Temporary road closures or road stopping?

Dunedin City Council Notices appearing in ODT 23/5/09 (page 4):

ODT 23-5-09 DCC Notices p4 (Best 1)

I’ve written to Dunedin City Council Chief Executive Jim Harland seeking public clarification on the difference between “temporary road closure” and (permanent) “road stopping” of the streets named in the Notices, in regards to established council policy and relevant legislation (see Local Government Act and Public Works Act).

My letter (rightly or wrongly, in the spirit of Council’s Road Stopping Policy) requests that any proposed road closure in the stadium area, including for the purposes of facilitating construction work and or providing alternative access to the Boat Harbour Recreation Reserve and State Highway 88, be notified for full public consultation should the real effect of any “temporary road closure” be the permanent stopping of any road.

Dunedin City Council Road Stopping Policy

19 Comments

Filed under Hot air, Media, Politics, Project management, Site, Stadiums, Town planning

19 responses to “Temporary road closures or road stopping?

  1. Elizabeth

    In discussion, an associate says Council’s ownership of land, the zoning process (Stadium zone and extended Campus zone), and the Notice of Requirement doesn’t render the street closure fait accompli
    Councillors may find it difficult to be convinced of this.
    Oh well. Let’s look at the legislation and gather our thoughts.

  2. David

    So the question is. “Will the council stop the roads legally – and risk the delays in the environment court – or will they just go ahead build over the top ILLEGALLY, and try to stop it later?” (like they did with Mitre 10)

  3. Elizabeth

    Regrettably, that’s the problem, David.
    DCC may elect to not see problems as construction of the stadium is fast tracked.

    It was the responsibility of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust to make sure all consents for the stadium project were properly in place. However, the trust is rumoured to have fallen behind with these.

    Has the matter reached consternation level in the minds of DCC and ORC elected representatives? It should have. They’re not saying much. Interesting.

    Councillors are funded in a way that invites their vigilance and businesslike attention to detail matters of major capital works, for proper governance on behalf of ratepayers and residents. It’s not enough to be hands-off or contained by policy direction only.

    Have we reached the point of laissez-faire* at these Councils…such that a private trust (CST) is the ‘market force’ at work, and which appears to be operating in an untimely manner without regard for due process. Answer: Possibly.

    I’m about to bring up the matter of the Leith Access Area, covered by the requirements of the (operative) District Plan, in another post.

    ****

    BTW where is CST’s Darren Burden these days? We’ve heard little from him for months. Back in September 2008 CST announced he was to take on the newly created role of Development Director in recognition of his extensive project management background. Meaning he would oversee the design, procurement and construction of the Stadium and associated University developments. CST Link

    [Maybe consents aren’t in Darren Burden’s job description – were these left to CST’s Chief Executive Ewan Soper? Surely CST has sought the services of a resource management practitioner?]

    Can we take it public funding (via DCC) is being used to cover work Darren Burden does for the University of Otago? This requires clarification, to ensure there is separation and limitation. Ratepayer funding for the stadium should not be going to University of Otago projects.

    *Laissez-faire n. the theory or practice of governmental abstention from interference in the workings of the market etc [F, let act]

  4. Elizabeth

    The following is in reply to a letter I sent DCC Chief Executive inquiring about temporary road closure and road stopping matters (email dated 24 May). The reply was received by email this evening at 5.05pm. No analysis of the letter is attempted here.

    [DCC letter]

    26 May 2009

    Dear Ms Kerr

    You have emailed Jim Harland, Chief Executive asking a number of questions around the temporary road closure and road stopping procedures associated with the new stadium site. Mr Harland has asked me to reply to your queries.

    In terms of the temporary road closure, this was undertaken to protect public safety as demolition and construction on the stadium site began. The temporary road closure was advertised in the Otago Daily Times to inform people. There is no requirement to consult generally over temporary road closures. The Council temporarily closes roads for a variety of reasons and generally requires consultation with adjacent landowners to ensure that the activity which is giving rise to the temporary road closure does not impact on their activities. In this case the City Council is the landowner.

    In terms of the road stopping procedure, the Council’s Road Stopping Policy Statement states:

    “The process used for stopping roads will ensure that adequate preliminary consultation is undertaken to determine whether or not the road is surplus to requirements before Council grants authority to proceed. Council will also use the processes laid down in the Local Government Act to stop roads except in the situation where the creation of new road reserve to replace the stopped road is included. In these cases the processes set out in the Public Works Act will be followed.”

    The assessment of environmental effects for the plan change associated with the stadium specifically stated that the roads within the stadium site were to be stopped. No objection was raised to the roads being stopped as part of the plan change process. The proposal to stop the roads was, therefore, fully consulted on. The Policy also provides though that the Public Works Act can be used when new roads are to be created in place of the stopped roads. As a new realignment of State Highway 88 is to be undertaken which provides full access around the site, the Public Works Act has been used to stop the road within the stadium site.

