Dunedin City Forum held

### ODT Online Fri, 24 Jul 2009
Dunedin’s leaders consider direction
By David Loughrey

A group including leaders of Dunedin’s business, tertiary education and social services sectors came together yesterday to help decide the future direction of the city. The Dunedin City Forum was held at the Dunedin Centre to consider whether the city was heading in the right direction and whether its priorities were right.
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The report (to the Finance and Strategy Committee, dated 1/1/09) describing the forum and who would be invited (interim listing) is available on the DCC website:

Report – FSC – 22/06/2009 (PDF, 82.9 kb, new window)
Dunedin City Forum 2009


Filed under Hot air, Inspiration, Media, Politics

102 responses to “Dunedin City Forum held

  1. Stuart Mathieson

    On July 11th I submitted the following letter to the ODT.
    Dear Eds,
    I have noticed two things recently. One: The tidal surge in our harbour seems to have increased and; Two: The road widening to Portobello is surprisingly generous in places. It would not have to do with concerns about storm surge causing road damage or even worse would it? Sea levels have risen one foot in the last one hundred years. It is likely this rate is increasing. Maybe someone in the Geography department at our university has some figures. Is this why the Stadium Project is being pursued at great speed?

    To date this has not been published as “your letter to the editor has been referred for comment and will be published when we receive a reply.”

    The news in today’s ODT July 24, of yesterday’s high tide simply reinforces my suspicions.

  2. Richard

    No, no and no!

  3. Phil

    Yes, it’s grasping at straws a little. There are some legitimate concerns and risks to the project, and they’ve been well documented. But they tend to get undermined when things like rising sea levels, volcanic eruptions, and bird strikes get tossed into the arena. Frankly, if the sea level rises to the point where it floods the stadium, it’s likely we’ve got bigger problems in the city to deal with at the time than wet grass.

  4. Allow me to jump in there Stuart. A few good years ago, the City Council had a vision for the city design competition. I had a thought, invited a friend on board and together we put drawing pens to paper, took photos etc.

    I had the idea of taking the works of the likes of Renzo Piano and others, wanted to make a Kiwi boardwalk between Macandrew Bay and Company Bay, with different materials and platforms along the way.

    Long story short, we won the vision for Dunedin design competition (thankfully beat the people catapult machine – to get them up to Roslyn fast). The DCC gave us the cash and they got the idea. Unfortunately each time I asked the DCC how the idea was evolving I got blanks.

    Now they have this metal beast (at a heck of a lot more cost). But it’s very good and the locals around here are about as excited as they have ever been. Kids for the first time ever are going to be able to walk and bike to school safely. Not the vision I had, and nowhere near as architecturally/aesthetically interesting, but it’s an improvement.

    The old road had no room for pedestrians, the new one does – end of story.

    NO it has nothing to do with tidal surges, what you are describing isn’t happening, and is an impossible geo-physical event. Believe me if the Inner Harbour was experiencing such a massive sea level rise, the entire weight of the world’s scientific community would have descended upon Dunedin, not to mention every media outlet in the entire world.

    If the sea level rises to the level to flood the stadium, something like 60% of the Urban area of NZ would be inundated with water (I’ll find the link for you).

    They are holding on to your letter to be nice to you. Today’s ODT is just journalists looking for a great ‘sensational’ story. Over the past 10 years living in the area I have even seen the water coming over the old road on numerous events. Actually less so over the last 3 years. About 5 years ago we had some doozie storms with tidal surges. My neighbour flooded and killed her new car by driving into a flooded area, from a massive tidal surge.

    Sorry, but thanks for stopping by, hope this helps you.

    As soon as I find the competition entry pics, I’ll post them. It was a good boardwalk – I think so anyway, and so did the judges (enough horn blowing).

  5. Richard

    Paul, I cannot recall your specific proposal but Fliss has talked of something similar from time to time so I assume ‘a connection’. Now I am not wishing to ‘steal anyone’s thunder’ – far from it – but some 15 years ago during my term as mayor, I did suggest a ‘broadwalk’ over the water down to MacBay. Nothing as imaginative as what you have thought of and it did not go anywhere as the rise in ‘tourism numbers’, cyclists, walkers etc and the local traffic problems were still to really impact.

    Like the bringing back one cable car line and (maybe) light rail within the city centre and perhaps to Mosgiel and the airport, I trust these are things that find a place in the new website: duned.in?

    Also on that list how we ACCESS our city centre (the Octagon and George/Princes Street) with the legacy of pre-RMA days when crown-owned entities did not have to provide any offstreet parking. Which explains, of course, why there are particular problems around the main hospital and the University/Polytechnic precincts. I have long said that the imposition of the one-way system effectively mutilated “the grid” system which would (with minor modifications) and some lateral thinking, be as effective today as when Kettle and his colleagues designed it. (Adelaide and Christchurch). For a start Great King Street needs to be reclaimed somehow and the future diversion of SH1 to the harbourside of the railway should result in the removal of the one way system south of the Leviathan corner.

