Fact or Fiction

Just for Fun



Filed under Design, Hot air, Politics, STS

15 responses to “Fact or Fiction

  1. Elizabeth

    ODT sports editor Hayden Meikle’s opinion piece, ‘Stadium common sense lost in bickering’, provides What if? with unsolicited press.


    Not a fan of ‘bickering’, Hayden busies himself with binary oppositions and promotes a return to Carisbrook, (oh no) with another large spend in mind…for more sport. Keep it pure, he seems to say.

    He need ask what part can Carisbrook play in the future of South Dunedin as a unique, bustling heart of town.

    South Dunedin warrants more resources and opportunities. Realistically, what chance has Carisbrook in the complex facilitation and enablement of community and neighbourhood.

    Supporting Carisbrook’s redevelopment and upgrade…well, that’s a big call unless the breadth of what the facility can cater (sport and all) is deftly spliced with the adventurous scope of community and business development in the wider region and close by.

    It’s not like South Dunedin itself has ever died.

  2. Elizabeth

    You’re right. ODT editor(s) doing the decent thing!

  3. Hayden’s piece will appeal to some, although for me it is reduced to city money for a rugby ground, with subtle but not substantial, differences. And as Elizabeth says somewhat binary in it’s summation. I’d like to think apart from the odd exception, the summation of the entire dialogue which has taken place in the blog is far greater than “there’s been an outbreak of bickering”. Most people acknowledge that there has been a far greater level of debate than exists in more or less any media source in this city, certainly more than in the ODT.

    As for the editorial this is somewhat revealing “Councils, like governments, compulsorily take money from citizens – yet who is to determine how much of it is wasted, thrown away on expensive duplication, or used to pursue pipe-dreams?”

    Pure ideology. Compulsorily is such a loaded word, and somewhat out of the massively discredited Libertarian song book, individuals know better blah blah blah. Well until I know how to lay asphalt and widen roads, until I have worked out how to shoot my poo further out to sea so the incessant moaners can swim bacteria free, until I can run an art gallery, I’m more than happy to pay what is in all reality a bloody small sum for the massive trade off of giving trust in elected officials to provide so much more.

    “and, yes, water and sewerage commitments are a huge drain on rates” Duh, you think. So who is going to pay for it? Doesn’t seem to be anything that cursory acknowledgment of these issues, the same old bloody moan, our rates are going up. Pre tell, who the hell is going to pay for these if council isn’t? If as decreed by central govt that councils should, then there is nothing to be done about it, but grin and bear it and do the best job possible.

    I can state categorically that Dunedin is an infinitely more liveable city now that it was even 10 years ago. 10-15 years ago a day out at the museum meant dour old portraits steering back at you in the Settlers museum. 10 years ago the Octagon was a joke of a precinct, St Clair beach was a mess, as was many of the playgrounds and public spaces. Thank goodness for the Botanical Gardens, but shame on them, I see they too want to expand and spend money.

    In economics, if it’s managed correctly there is nothing wrong with debt, it’s how it is managed and what plans for it there are. Yes like death there will always be taxes, and like it or not, with very limited means to collect extra income local council will more or less always need to raise more money to pay for more services which people expect from a modern city.

    If Hayden’s piece was a little binary, this was just simplistic ideology, with sod all acknowledgement of the role of a modern council and long term economic trends, because for one last time, this is just another short recession, it’s not how it’s going to be forever.

  4. Because while on beaches, I have the great fortune to be one of these modern dads who gets to raise my boys. We get to go to St Clair more or less every day, and how many people do you see swimming or surfing? With the cries of pain and civic embarrassment from the aggrieved masses you’d think that there would be hundreds if not thousands of the buggers in the frigid waters off our coast. I’ve been making a point of counting how many people I see in the water each time I’m there, randomly throughout the day. Grand total today, 2 swimmers and sprinkling of grommets. The other day in the heat, hundreds on the shore and for the couple of hours we were there I saw less than 20 enter the water.

    I’m not saying it shouldn’t be clean and that our sewage outfall contribution to the ocean ecology be as clean as possible, all I’m saying is with the outrage that has been put up (completely erroneously) as an opportunity cost of the stadium, you’d think hundreds of thousands of people were frolicking in the waters all summer long. If I was to be scientific about it, I’d probably count more people at a test match than in a total summer of swimmers at St Clair.

  5. Richard

    The Octagon …. the revamp started in 1988 not 10 years ago, Paul. But I would agree that if you are saying it has really ‘come to life’ in the last 10 years (maybe 12) with the opening of the new Art Gallery, cafes, bars and restaurants etc, then I would certainly agree.

    Took a while for Malcolm Latham’s vision to materialise. And to think it really all started with the acquisition of The Regent in 1971 as our live theatre!

    More to come?

  6. Elizabeth

    If we believe the news mentions, options for the Octagon include:

    new pavers (in the same laying area as currently; expensive, uninspiring, NOT allowing in new landscape architecture to revitalise the public open space with the best potential for blocks)…

    the addition of public toilets (surely not plonk wc’s?? – how far we’ve not travelled in our thinking since the amazingly non discreet positioning of wcs opposite lift doors in the Civic Centre)

    …a children’s playground (tell me, our younger citizens should have centre of town facilities but why isn’t the Octagon being thoroughly re-designed in a way that works for absolutely everyone, or are we doing plonk playground equipment too)

    not enough thinking DCC, yet, but I know you’ll get better at this if you consult EARLY with the best informed talents you can find and stop thinking you have to pay them to take part in successful conceptual design for public space – be prepared to openly brainstorm before the ‘concrete’ hardens and sets

  7. Richard

    I do not need persuading on that. The inner city playground thing came from Dr Claire Freeman at the University but I think the suggestion of using The Octagon came from staff – there were just four places mentioned in the agenda paper.