    The stopping of the roads was gazetted on 21 May 2009 and so the roads are now permanently stopped.

    However access to the Boat Harbour will continue to be provided through the site on some of the existing roads during the initial construction stages. The Otago Daily Times on Saturday 23 May 2009 clearly identified how that will continue to be provided during and after the construction of the stadium. That was in order to inform people of the new arrangements.

    Yours faithfully

    Tony Avery
    General Manager City Environment

  5. David

    It was my understanding that to stop a road, it has to be specifically advertised.

    Even a single objection means the decision is out of council hands and is decided by the environment court.

    It sounds like the DCC want to say instead of the requirement of notifying the public of a road stoppage with a public notice in the paper, burying it in an environmental assessment that no-one saw will be good enough.

    They’re starting to get a reputation of ignoring legal process when it gets in their way.

    Like when the DCC gave Mitre 10 consent to build on top of a still open public road that they didn’t own, and wasn’t stopped.

    Or hearing the consents themselves when their own policy specifically prohibits them from hearing any project where they own the land, etc etc.

  6. David

    So the question has to be asked, “Are the DCC deliberately trying to close the roads illegally, so they can avoid due process and legally required public consultation?”

  7. I have a tea cup, I’d like to see the leaves, but the storm within it is blurring the view.

    Did anyone really think that the stadium would be built on stilts with a road underneath it?

    Shame old Rodney Hide is so out of favour with you guys, this would be a nice little letter to Parliament’s Hall Monitor wouldn’t it.

  8. David

    Paul – you miss the point. The way roads have to be legally stopped is largely out of council hands, so they can’t do…well, exactly what they are trying to do – stop roads and avoid due legal process and consultation.

    The law exists so councils can’t simply railroad through projects, like they are trying to do.

    Hell – my new deck was a few centimetres too close to my neighbour’s boundary, so even though they couldn’t even see it, I was required to get resource consent from the council, notify the neighbours, get formal written permission from them, complete with architects plans etc., complete the forms pay the fees etc – all for the sake of a few centimetres.

    The way the council have railroaded the stadium, it seems that a small deck in suburbia has to strictly stick to a resource consent process, but a massive $200m stadium, complete with road stoppages and changes won’t need one at all.

    It just reiterates the council’s history of completely disregarding their own rules that they force onto everyone else.

  9. Rosemary

    Avery implies that if the council can’t get away with the public notification implicit in Plan Change 8, then it will invoke the Public Works Act which, unlike the Local Government Act, doesn’t require consultation. But the PWA explicitly allows only realignment and the like of a road in order to meet current needs: there is provision under the “Public Works Act to allow roads to be stopped in conjunction with creation of new roads. This is a non public process and is used where roads are being realigned and the like. It is also used when it is found formed roads are not within the legal road reserve and allows a new road reserve to be created in the correct position in exchange for the old reserve.”

    To say, as Avery does:

    “The Policy also provides though that the Public Works Act can be used when new roads are to be created in place of the stopped roads. As a new realignment of State Highway 88 is to be undertaken which provides full access around the site, the Public Works Act has been used to stop the road within the stadium site.”

    is a stretch too far, surely.

  10. David

    The new road is being built to replace Anzac Avenue – NOT the minor roads.

    A translation of Mr Avery’s comments would read

    “We have been caught out, and will attempt to circumvent the law in some other way”.

  11. Or translated for the non conspiracy readers out there, we need to build a better roading system, this is how we are going to do it.

    I’m just waiting for Historic Places to come along and stick and order on one of the roads “don’t touch this”.

    If anyone thinks that the current road around that area is up to modern needs you are kidding yourself.

  12. David

    It’s not a conspiracy Paul – it’s a habit.

    Yet again they have avoided the process they are legally required to go through.

    And it’s not the first time. The DCC gave Mitre 10 resource consent to put their project on top of a open legal road.

    This despite their own policy stating they were not allowed to hear the consent themselves – they did. Despite their own policy stating they had to have a hearing – this never happened. And for legal advice on the process, they went to the lawyers being used by Mitre 10, then the Mayor publicly stated there had been a review had cleared the whole issue, but the review could never be produced and the DCC had already told the govt the review had never happened.

    No council in the country can simply stop a road if they feel like it.

    There is a legal process, and the DCC are trying to circumvent it.

  13. Rosemary

    Do we know in what forum the road closures were gazetted? I’ve just noticed that Avery says they closures were gazetted on the 21st of May and thus are now permanently stopped. It seems strange that the notice of temporary closure was made on the 23rd of May – 2 days later. Even you, Paul, will smell fish.

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