    The recent changes to inner city parking were, if nothing else, the first ‘holistic’ attempt to address the issue of ‘access’, despite the ‘problems’ that have emerged. They were, after all, some three years in the planning, including well publicised consultation in which too few people took an interest. And ‘Facebook’ would not have solved that! Indeed I even referred to the radical changes that were coming in my Hills householder prior to the 2007 election!

    All for the list!

  6. LG

    On parking and boardwalks.

    Richard — I’m mostly happy with the new parking scheme. I mostly walk or bus into town (where I work), and am happy to pay for a park if/when I need (and would much prefer this option to driving round in circles). What I think has been tragic about this implementation is that it coincided with the bus prices changing (staggering them a year apart might have worked better); and yes I know the ORC are on buses, but a little communication and strategy wouldn’t go astray.

    The New Plymouth Boardwalk. Fantastic. Built apparently over a sewer main they had to install anyway (apparently). Perhaps with that great thing, hindsight, it’s a pity the city did not come up with a creative add-on to the side of the road the whole way into town, incorporating the sewer main, foot and cycle-pathing.

  7. Richard

    LG: fair enough but you overlook that the parking changes were due much earlier and only came in on 1 July because the supplier of the ‘pay machines’ went into receivership.

  8. David

    Boardwalks and Parking

    We need a cycle/walkway from Taiaroa Head all the way around the harbour to Aramoana, WITH regular car parks / picnic / play / areas with water access. I’ve previously suggested this at council submissions as well. Our harbour is such a gem and is so under utilised.

    New Parking is a disaster. I used to regularly go to town to drop things off or to quickly buy a one off item. Many of the quick-turn-over free parks are now long term pay and display.

    Try using these when you have two small children and it’s pouring with rain. Most people will leave the kids in the car out of the rain while they get their ticket, but when the machine doesn’t work and you’ve got to go further down the street or across the road, it’s a bit far to go to leave the kids alone. You’re getting quite wet by now, but it’s back to the car, get the kids out, drag them down the road until you find a ticket machine that works. Line up behind the other two people who are also waiting to use this machine, then finally (by this time the kids are soaked as well) back to the car again to place the ticket in the car.

    It took almost as long to get the ticket as it will to do your errand.

    Why did the council want to kill off one of Dunedin’s main advantages over other cities? (the ability to quickly nip into the city for an errand).

    What used to be hassle free is now a pain – the best solution is simply to avoid using centre city businesses.

    So cheap rates are about to go.
    Going into the city is now a hassle like elsewhere.

    What other great Dunedin advantages do we want to throw away?

  9. Richard I can take credit for winning that competition, but I can’t take credit for the idea of a boardwalk in that area, I bet it was probably even mooted early last century, when walking was a pastime and social event.

    Not buying the loop cycleway, might appeal to some, but it would require massive spending, the road on both sides just simply isn’t wide enough. Considering the 1.5km project Company Bay to Macandrew Bay cost what $20+m, with the amenities you talk about, what would the cost of a 50+km route? It might be a nice thing, but considering this is also an essential community asset, so many local and residents can now safely walk on the only main street they have, not to mention the ability of kids to got to school in a safe and healthy manner, there is a huge difference between the two ideas.

    As it stands I can access the water more or less most places around the inner harbour (I do remember that this shouldn’t be considered a café harbour as the weather is too appalling – what’s changed?), I can drive between the two points (why?) and I can certainly cycle between the two. Considering it’s 50 odd km, can’t really see people walking it either.

    Yes we could be utilising the inner harbour more, not sure if the sum total of your plan is the answer, some morsels of good ideas.

    I’m happy/comfortable with the new parking situation. Sure it’s less convenient, but then it’s still 10x better than most other cities. The only big city which has a any sense is CHCH with the Litchfield St carpark, right on the back of Cashel Mall, where the first hour is free. This is quite possibly what should happen at one of the car parks in the centre of the city. However it is very nice to be able to drive to the centre of the city and find a park for a change.

    But then the other issue of the buses has been raised, and having lived in places around the world where a fast, cheapish and effective public transport systems exist, I have to agree that Dunedin buses are shocking – but while we have the great Kiwi knocking machine in full swing here, let’s not forget the DCC doesn’t run the buses.

    I use the Vancouver example time and time again, because it’s just so damned good. I was talking to someone from Vancouver last week and as I have done often, ask why they moan about a system that has been voted the best in North America in the past. The ability of the locals to moan about something that should be the envy of the (western world – some Asian places are even better), is quite incredible. Possibly the most striking difference (apart from the lazy population one) is that different types of buses are used on different routes. If there was a smaller modern bus used on the peninsula it would be cheaper to run and they might be greater patronised. Also like Vancouver where cycling is encouraged (one of their main bridges just last week was changed to allow one lane for pedestrians and cyclists), buses take bikes on the front, and in the case of the big bendy buses, if it’s not full, you can take the bike on the bus too.

