan was created. A new stadium has to conform to those rules, not the non-existent ones when Carisbrook was built. This is avery serious snag for the stadium promoters. The commissioners were openly critical – indeed they laughed – at the city’s suggestion we do again at Awatea Street what now gets done at Carisbrook. David Green made a very telling submission on the point which the commissioners clearly took note of. So did the city. In their summing up – their last word and chance of rebuttal at the hearings – the city’s lawyers essentially conceded the point by suggesting extra parking could be provided within the zone and without compromising other spaces in it by building a car park building on the suggested open air car park site. The question is how much extra in-zone parking might the commissioners make a condition of allowing the stadium zone? 3,000 is one suggested figure. But suppose it was 900 – another. That would require the construction of a perhaps $20m building on top of all the other costs. Something like this is a real possibility. It wouldn’t do much to win the stadium support from already doubtful councillors.

    There are things to say about some of your other “myths” but I need to do other things right now.

  2. Peter Entwisle

    The flaw with 15 above has been pointed out before and it’s past time you acknowledged it Paul. Your claim that the Wellington concert promoters – Magan and Sprey – wouldn’t stage concerts outside Wellington because it would hurt their business is false. They do organise concerts outside of Wellington. Their business is organising concerts in New Zealand, not simply in Wellington. And if you don’t believe them what’s wrong with Murray Stott’s facts and arguments available on the StS website. Try reading them and answering them before repeating your discredited “refutation”.

    Similarly with conferences. There are the conference providers on record saying they wouldn’t mount conferences at the Awatea Street stadium because it doesn’t represent what conferenced-goers want. There’s the CST’s own Horwath report casting doubt on the idea it would be used for conferences except in a most minor way. There’s the city council’s own commitment to expanding its conference facilities at the Dunedin Centre – for $45.4m – on the basis it’s the principal site for conferencing in Dunedin. Again, all this information is available on the StS website and shows Awatea Street would not have any significant use for conferences.

  3. Peter Entwisle

    You’re flogging another dead horse with your myth 17 “dwindling capacity”. The significant claim here – against the stadium – is not that its seating capacity has shrunk below the projected 30,000 but that the proportion of permanent to temporary seating has been changed – and it has – which has a negative impact on the operating costs of the facility. The result is while it may be cheaper to build and thus more likely to be shoe-horned into the $165m construction price, the chances of its ever achieving the $300,000 operating surplus have just taken a dive.

    This has been pointed out before. You need to address this before repeating your old flawed claim.

  4. Peter Entwisle

    Your point 16 “University creep What?” is significantly confused. Like many people you fail to distinguish between Dunedin the city and the Dunedin City Corporation.

    Of course the city as a whole benefits financially from the university. The Dunedin City Corporation doesn’t so obviously. A lot of the latter’s income comes from rates and the university is exempt from paying them. Thus the more land taken over by the university the less rates are paid to the corporation. Simply by buying the land at Awatea Street, as the corporation has now done, the rate take has been reduced. If and when the proposed stadium falls over the corporation may be able to onsell some of the land to commercial users who would pay rates on it. Meanwhile the corporation’s income has just diminished significantly. That’s of concern to other ratepayers.

  5. Hi Peter,

    with regard to the apparent claim to the contrary of the multiplicity of the stadium, despite what you say the stadium is multi-use. How people choose to utilise the building is another matter.

    Couple of weeks back I went to Auckland for a concert in a small single purpose concert facility, and yet the British band that I saw, still bought all of their gear with them, mixing desk, speakers the whole shebang.

    What is proposed is also for the immediate, what’s to say that if the thing is a raging success then why can’t they purchase further equipment necessary for later enhancements. Why do we need everything from day one at even greater burden to the ratepayers.

    Further the local conference provider who criticised it for not having carpet. The last concert I went to had a mixture of hardwood flooring and concrete, can’t remember the delegates grumbling “wow have you noticed there’s no carpet here” and that was in a very posh hotel conference facility in Boston.

  6. With respect to costs, I’d be very sceptical of any estimates that Dr Hamlin comes up with, as so many of his claims have been disproved as pure fantasy. Besides which it wasn’t the CST alone that costed the project. With regard to the operational costs, Horwath HTL which is one of the worlds largest hospitality, tourism and entertainment providers, provided these projections, while as you very well know that small local firm (tongue in cheek) was employed to do the peer reviews of all of the costings.

