The meeting in the Caversham Presbyterian Hall was well attended, and admirably coordinated and facilitated by Tracey Crampton Smith.
Councillors Neil Collins and Dave Cull participated in a lengthy question and answer session, both taking some tough questions and providing replies according to their understanding of the stadium project and council processes.
Two resolutions were passed unanimously (wording to be confirmed in tomorrow’s newspaper):
1. Council to hold a referendum before signing the contract; and
2. Council to defer signing the contract until after the adoption of the Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) having reopened the call for submissions on the stadium.
The tone of the meeting and the resolutions would be carried by Councillors Collins and Cull to the Dunedin City Council’s extraordinary meeting tomorrow.
Paraphrased here, questions from the floor included: what is Council doing for the future of our youth, if not a stadium?…what about the skateboard park, it gives way to the proposed harbour arterial – what is Council doing to replace the park and will a new facility be roofed for all weather use?…will local firms find work at the stadium? (relevant to specific construction services mentioned rumour is they won’t)…how have views of South Dunedin constituents been canvassed?…did the $66 per week cited by council include GST? (the figure was described as farcical given the likely cost of the stadium to build and operate, in particular the debt servicing required)…what options for major capital works were contemplated by council other than the stadium? (Wanganui gives its citizens a list of options to consider and select)…why not upgrade Carisbrook instead?…what is council going to do to attract new investment to the city for job creation? (investing across a spectrum, not in one major project like the stadium, was surely preferable and wise? for example, fibre optic networks, heritage, eco-tourism…)…how did council value the stadium site prior to purchase? (given the $10M overspend)…who would use the stadium?…was the anticipated $200,000 annual return, after costs, worth the outlay and risk? (this figure seemed ludicrous anyway)…was it too late for a referendum? (NO!!! said the crowd, with which Cr Cull agreed)…
A lively, intelligent meeting where people expressed concern at the lack of public consultation and or ‘listening’ by council representatives to what now appeared to be a ground swell of opposition city wide; and at council’s apparent lack of viable alternatives to take the city forward.
ODT will put it more accurately tomorrow, I’m sure.