    The small university loop that I used (only a couple of km) was serviced by a large converted pick-up truck, capacity of about 20 or so. I could imagine much more cost efficient than the big empty bus that pays only 3 visits to the peninsula on a weekend day. How about encouraging folk to get their bikes on a bus out to Aramoana or Tairoa Head and let them bike back?

    Remember folks it’s a disingenuous and lazy option to blame the DCC for the ills of this city. The failure of regional council, private enterprise and local city council to have a vision for these projects, along with massive public apathy are all contributing factors.

  10. Richard

    It has been acknowledged that the consultation process was not as extensive (or as complete) as it should have been. Retailers (and other businesses, but I cannot recall to what extent) were supposed to be specifically canvassed given the absence of a ‘retailer’s association’ but that apparently never happened. The free P5’s have not all just ‘disappeared’ and many of the new ‘loading zones’ are (or supposed to be) P5’s for ‘all vehicles’ Whatever, the emphasis should now be on remedying the errors/deficiencies and making things work. Leaving the previous ‘status quo’ was not an option.

    The ORC programmes and funds bus shelters, the DCC contracts their construction. I have to assume one will be installed at Plunket House if the proposed redevelopment of that building and the adjacent site (where the plant shop was) complete with verandah – as consented three years ago – does not proceed. [ed.] One thing is for certain, that bus stop needed shifting further back from the mix of ‘problems’ at the five street intersection!

  11. Richard

    Oh dear! I am trying to type without ‘a mouse’ and fingers are not in the right place. Like some of the parks! The end of the first sentence in the last para should, of course, read “does not proceed”. No point in building a bus shelter under a verandah!

  12. Richard; you say “Leaving the previous ‘status quo’ was not an option.” Why not? Again, I am not sure that the public was clamouring for something to be changed with parking in and around the city. It just seems like change for change’s sake, with a resultant mass upheaval in people’s habits. Not to mention the costs. I would respectfully suggest that in hindsight that the ‘status quo’ was very much in order.

  13. David

    Richard – what was so bad about the status quo that it couldn’t continue? (is extra money desperately needed to be taken from citizens to pay for all the new capital projects?)

    If there is to be change, it should only ever be to improve things – not to make them worse.

    Similarly I’ve seen road and footpath resealing that’s been totally pointless. Perfectly good footpaths with no cracks or potholes, used by about two people per day (postie and paper boy) with gangs of workers spending a week to repave them – what’s the point (and cost) of that?

    Is it just because they are on a schedule?

  14. David

    Elizabeth – that’s great news about the cycleway. I heard years ago that they were going to connect Portsmouth Drive with Portobello by doing about a kilometer per year. The first km to Vauxhall got done, then it seemed to be forgotten about.

    Paul – the cycleway would cost nothing like your figure of $13m per km ($20+m for 1.5km).

    – a big chunk has already been done at the city end of the harbour.
    – several km near Aramoana and Harwood are not next to the harbour and will not cost a lot to do.
    – many parts of the road need corners cut cutting and widening – leaving an area for the cycleway on the outside. Many parts can be done at the same time as the neccessary road widening)
    – the most used, most cost effective, and most dangerous parts can be done first. The whole loop doesn’t have to be completed before it is useful. People can use parts of it or use the road where other parts have not been completed.

    And I think there could be far better harbour access places. Try putting a kayak in at a major place like Portobello and you have a choice of mud flats or a deadly slippery steep wooden ramp.

    More waterside picnic spots would be a great asset, as would more stopping places on the Peninsula’s high road. Highcliff Road has stunning views – but no places to stop and look at them.

    Other cities would die for these sort of views. In Dunedin we let houses be built in front of our great views (Rotary Park). We destroy what was the most popular view of Dunedin, by allowing a giant orange hoarding to kill the view, along with all the free publicity the city used to get. What was by a long way our most published city view is virtually never used these days.

    And we have fantastic views on the Peninsula but people can’t stop and look at them (and therefore don’t take photos, don’t show their friends, and don’t get them published).

  15. ” Try putting a kayak in at a major place like Portobello and you have a choice or mud flats or a deadly slippery steep wooden ramp.”

    Come on the DCC is good, but they aren’t that good, they can’t control geomorphology. Mud flats are mud flats, no matter where in the world you are, and if you want to put your kayak in the water where mud flats exist, that is your choice. I have no immediate access to the water where I live, but I still exercise the choice to carry my kayak across the road and down the rocks to the water.

    “More waterside picnic spots would be a great asset, as would more stopping places on the peninsulas high road”

    Yes to a certain extent, but where and how, there is so all land that is usable around large parts of the inner harbour, again because of the geomorphology, and because of things like townships and railway lines. All of these things are good ideas, but are not simple in their implementation.

    It’s a pretty stunning harbour, I find plenty of places to take pics.

  16. David

    Paul – where did you get the idea the DCC are being blamed for the mud flats? The point is that there’s a major harbourside town with very poor harbour access.