  7. Peter with regard to the parking and associated traffic, I feel you are just being facetious.

    Currently during any working day of the week, thousands of cars park in the immediate vicinity, these would adequately cover any major sporting or concert activity in the stadium. Let’s assume, at a very outside figure of 50% of a capacity 30,000 decided that private car was the way to get to the venue, 15,000 people. Even if all cars didn’t have 4 people that still only several thousand car parks needed. But considering these are already in the area, talk of a $20m dollar parking building is erroneous if not deciteful (with the intention of suggestions of hidden costs – where they just don’t exist).

    There has been however for several years now a suggestion that a multi-level car park with the top level containing hockey turf and other sporting facilities, be built in the Logan Park area. This is perhaps a golden opportunity for Wilsons or whoever to see this plan come to life.

    However, considering that rugby matches and other big entertainment events have a huge number of people walking or taking taxi’s to these events, I just can’t see this being an issue.

    Why if it’s not an issue at a larger stadium in a suburban setting is it going to be a barrier for a smaller stadium in a non residential setting?

    If we are looking for comparisons, Eden Park redevelopment, which is in a pure residential setting, has in it’s resource consent the provision to be met that no more than 60% of those attending events over 20,000 be from private transport. Considering that Auckland being a vast expansive city of 1.5m people with poor public transport, I think is an admirable goal.

    But if we were to seriously look at who attends rugby matches at Carisbook, or the very large full capacity test matches. There is a large number of out of towners – one last estimation was for the Springbok test over 80% of the 32,000 were from out of town and corporate/tour packages. These people stay in the many hotels and motels which are predominately located in the immediate vicinity of North Dunedin, these people would continue to walk to the ground.

    I would suggest that the nod by the city council at the end was another way they could see to getting the somewhat stalled Logan Park car park underway again (which has already been estimated to be a profitable venture).

    But let’s look at when big rugby matches are planned for the stadium. Saturday night 7:35pm kick off. There are less private cars parked in that area at present that there are cars in the McDonalds car park in Andy Bay road. How is this even an issue – it’s not?

    What we need is the cold hard facts, how many currently walk to tests, how many take buses and how many use private cars. Then we could talk seriously about solutions, otherwise it’s pure conjecture.

    We also have precedents from other facilities that need to be considered. The planned waterfront soccer stadium in Vancouver has a consideration for 150 car parks only. Fenway Park Boston (home of the champion baseball team the Red Sox), where I attendend a big playoff game. The thousands of people walking to the game was incredible, but added to that were the many enterprising university students who had Rickshaws and were earning good money ferrying people to the game. A trip in one of those from the Octagon to the new stadium would be less than 10 minutes, how many trips a night could one of those make?

    Think outside the box Peter, the rest is just defeatist stuck in the old ways thinking.

  8. With respect to Magan and Sprey of Pacific Entertainment, how many of their recent big acts did they bring to the South Island, sod all. I’ve been to their web site, and they just don’t bring the big acts to the South Island, they might take them to Auckland and Wellington, but no not the South.

    I’ve also read their comments on your site, read their comments in the paper, and they just don’t add up. How could they claim, with a University and Polytech population of around 21,-25,000 that there isn’t the demographic for a concert to be held in Dunedin. Have they ever tested this demographic? When was the last time they bothered to bring anyone with pulling power outside of High 5 or Dora the Explorer to Dunedin when the students are in town.

    I note they moaned about this and that with respect to their somewhat less than successful attempt at a Heavy Metal weekend in Wellington, too many acts, not enough entertainment dollars blah blah blah. When in fact they put the event on over Easter which is infamous for emptying out that weekend ( I know this from living there for 8 years), with acts that are less than prime, huge ticket prices and a time of the year where the weather is anything less than promising.

    Put a proper demographic concert anytime of the year (remember the roof) when students are in town, and you’ll have a success story. Besides if the first concert goes well, then the next and it will get a momentum of it’s own.

    Because one firm says so, is not a reason to can the project.

  9. Peter Entwisle

    with regard to the apparent claim to the contrary of the multiplicity of the stadium, despite what you say the stadium is multi-use. How people choose to utilise the building is another matter.

    True Paul. Have you noticed you are conceding the point? On the available evidence they won’t. The Stones aren’t coming to Awatea Street.