    And what about the plane trees that just keep a-growing and casting excessive shade because for aeons they were never kept properly trimmed. They have about 50 years to go. Should they be further thinned out. Should replacements be in the same place?

    As for the Civic Centre. Trust you to flush that idiosyncrasy out. Rivalled only by quite a story on the lifts …. and more! But then that’s what you get with “build and design”, isn’t it?.

  8. Elizabeth

    Glad you raised it, Richard, the trees are pretty difficult items due to the scale and state they’re in.

    Oh yes! Never do “build and design” in that order.

    Between Barry Knox and (urban designer) Simon Kilbane – both landscape architects – DCC has a head start in gathering people together for teasing out Octagon design processes.

  9. Don’t start me on The Octagon, oh go on then (see this is why this blog needs to morph into another venture all about the built environment of Dunedin).

    Why do we allow cars in The Octagon? I love all of the bars and Cafes, but who in their right mind allowed a 24/7 to be there? With all of the cafes, theatres, art gallery etc, this should and needs to be a pedestrian place only. Cars will moan about it for a while, but then life will go on and the centre of our city will be a mecca for people to be people.

    Richard, if you haven’t looked at the reading list at the top of the page, I’d thoroughly recommend “City Making in Paradise. Nine decisions that saved Vancouver”. By Michael Harcourt, Sean Rossiter, Ken Cameron, Kenneth Duncan Cameron. Becoming the most liveable city in the world didn’t happen over night, nor did it happen by chance (well not entirely), and considering history is being created and the future is a long time coming, it’s not too late to take this very easy to read book on board and see where we’d like to see Dunedin go.

    Also can I add, more inner city living, apartments etc. 80,000 people living in Downtown Vancouver makes it feel like a people place, not some empty shopping area.

  10. 10 years ago was just a nice easy number to use, and considering when I was first at Canterbury Uni, Otago wasn’t the best place to come for the weekend. Dunedin circa 1980s was an awful city, this place has come a long long way, a long long way!

  11. Richard

    As the closure of Anzac Square proved (and what a battle that was for me as Mayor given the opposition led by the redoubtabvle Elizabeth Hanan supported by Sukhi Turner!), nothing is “impossible” when it comes to roading, but some very creative/lateral thinking is required.

    As Peter Entwisle has often pointed out, once Kettle’s original roading grid (not that it was perfect, just look at how many roads are divided by cliff faces etc!)) was interfered with – particularly south of The Exchange – our roading system has never worked as intended. The overhead bridge at Jetty and the one way street system were, in my opinion, huge mistakes. The latter with its obstruction of Great King Street (no longer ‘Great’) , and the closure of Castle Street left us with only very limited options in getting around the city centre. The arterial that will run between the two ports – Dunedin Airport and Port Chalmers and which has “the virtue” of at least following the other permanent obstruction we have to live with, the railway trunk line, is planned to take some of the pressures off.

    The fact is that the average citizen isn’t interested in roading and changes unless it effects them. That was underlined by the abysmally low numbers who submitted on the Transportation Plan despite two years of extensive consultation and our bringing in a very experienced planner from NSW to work on it.

    And, Elizabeth is absolutely right regarding the influence the future use of Carisbrook could have on South Dunedin if the proposed FB Stadium goes ahead. Don Anderson and the planning students came up with some great ideas last year but for things like that to get traction, real public interest and objective debate is needed. None of the nasty stuff that has become such a feature of the stadium debate as so cogently commented upon by Hayden Meikle in yesterday’s ODT. Oh well, I guess the ODT Sports Editor is fully qualoified to write about “bloodsports”!!!!

    Anyway, Paul looks like you have yet another blog to set up!

  12. Elizabeth

    In light of Paul’s posts – I couldn’t agree more, and with the news item below.

    I came to Dunedin in 1990 when it was wholly unattractive (I thought) after where all I’d been and seen; and compared to my as yet unsurpassed dedicated farm life in coastal East Otago before hitting university. In 1990, Dunedin was conveniently close to rural family and friends on the weekend, provided university work and play for me, and that’s about it. Couldn’t conceive of many years living here, a passing phase I thought (piteously), then onto better things. Enough to say, it began changing in important ways and completely hooked me! Dunedin’s metropolitan area and the hinterland are on a scale of connection where individuals can make a difference in simple or sophisticated ways, depending on your mood and inclination, and very often, without asking, people are ready to help and take things forward.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 30 Jan 2009
    Dunedin one of best places to live in NZ – survey

    Dunedin, renowned for its medical school, university and students, is one of the best places to live in New Zealand. A survey by the ASB Bank ranked Dunedin – the country’s eighth-largest city – as the best city community ahead of Rodney District, north of Auckland, and Wellington.

    Read more

  13. Richard

    Well, well! Seems “It’s ALL right … here … lives on!”

  14. A smile did come over my face when I was in my workshop this evening and heard this on Radio Sport.

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