    If you want to put a kayak in there there’s only a single very dangerous steep slippery ramp, as long as no body is using the SINGLE car park beside it.

    The easy way to do harbourside picnic / access areas is when corner easements are done. Simply use the left over unused road area after the corner is cut.

    Paul – you’re right – there are plenty of places to take good pictures of the harbour. But again you miss the point. If you park a campervan in these places you’re going to cause a traffic hazard.

    Elizabeth – besides being much cheaper, a floating pontoon at Portobello may have some other advantages (like it’s easier to get in and out of dinghys and kayaks from 30cm above water than from 2m above water).

    As for the viewpoints – it seems crazy that after years and years of growing tourist numbers, there’s still amazing views from Highcliff Road with no stopping or viewing areas.

  17. Richard

    Access to the Harbour:

    One of the great ‘scams’ in the reorganisation of local government in 1989 was the vesting all the shares of Port Otago and the ownership of 99% of the former OHB extensive land holdings in the ORC.

    The result: the ORC was left with ownership of the harbour to the MHWM and the DCC left with the cost and ‘problem’ of protection and providing access. The long and on-going frustrations at the Boat Harbour and having access to it dredged from the Victoria Channel is one such ‘sore’.

    Not surprisingly, a different decision was made for Christchurch which benefited the Christchurch City Council.

    I’ll leave it at that!

  18. Richard

    Parking: for the background go to:
    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/43696/parking-strategy-2008—2018.pdf. The key issues with on and off street parking are covered on pages 12 to 14.

    • Over complicated parking restrictions in central area;

    • Provision of free parking spaces within the Central Paid Parking area generates additional traffic with related problems of congestion, pollution, noise and safety for pedestrians;

    • Time restrictions on meters ineffective as people ‘feed the meter’ rather than moving on;

    • Problems of enforcement and overstaying in free time restricted spaces;

    • Need for additional mobility parking spaces in central area;

    • Time restrictions on meters and free parking spaces too restrictive;

    • Current spare capacity in some off-street parking buildings as on-street parking charges are comparable in price;

    • Hours of charging currently complicated and Friday night charges unnecessarily restrictive

    • Some surface level car parks e.g. Frederick St, Dowling St, are over-subscribed;

    • Commitment in Transportation Strategy to provide additional 1,800 off street parking spaces, but existing supply of off street parking currently under used;

    • South Dunedin off street facility over subscribed and people over stay 60 minute time limit;

    • Leased parking prices not in line with market

    • Leased spaces available for commuters does not accord with travel demand principles or efficient parking practices

  19. Richard

    A Parking PS:

    In 1989, Council made a decision not to return parking meters to George Street following its redevelopment. The reason had nothing to do with parking. It was felt that the meters would detract from the overall ambience of the improvement. In short, it had nothing to do with ‘parking per se’!!!

  20. Phil

    The problem that Dunedin has to endure is that of geography. The pitfall of building inside of a volcanic basin. With hills on 3 sides and water to the 4th, the main residential and commercial areas are restricted in how they can handle traffic. The main commercial zone is in completely the wrong place, compressed by hills. But it is where it is. The dominance of hill suburbs makes non motorised transport or a generic mass transit system very unattractive. Wellington nearly suffers the same fate but it is saved by the flat corridor through to the Hutt valley.

    I’m going to say here that I believe that fuel prices in NZ are still too cheap. It’s expensive, yes. But it’s only annoyingly expensive, not prohibitively expensive. It needs to be expensive enough to force us creatures of habit into changing our ways. The new parking fees have shown that people will change habits to avoid huge costs. Unfortunately, this is a central government issue. And judging from their interest in building more motorways, I doubt there’s going to be much help from them. I spent 2 years working in a European city of 150,000 in a country where the price of petrol was almost 3 times the NZ price at the time. Walking through the CBD, there was less car traffic than one would find in Mosgiel. The major traffic hazards were avoiding the large number of buses, and the horrendous number of cyclists.

    The first part of the plan is already in place. High parking costs. Anyone walking through London will see that the majority of traffic in the CBD are either commuter, or delivery vehicles. So the disincentive is in place. That’s great. Now there needs to be an attractive alternative. And I don’t think that price is the biggest issue here. People will pay for convenience. Get them to work where and when they need, and they’ll pay for the lack of stress.

    Because one commuter system does not work generically, doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate for certain areas. I believe that Dunedin should be split into geographically unique areas, with transport options tailored for those specific areas. If this is being done now, great. But frankly, it’s not apparent to the lay observer.

    The routes North and South are set up for rail. The stock, track, and stations are all in place. The problem is that the operators still see it as a novelty. So they need help there. With timetables, track coordination, and the like. Last time was a bit of a cockup. Frankly I’m amazed that Transit NZ hasn’t picked up on the obvious financial benefits to them, with reduced state highway maintenance costs. Surely there’s room for subsidy there. Rail is a no brainer.