  10. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said: “Further the local conference provider who criticised it for not having carpet. The last concert I went to had a mixture of hardwood flooring and concrete, can’t remember the delegates grumbling “wow have you noticed there’s no carpet here” and that was in a very posh hotel conference facility in Boston.”

    But those aren’t the kind of conferences we’re talking about Paul. Yes, you can have bare bones no-carpet conferences, but they aren’t the sort nowadays which attract many people. They aren’t the sort which really pay in Dunedin.

  11. Peter, I’ve addressed the conference issue.

    The right conference can be held at that venue. Those that aren’t right for the facility of course shouldn’t be held there. But it doesn’t mean that there can’t or won’t be conferences there.

    Presently the South Island is poorly represented by a decent big agricultural Field Days event like that held at Mystery Creek in Hamilton. Why not instigate one here, considering Dunedin is considered the hub of the agricultural industry in the South.

    It all comes back to a matter of what the Management team running the stadium choose to entice into the city. The right management team will ensure this is a success.

  12. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said:

    Currently during any working day of the week, thousands of cars park in the immediate vicinity, these would adequately cover any major sporting or concert activity in the stadium. Let’s assume, at a very outside figure of 50% of a capacity 30,000 decided that private car was the way to get to the venue, 15,000 people. Even if all cars didn’t have 4 people that still only several thousand car parks needed. But considering these are already in the area, talk of a $20m dollar parking building is erroneous if not deciteful (with the intention of suggestions of hidden costs – where they just don’t exist).

    Please read Loren Semple’s reply to the commissioners. She acknowledges there may be such a need and anticipates meeting it – with a car parking building. This is on p.10 of her reply, para 5.4:

    “The plan provisions proposed for the stadium indentify [sic] an area of 1,4766ha within which the only permitted activity is car parking. Such an area provides for around 335 car parks at grade. A car parking building would meet the permitted activity status provided the relevant performance standards were complied with and could be used to provide additional parking.”

    This is a way of trying to provide 900 or 3,000 car parks, in zone, not distributed about the north end.

    Unlike you Paul, she recognises that north Dunedin is already more parked out than South Dunedin, and that modern planning requirements are different and another standard is required for a new stadium.

    If the commissioners go with this it could easily add $20m to the cost.

    You are a worldly man and apparently knowledgeable Paul. It astounds me you miss these things.

  13. Peter Entwisle

    Okay, you think Magan and Sprey aren’t credible. So what about Murray Stott?

    On concerts Paul you’re just making it up as you go along.

    That’s fine as a personal point of view but not for people being asked to spend $188m.

  14. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said:

    *
    Paol says:

    Peter, I’ve addressed the conference issue.

    The right conference can be held at that venue. Those that aren’t right for the facility of course shouldn’t be held there. But it doesn’t mean that there can’t or won’t be conferences there.

    Presently the South Island is poorly represented by a decent big agricultural Field Days event like that held at Mystery Creek in Hamilton. Why not instigate one here, considering Dunedin is considered the hub of the agricultural industry in the South.

    It all comes back to a matter of what the Management team running the stadium choose to entice into the city. The right management team will ensure this is a success.

    What this means is the only “conferences” which might be held at Awatea Street are not the ones originally suggested which might pay the bills.

    That sort will happen at the Dunedin Centre. The “management team” has already pointed this out.

  15. No Peter, Dr Hamlin didn’t play the semantic equations you are with capacity of the stadium. He presented a very simple graph stating that capacity of the stadium is now less than 20,000 and shrinking. The title of the graphic was the ‘incredible shrinking stadium’ or words to that affect.

    He presented it as fact to the people at your first meeting, there were of course gasps of disbelief.

    Seating configuration is all semantics, and in a facility that can cater for many events, is essential. The total capacity for the stadium is still as it has been since day one, and that is 30,000. Any claims to the contrary are facetious and misleading.

    It has been this from day one, and this will not affect any projected income. In fact retaining 5,000 terrace capacity would help maintain a core of rugby supporters who loath the idea of having to sit during a match. This was a master stroke and one which should be applauded. To retain the terrace indoors is a good move and could potentially create a core of fans even for the smaller games.

  16. Peter, I’ve read Murray Stott’s stuff, all he’s saying is that there are different ways to do things. To think that if something worked well in the 70s or 80s and all we need to do is copy the format, clearly isn’t going to work.

    Doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I couldn’t see a Justin Timerblake playing here in Dunedin, that isn’t the right ‘demographic’, but that just simply doesn’t mean there isn’t a right act(s) to utilise the stadium.

    His other claim that there aren’t the workers is just plain wrong. Why then have over 300 firms all lined up for the work.

    Besides if The Police did play Auckland and Dunedin, then I have no doubt that it would have sold out. We all know that ‘stadium’ rock of the 70s is long dead, I don’t know why he needed to even point that out. Sure we are not London where Price sold out what was it 21 nights at the O2 arena. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t capable of having entertainment and concerts os a decent quality and scale.

    It’s simply an event management issue. If they aren’t capable of providing the right acts to make the thing a success then they should be replaced by those who can. This was illustrated beautifully by the radical change in fortunes at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

    Infamously portrayed by anti stadium folk as a flop as the Toronto Sky Dome, of course telling only the half of the story that stopped some years ago in financial chaos. The full story (as somewhat misleadingly forgotten to be included by Dr Hamlin) is that after mass sackings, and radical reappraisal of the purpose of the building, has become one of the premier entertainment centres of North America.

    I’m not under any illusion that we should expect the biggest and best acts here (they don’t even go to Auckland), but there will be no laws of physics preventing them form doing so.

  17. Peter, are you saying there aren’t hundreds if not thousands of car parking spaces in and around Logan Park – University precinct? Whether or not they are permitted for stadium parking is semantic.

    I’m guessing the thousands of people that park there for the New Zealand Masters Games, or the cricket test matches, are all ‘illegal’? Someone better tell them.

    Where can I get a copy of her final submission. I do note however that in her closing remarks that she was somewhat dismayed by the lack of expert opinion by those presenting against the stadium (not your wishes I know).

    “She noted in her closing submissions it would not have escaped the notice of the commissioners only one expert witness had been called on in five full days of public submissions.

    “In fact, the majority of submitters have been quick to point out that they speak ‘only as ratepayers’.

    “In my submission, this is a telling point.”
    {from OTD, http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/32680/confusion-reigns-stadium-hearing-winds}

  18. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said:

    With respect to costs, I’d be very sceptical of any estimates that Dr Hamlin comes up with, as so many of his claims have been disproved as pure fantasy. Besides which it wasn’t the CST alone that costed the project. With regard to the operational costs, Horwath HTL which is one of the worlds largest hospitality, tourism and entertainment providers, provided these projections, while as you very well know that small local firm (tongue in cheek) was employed to do the peer reviews of all of the costings.

    OK, Paul, you don’t like Rob Hamlin’s estimate of costs. No doubt you don’t like Nicola Holman’s either. There is a range of choice there between $250m and $400m. A lot of Dunedin people don’t want this project at $188m plus “off site” costs at present unquantified. The Horwath report expressed doubts about the supposed operating surplus, given much less carefully investigated figures.

    People don’t have to spend their money on such an unlikely proposition if they don’t want to.

  19. Peter, quick facts about the University of Otago.

    Total land:

    2003 – 25,616.23 hectares
    2007 – 25,619.89 hectares

    an increase of something close to 3.66 hectares or 14 half acre blocks is hardly University Creep.

    But if we are to look a little further at what the University ‘gives’ to the city in the 1.1Billion economic contribution to the city annually.

    3,481 full time staff, of which I could a large number are rate payers, which of course the City collects as revenue.

    To assume that if the University is to take another couple of thousand square feet of land rate free from the city as going to hurt it financially is very disingenuous.

  20. Peter there was sod all about Dr Hamlin’s presentation that anyone should be taking on board as valid. How did he so disingenuously put it on the night “he’d fail a student if they put this sort of proposal together”. By his very own words, he’d have been given a D on the night for factual inaccuracies, wild assumptions and disingenuous presentation of conclusions. But I’m over his presentation, seriously it’s meaningless. If anything he has said on the night was true I’d be taking a second look, but simply there wasn’t.

    “People don’t have to spend their money on such an unlikely proposition if they don’t want to”

    That’s democracy Peter. I’m not happy with aspects of where my rates or taxes go, but then I exercise my rights every 3 years and vote accordingly. It would be a very strange day indeed if everyone ever agreed on where our public officials spend our money. I accept that you and others don’t want that money spent, and ultimately if that is the decision that the council comes to I have to live with that, that’s the beauty of living in a democracy.