    The large flat areas of the city are ripe for cycleways. The irony of it is, that the cycleways are already there. In the city I lived in, cyclists weren’t on the road, they were on the footpath. There were no expensive cycleways built, simply a painted centreline placed down the middle of the footpath. Pedestrians to one side, cyclists to the other. It was a bit tricky at times to remember which side you were supposed to be. But you learnt fast, in order to survive. It also helped traffic flow no end, by removing cyclists as a road hazard. Both cyclists and cars got around quicker, and with less stress. The entire pedestrian route from Normanby to St Clair beach could very easily be converted into a dual use route. Today. And that’s 40% of the commuters taken care of. I’m sure that I still have photos of the dual use footpaths around somewhere.

    The hill suburbs aren’t viable for trains or cycles. I’m certainly not going to cycle up Stuart Street. So double the numbers of buses into the city from those hill suburbs between 6am and 9am. And likewise from 4pm. No point running them every 15 minutes from 11am. Once every hour is sufficient outside of peak commuter hours. I used to take a nice warm bus every day. There was always a supply of morning newspapers on board, and I arrived fresh into the office after a leisurely 5 minute walk through town from the bus stop. It worked because it was comfortable, and it got me where I needed to be at the time I needed it. I also took the bus because it cost me 25 dollars per day to park on the street. Big disincentive, attractive alternative, change of habit. The bus station hub needs to be centralised, somewhere around the Cadbury’s area would work.

    The Peninsula is a little messy. I think the road and cycle system is about as good as it can be. I think a ferry from Macandrew Bay to the Steamer Basin should be explored further. Again, there must be cost savings in road maintenance.

    So there’s me as the armchair transportation expert. Gee that was easy.

  21. Richard

    And interesting, Phil! Cheers!

  22. LG

    @Phil — Some good points, but I think you underestimate the potential demand for bus services during the day. Most university students using the bus service will want post-9am bus services, at the point you’re suggesting they should cut back to hourly. It’s pretty obvious from the snakes of traffic spiralling campus during the day that that would be a disaster. More buses during the day, not fewer!

  23. Phil

    I agree. A blanket approach does not work, is not working. The most important factor is for the supplier to listen to the consumer. I lived in a university city of similar size where the bus service followed the pattern I mentioned. The majority of students were at the university for all of the day, so normal business hours commuting applied there. Or they lived within walking or cycling distance of the university.

    But if a demand for a mid day shuttle service direct to the university is warranted and can be justified, so be it. I had the choice at 7am every day of a direct city bus, a direct university bus, or a bus that went past both.

  24. David

    Richard, if the DCC only has jurisdiction down to the mean high water mark, and the ORC from there on, then you need to tell them to keep their water off Marne St.

    And surely it is ORC water overstepping it’s jurisdiction by going past the mean high water mark that is causing all the problems at Middle Beach. They need to be told to keep their water in its allocated area.

  25. Phil

    Elizabeth, I’m going to contribute to your Eco City question from earlier. Something of a pet love of mine. I’ve seen some wonderful examples of Eco City development, not all of which are appropriate or realistic for Dunedin. But worth tucking away for future reference.

    I recall speaking with a local refrigeration engineer last year who had carried out some work in the Civic Centre building. The work involved the fitting of a cooling system into the computer server room. The servers were generating 25kW of heat, and so needed to be cooled. 25kW is the equivalent of 4 medium sized heat pumps. That’s enough heat to warm an entire floor of the Civic Centre if it was reused, rather than destroyed. For free, 24 hours, 7 days. Possibly trimming 10,000 a year from the building’s heating bill. I read an article about how they were using the heat generated by people waiting for trains to heat the office building located above underground train stations in Stockholm. Now that’s clever. And simple. Nothing wasted.

    The same article also spoke of an underground reticulated trash removal system in the main retail area of Stockholm. The system was a vacuum system, a larger version of the money pipe system used at Penrose’s, and I think used today at the hospital. Trash is deposited into various trapdoors in the ground, and simply sucked away to the local water heating plant. No rubbish removal trucks ever needed to enter the CBD. And again, nothing wasted. Maybe a little too Star Wars for us today, but who knows what is possible later on.

    Large scale centralised community heating is terribly attractive. ( I need to get out more, I suspect ). I’ve visited large cities where all hot and chilled water is supplied to homes and businesses via a reticulated underground system. No need for boilers, hot water cylinders, fans, heat pumps, or electric heaters. This is a bit beyond us in Dunedin today, but I don’t think it would take much to incorporate a centralised heating system into the CBD. If the library were to be relocated then the basement floors would be an ideal hub for a central heating plant. The plants I’ve seen are fired directly from community waste, be it household, commercial, or industrial. There are direct benefits to the occupants with reduced heating and hot water costs, savings to the community with reduced landfills, and savings to the country with a reduced demand on electricity supplies. One plant in Iceland, which is the most expensive country in Europe, was selling hot water for heating and for domestic use to the capital city, together with electricity, for 7 NZ cents per kW hour. That’s almost one third the winter cost for electricity in Dunedin.

    It has always amazed me that the Council community housing complexes are not using central heating systems. Having each 50 sq metre apartment supply it’s own heating seems so wasteful. They are ideally set up for a communal hot water heating system.

    There’s my 5 cents worth for the day.

  26. Richard

    Yes, council’s energy manager is working on the ‘district heating scheme’ and thinking is well advanced. My recollection is that it is based on using wood chips as the feedstock.

    The Town Hall/Dunedin Centre redevelopment is certainly part of it but it is much wider than that.

    My understanding is that the overall energy cost savings are ‘huge’.

    Fliss is more involved/up-to-date than I am and may be able to comment further.

  27. Richard

    Correction: my understanding is that the Town Hall/Dunedin Centre redevelopment is “part of it” but until the scheme is ready, the existing or independent sources will need to be used in the interim. I could be wrong so again Fliss may be able to be more specific.

  28. You guys are having a great time, I’m loving the conversations from this side, I hope the public are enjoying this as much as I am. Where else can you get this sort of discussion on and about our town (well Skyscraper City isn’t bad), but this is awesome guys.

    Don’t forget to keep an eye out for http://duned.in in the not too distant future, then this place can wrap itself in a nice warm Dunners blanket and have a rest.

  29. Phil;
    I loved your five cents worth. Energy recovery is a complex and varied technology, well proven over years. What always seems to be missing is the understanding by the “improvers and spenders.” Several years ago I wrote a paper suggesting that the Tahuna Treatment should take advantage of the separated sludge by burning it in a boiler producing steam from which electricity should be generated. This would reduce the landfill requirements for the resulting ash only. It would produce more than enough power to run the processes with a surplus to be sold to the national grid, or offset against other council energy uses. Response? Silence!

    Another avenue, I have often thought of is to use the water from the harbour, upgrade its energy content by employing heat pump technology and there is then an endless potential for community heating services. Again, employing the same principles we could simply take heat out of our own water supply, on its travels through the ground where its energy would be constantly renewed.

    As Dunedin is a hilly city and its water is distributed from Mt Grand down to various subsidiary points. Why not install mini generating systems in these feeds, using gravity to generate electricity? Just a thought.

    After all, Trustpower is doing just that with our water at Mahinerangi, and that is a nice little earner which we are missing out on thanks to the misguided actions of our mayor and staff.

    Back to the Town Hall, why not use the heat of the audience, recovered and then used to temper incoming fresh air thus providing free conditioning. Much more economical than expensive air conditioning of an area used spasmodically. Would it surprise you to know that an audience at rest produces some 700w per person. 2,000 people at a proms concert would generate some 1,500 Kw./Hr. It is an awful lot of energy to dissipate with air conditioning, when it could be done with controlled air changes instead.

    There are just so many possibilities that the mind races, but we would prefer instead to spend millions on a stadium.

    Larger cities than Dunedin can and do utilise rubbish as an energy source for community heating, but one could never cover a whole community with just its own production.

    Iceland, as you mentioned does have extensive community heating and hot water services. But that of course is geothermal. You see, Iceland is arguably one of the most active geothermal places on the planet. A shakey place actually.

    You are right, there are endless opportunities for energy conservation in a community like Dunedin, but don’t hold your breath for any outstanding developments from within this administration.

  30. Richard

    Calvin: “After all, Trustpower is doing just that with our water at Mahinerangi, and that is a nice little earner which we are missing out on thanks to the misguided actions of our mayor and staff.”
    Not factual and patronising.

    “As Dunedin is a hilly city and its water is distributed from Mt Grand down to various subsidiary points. Why not install mini generating systems in these feeds, using gravity to generate electricity? Just a thought.”

    Much more significantly, current investigations are looking to harness the generating capacity of the water being carried down the major feed pipeline from Deep Stream.

    In short, “big picture thinking”!

  31. Richard;

    “big picture thinking!” Fair enough, I thought of mentioning that as well. But then it really is big picture, especially when that particular section is extremely vulnerable at the moment to any seismic event. But why only “big”, what’s so wrong with mini schemes as well. It all adds up, as they say.

    “Not factual and patronising.” A matter of opinion actually.

    Any comment on any of the other suggestions, sludge combustion, harbour water heat pumps, heat recovery for the town hall?

    But it is good to hear that some thought is being given to energy requirements for the city. Keep it up Richard, and pass on your thoughts.

  32. Phil

    You are quite right, Calvin, in pointing out that Iceland is using geothermal energy production. The bell rang in my head in the middle of the night after I had posted my thoughts. Well spotted there. I did do a bit of digging through some of my old finances from the time when I was paying for community supplied reticulated hot water (distance heating ). Doing a straight currency conversion, I was paying 60 cents per kWh for electricity, and 7 cents per kWh for home heating and hot water. So 2/3 of my winter energy use was 1/10 of the cost. The heating plant, which supplied hot water to the entire city of 150,000 people, was fuelled entirely by community waste, and waste from the nearby timber industry. There was a zero dependancy on fossil fuels. The demand for energy reduced during the summer months, but the supply of fuel remained constant throughout the year. So the fuel was stockpiled ready for use when needed. It’s like having guaranteed summer rain for the hydro lakes every year.