  21. Peter Entwisle

    There are many car park spaces around Logan Park. The point is that unlike the comparable streets of South Dunedin they are frequently full of parked cars even when there isn’t a big match on. It isn’t “semantic” to say the District Plan requires more on site parking, generally, than is provided for in the proposed stadium zone. If the zone is to be approved it needs to conform to constraints such as this or it will be in danger of being disallowed, for example at an appeal. Ms Semple was clearly aware of that which is why she suggested a car park building in her summation. I think you could get a copy of that and all the other submissions – I’ve got a box full of them – from the planning department on the fifth floor or second floor of the Civic Centre in the Octagon. Ask for Paul Freeland a very pleasant man who fronted the city’s applications – also, by the way, a staunch opponent of the stadium, but doing a good job for his employer.

    You quote Ms Semple’s remarks quoted in the newspaper. Were I in her position I might say the same thing. Nevertheless with few expert witnesses called against the proposals they clearly struck snags which you can see in Ms Semple’s summation and Mr Garbutt’s comments in reply to the commissioners regarding the Notice of Requirement (the application for a designation to re-route state highway 88).

    I can’t anticipate the commissioners’ decision but like others present I could see the things they found problematical.

    What caused some mirth was the city council’s traffic expert Dave Gamble suggesting cars could park on Logan Park itself during big matches, as they already do a little bit, illegally, during Masters Games. As a planning solution it’s a bit ludicrous really.

    They also asked questions about the adequacy of the building’s foundations and the zone’s acoustic provisions. It was clear from the evidence tendered that it is not yet known for the whole of building site how far down you have to go to find, not exactly bedrock, but the layer of river boulders which serve that purpose in much of the north end. It is established that in part of the site the layer is 40m below the surface while elsewhere it is yet to be found. This is significant because the original costs were based on finding it at a consistent 15m below the surface. On the questioning of commissioner Lumsden, a civil engineer, it was conceded the site’s substratum could liquefy in an earthquake causing the Leith embankment to collapse. The remedy would be to build a new, more strongly reinforced embankment, again possible, but another expense.

    The point about the acoustics picked up by commissioner Matthews is that the proposed noise levels are based on the maximum noise at a big rock concert inside the stadium – as if that were a pre-existing activity in the zone, which it isn’t. That’s how sound levels are established when someone wants to build a new subdivision beside an airport. But it’s not the way to do things when the airport doesn’t already exist. Otherwise the people subjected to those new sound levels can legitimately complain – or, again, strike the zone down, if it were allowed, at appeal.

    These points – parking provision, foundation issues and how acoustic levels are to be determined – together with the difficulties with the NoR reflected by Mobil’s and Shell’s unhappiness with it, are the things which at the hearings seemed to be problems for the applicant.

    There might be other things and these matters might not seem so problematical or be dealt with by way of conditions, but we won’t know until the commissioners decide. My impression from something one of them said is that’s unlikely to be before Christmas. But I could be wrong.

  22. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said: “To assume that if the University is to take another couple of thousand square feet of land rate free from the city as going to hurt it financially is very disingenuous.”

    The amount of land in question is a lot more than 2,000 square feet and the dollar loss to the tae take in more than just a few thousand dollars. The real question for the city corporation is can the university operate adequately – with all its benefits to the larger community which you have mentioned – without taking over more land and thus reducing the rate base?

    This is a real question which has to be asked and answered but which you, originally, entirely overlooked.

  23. Elizabeth

    I see you’re both getting stuck into (or with) detail while the ship appears to be sinking…the splash content of today’s ODT front page is very problematic for the project’s survival.
    Later today we have DCC’s Finance and Strategy meeting that hosts a further CST report as gauge on how things are lining up for Council decision making on 2 February.
    Despite being opposed to the extent of public funding required for the stadium, I actually feel sad that all the feasibility work to date may have been wasted – NOBODY running a project of this scale and being this far into the project likes to hit the wall so abruptly for want of a decent fundraising strategy and by reason of poor political decisions that have appear to have run CST ragged. I’m quite despairing on this front, it’s sick making.
    Personally, I find fault with much of Rob Hamlin’s posturing to date – a circus comedy at best and worst – although he did draw the public’s attention to the need to be vigilant with figures given (and not given, see hidden costs) for the project as a whole. Our leading thinkers and senior staff of the university “academy” most often operate with responsibility, rationality and credibility; they take due care with statements commensurate with their established reputations. Mr Hamlin should probably review his communication methods and wise up. His joke has back fired, yes, in the detail of his warped satire.