    The concept of heat pumps has always been a concern in Dunedin. Due in the most part to misleading media marketing. Air to air heat pumps are not the best solution for our seasonal environment, and the majority of purchasers end up disappointed when the promised money savings don’t appear. Once the air temperature outside falls below 10 degrees, a heat pump has the same operating cost as an electric fan heater. But your house is warmer. So there’s some benefit.

    The solution to that is the use of water sourced, or ground sourced heat pumps. Because deep water, and ground below the frost depth, is always a constant temperature, the heat exchange system in these heat pumps is extremely efficient. Unlike the air temperature which can vary by 15 degrees in one day. Ground source heating is the most popular source of home heating in western Europe, after community distance heating. I understand that the operating costs are even cheaper than buying distance heating. Despite us having an almost identical climate, to my knowledge there is no company in the region currently supplying these off the shelf. To any enterprising entreprenor out there, here’s your chance to make some serious money.

    I love the idea of the mini hydro generating plants using reticulated water coming down from the reservoir tanks in the hills. Someone is selling a little portable electricity generator which you place into a nearby stream when you are camping. So there’s certainly the opportunity to downsize power generators to community level.

  33. Phil

    Ok, found some more of my old energy use papers here. I really should read everything first before bursting into print. My cost for home heating and domestic hot water was 7 cents per kWh. Using the city supplied distance heating. Which was 1/10th of the cost of electricity at the time. When I sold my house, I had to, by law, have an energy use assessment carried out on the house. The recommendation of the report was that I consider converting from distance heating to a ground sourced heat pump, with an expected annual saving of 800 dollars per year. So ground sourced heat pumps are definitely to be considered. The assessment company recommended a list of six alternative models, all able to be purchased off the shelf.

    I’ve also got some notes on the Reykjavik heating plant in Iceland. For some reason. They are taking water from a depth of about 3,000m which is sitting at around 300 deg C. Some is converted to steam for power generation and the rest sent off to the city as heating water. Waste water is pumped back into the ground to keep the cycle moving. They intend to drill a little deeper where the water temperatures are approaching 500 deg. It’s all a little hard to comprehend.

  34. Elizabeth, quite possibly true.

    As long as it didn’t involve baseless gestations as to how well the grass will grow – I am so over that, as is the scientific data.

  35. Phil:
    Interesting stuff this energy thing. Further to the Iceland geothermal industry, don’t forget that NZ is a leading developer of geothermal generation and heating systems in the North Island thermal regions. A very interesting concept being given serious thought in South Australia as we speak is the “Hot Rocks” resource. Apparently there is an enormous area of hot granite deep in the earth. The theory is that deep drilling, and pumping water down to be returned at better than 500deg C. This has the potential, it is said to provide all of Australia’s generation requirements in perpetuity. Sounds far fetched, but if the technical problems and distribution can be sorted, who knows? The point I am making is that the times they are a moving.

    I dispute your comments about air to air heat pumps not being more efficient than direct resistance heating. Modern pump technology has achieved coefficient of performance ratios of better than 3:1 even close to 4:1 at 0deg. C. This equates to one third or better the cost for an equivalent amount of heat. In my opinion, where most dissatisfaction arises is from incorrect surveys being carried out with ill matched systems being installed. Too many cowboys in the game, not really knowing what they are doing.

    Ground and/or water energy source pumps achieve even greater coefficients of performance, no doubt. However, capital costs are much higher as well. It is a matter of what the market can sustain really.

    At the end of the day, the answer lies in a whole amalgam of opportunities, not just the “big picture” as Richard says. Sadly, I don’t think we can look for too much in the way of initiatives from local bodies. Nor, frankly should we expect it. After all, pretty much all in-house expertise has been discarded and we are at the mercy of independent consultants. They of course work for percentage related fees. Consequently there is not a lot of effort towards economies. The bigger the job the bigger the fees. Why else do you think we got landed with the sewage pipe outfall extension?

    With little in-house expertise how would we know? So you see Phil, you should not look for too much technical innovation here.

  36. Phil

    Wow, if there are air to air systems on the local market giving a COP of 3 or better with an indoor air temp of 22 deg and an outdoor air temp of 0 deg C than I AM impressed. The majority being marketed and being purchased aren’t coming even close to that in reality. Generally there’s a huge drop off in COP when the outside air temp falls between 10 and 7 deg C. Particularly with the high rates of heat losses that many Dunedin homes have to cope with. It was easy to spot those houses in Europe. When you shopped for a new house, you shopped in winter and never bought a house that didn’t have snow on it’s roof. I saw one air sourced heat pump on a trip through Scandinavia that was apparently able to produce about 2kW of heat with an outside air temp of -18 deg C. Which I thought was pretty impressive. Never saw it fired up in anger though. It was a silly price at the time, but I’m sure that prices have become more affordable since then.