  24. Elizabeth

    A wee bit of a time warp happening in Peter’s posts above – he refers to the Dunedin City Council. In a former life it was indeed known as the Dunedin City Corporation. A spade is a spade – although the current body is sometimes referred to in lead documents as “the City” and “the Council”.
    There’s a short history available on the Council’s website to explain the evolution of this local territorial authority (LTA) to help readers familiarise…search “council history”.

  25. Hey guys, I am very sorry about what’s happening over at the StS, so thanks for dropping by and fighting the facts. Sorry if I can’t respond to all the stuff, mad xmas rush – everyone wants their web sites up and running for xmas.

    Although I am still a huge fan of this project, if they can’t get the private funding (which it’s looking like they can’t) then I too will conceded that it needs to be canned. However, for the millions that has been spent thus far, if the project doesn’t go ahead, I will feel that it’s good money (if not a lot of money) spent in that we would have learnt so much more about the planning needs and processes in both the civic and private realms. There’s a lot we can learn from this process regardless of the outcomes either way.

    Peter, that may be the question, but as you can see from the pics I’ve added to the latest post, this was hardly high value land for anyone except possibly the Fonterra Venture, the rest really was desolate.

    Possibly not a bad time to still question (since we own that land) how the hell can we turn that very polluted and ugly landscape into something productive for either University, industry or the city in general. It’s a forlorn piece of land, and even more so now premisses are being vacated, but something needs to be done with it. Perhaps the (slightly hidden) IKEA for Princess St could go there – another fight we have lined up eh Elizabeth.

    Cheers

  26. A big question for that area has an possibly will be in the future if the stadium doesn’t go ahead, is ANZAC Ave the best option for the main transport thoroughfare between the city and the port, on the weight of it at this stage, I’d say no, I’d love to see that become much less of a major transport route.

    I pick up on your point about the road cutting off the waterfront, this was one of the master strokes which ‘saved’ Vancouver when the city council in the 1950’s decided that unlike the other major North American cities rapidly expanding at the time, the waterfronts would not become arterial routes. This has had (along with other stunning decisions) a remarkable affect on the ‘liveability’ of that city. Apart from a few Kilometers of pure Port, the public access to the waterfront in that city is more or less unrivalled anywhere in the world.

    Yes a road would be a barrier, but in cases where it has been in Vancouver, simple under-bridges solved the issue nicely, and in the end the road acted as a buffer for the waterfront, keeping development just that much further back from the waters edge.

  27. Peter Entwisle

    Not too much time warp Elizabeth.

    My understanding is the Dunedin City Corporation still exists, in law. It’s name was officially changed to the “Dunedin City Council” from memory in the 1990s. It’s a misledaing name because it makes you think it’s just the elected people – the Mayor and Councillors. However it now officially refers to the body corporate made up legally of the electors – as defined by statute – and the elected, the Mayor and Councillors. It has the same identity as the corporation created in 1865, the first city corporation in New Zealand.

    The corporation lives! (I believe there’s a notice somewhere in the Skeggs Gallery explaining part of this stuff – though not all.)

  28. Peter Entwisle

    Well Paul, our positions seem to be converging a bit.

    Unlike you I would have called a halt to further development of the stadium project on March 17th. We are going to end up with $11.4m worth of fascinating but over-expensive archives down in the Civic Centre basement.

    On the university and the zone change: my personal submission supported the creation of a new campus zone east of Anzac Avenue while opposing the Stadium zone. I also supported rerouting SH88 further east though not so far as the rail corridor.

    I think even though the uni is unlikely now to grow much more, and in Dunedin’s urban design interests shouldn’t grow much more, it does need more space for buildings now planned to accommodate existing numbers and their activities. When David Skegg became Vice Chancellor I mentioned this to him and said I wasn’t keen on them demolishing more of the residential blocks of the north end to accommodate more buildings. He asked where he should put them instead and I said across Anzac Avenue towards the harbour. He said but that’s far too far away.

    Well – blow me down. Look what happened next. There is a loss of rates to the city from that but I think on balance the city should accept this because of the university’s need. Which the city does.

    Like Elizabeth I think heavy traffic should be got off Anzac Avenue and onto a new route nearer the harbour – but as proposed in the NoR the new highway will not be permeable enough. I agree that can be overcome with pedestrian and light vehicle underpasses, and some bridging, but not enough are being envisaged at present. We have to speak up now, as some are doing, to ensure that isn’t overlooked. As we need to speak now about the urban design issues re Anzac Avenue – not having it visually and practically dominated by ramps to an oversize gyratory – for example. We also need to be careful to remember that a new state highway 88 may well have to be changed back to a rail corridor, depending how things develop with transport technology.

    I see you’re interested in these same issues.

    I note you’re busy with pre-Christmas things.

    Thanks for your words of sympathy. Taking action on substantial public issues can lead to a lot of bruising.

  29. Although views are converging (through discourse most intelligent people can meet on some common grounds), I am still in favour of the Stadium construction, in this current over coined ‘present economic conditions’, despite the huge burden on ratepayers (I’ve never denied that) and despite the apparent lack of private money fronting up.

    For me there are just too many future opportunities lost if we don’t go ahead with this, none the least is that yet more lipstick is going to be slapped on Carisbrook, when it needs a bulldozer and at least a $188m roofed option instead.

    But we’ll never agree on that, and that’s life in the end. One of my biggest worries over the next few years isn’t this issue but one Rodney Hide taking the role of minister of local bodies, that’s a spine chilling prospect as he wields his ideological scythe across the powers of local bodies. Funny when his apparent ideological stances seem to contradict each other, that of freedom of choice (people deciding their own fates), less central government and that of less tax (or rates). I’m just glad I’m not privy to the insane thoughts that must be going on in his mind.

    Cheers.

  30. Peter Entwisle

    Rodney Hide represents a party with just over 3.0% of the vote. His voice in government won’t be large. Even so the Key government is hardly likely to look very favourably at such an ill-considered and unpopular use of local government money as the stadium. I doubt he’ll rush to save it. Equally, Mr Hide’s views won’t become the new order of the day.

  31. Peter Entwisle

    Paul said:

    “Seating configuration is all semantics, and in a facility that can cater for many events, is essential. The total capacity for the stadium is still as it has been since day one, and that is 30,000. Any claims to the contrary are facetious and misleading.”

    Never mind the graphics and headlines Paul, or what you recall Rob Hamlin as saying.

    The significant point is the proportion of permanent seating to temporary has changed which has a negative impact on the stadium’s operating costs. Even the CST has conceded this.

    You are attacking straw men instead of grappling with (for you) awkward facts.

  32. Elizabeth

    The DC Corporation doesn’t make me think anything, Peter. It may exist in law but I prefer as many do to give the LTA its proper name which is Dunedin City Council. The end.

  33. Peter the term ‘Permanent Seating’ is in itself semantics, as if on any given day – let’s say a RWC match, the amount of seats set to the floor for the public to put their bottoms on, is the same as it was from day one.

    And to be quite frank, I would rather see this type of configurable seating than a all set 30k permanent seating stadium. This has so much more flexibility, and that will be the name of the game if that place is to make a buck or two.

  34. Since the StS website has all but come to a grinding halt, within reason, I am more than happy for you two Peter and Elizabeth, to report back on things like Council Finance Committee meetings and the like, here. As long as it doesn’t become a StS by proxy, and if it’s furthering debate (I wish some of the people who say “good on you” to me would actually post from time to time), then go for it. Apart from personal abuse, I won’t be moderating or censoring, I’m big enough to take it, and if it’s as big a thing for the city as we all seem to agree on, then we need to be debating all aspects, pro and con.

    Otherwise waiting for Victor (?) to moderate anything over at the StS site does nothing to foster debate (not that it may be his fault etc).

  35. Peter

    I see STS has revamped its website and it looks like all old comments on posts have been removed and new ones disabled. Democracy in action …

  36. Oh dear that’s a shocker, I liked the old one fine.

    Let’s hope that there could be some decent discussions over there again soon.

  37. Elizabeth

    STS website is being overhauled and re-invigorated so no we won’t be at What if? by proxy.
    The ‘new’ STS template is interim only.
    A second person has joined Victor this week to job-share the webmaster task.
    Watch all spaces including What if?…

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