    As you say, you can buy anything, for a price.

    The Australian situation is very interesting. I wasn’t aware of their plans. Iceland has a distinct advantage with such a shallow crust, and so less drilling, but I guess once everything was in place it’s pretty much self sustaining.

    And hey, I’m not expecting to change the world here. My wife gets sick of me babbling on, so I come here and vent to you poor sods. I like to think of it as therapy.

  37. Richard

    A wee reminder that the new terminal at our airport is heated and/or cooled by extracting and returning water using the Taieri acquifer.

    The process sounds simple but has not been without problems. The original extraction and return bores were too close together and minor ground subsidence around the former (which is close to the terminal) occurred. New bores were drilled further apart and everything seems to be working satisfactorily now.

    I am somewhat ‘disappointed’ that you guys have all overlooked this local success! Especially as it has won major awards.

  38. Phil

    My apologies to you and to the design team at MWH, Richard. I was outside the country for a large part of the airport construction programme, so I’ve pretty much missed that completely. Well done them. There is a local engineer, who’s name escapes me now ( big in the boiler design field ) who was quite keen to get involved in designing and building a system for a new council community housing project. I guess we would have heard if something had come of it. It would be great to see the next round of council flats being used as a showcase to the city of self sufficiency and sustainability. I know they are incorporating solar water heating panels, but there’s so much more that could be achieved. Ground source heating, or a small communal central heating system. A few open days prior to occupancy and you’d have people beating on local suppliers’ doors.

  39. LG

    Some interesting stuff here. I saw a link recently, which I’ve just re-found information on, suggesting that deep drilling to use the earth’s core heat may produce serious earthquakes, which has been a problem in Switzerland.

  40. LG

    I’d also second Calvin’s assertion that there are a lot of poorly installed heatpumps in Dunedin, and getting one calibrated to the space you have is essential for it to work well.

    Also, the Mitsubishi’s new hypercore heatpumps work at full rated power down to -15. They don’t state the C.O.P. at that temperature, but using the maximum input wattage, and the rated output wattage, it would appear that they are a little under 2 at that temperature (which is impressive), and up to 4.44(!!!!) at 7 degrees. I think it would be safe to assume that in Dunedin they would always be operating above 2 times their input power, even on very cold nights.

    Click to access 2009_HyperCore_MSZ-FB-VAH_may.pdf

  41. Phil

    I was thumbing through one of my Geoenengy mags last night and came across an article which was of interest. To me, anyway. The article was written in 2003 and summarised energy useage for heating in Sweden.

    The article reported that 40% of all heating energy demand was met by the use of ground source, or water sourced, heat pumps. Communal distance heating was the next largest provider, reaching just over 20% of the population. Air sourced heat pumps, such as used in NZ, accounted for 8% of heating supply. Presumably that was in the south. Finally, the use of fossil fuels to supply heating made up just 2% of the demand for the entire country.

    There was a little more written about the efficiency of the various systems. Ground and water sourced systems came out the best, giving a continuous year round COP efficiency factor of 4 for residential properties, and up to a COP of 7 for commercial properties. The difference between the two was due to commercial properties using multiple pipes, reducing the load on each loop.

    Of course the efficiency of any heating system is only going to be as good as the shell it’s trying to heat. And until we can adequately address the issue of sufficient insulation in pre 1978 homes, energy savings such as those mentioned in the report, and cheerfully endorsed by Stephen Fleming, will remain elusive for most.

    The Swedish report illustrated how easily one can reduce dependency on the volatile purchase of energy, by taking energy from an environment where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate, and placing it into an environment that can adequately contain and retain the energy. Sounds simple doesn’t it.

    There is also a spin off to NZ energy providers, who would be able to more accurately forecast energy demands, without having to worry about the uncertainty of weather. Stabilising prices. That’s a bit of a double edged sword for them, but if they are smart they would get into the supply and maintenance of the alternative energy systems. Because it’s coming, so they might as well be part of it.

  42. Phil: Horses for courses, Sweden’s design parameters are way more harsher than New Zealand’s, hence the low impact of air sourced heat pumps. However, I take your point about the constancy of ground or water sourced energy.

    Again, it comes down to capital cost, if one was to seek a large market. Retrofit is more adaptable using air sourced heat pumps.
    The principle is not new, it is just that the world has indulged itself by gorging on cheap oil for the last century thus inhibiting development of more efficient modes.

    This of course is all going to change, but in the meantime there will be a very uncomfortable hiatus right across the energy spectrum before alternatives come through to market. As long as the decisions are left in the hands of the bean counters and elected hacks don’t expect a rapid turn around.

    Nevertheless, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so expect all sorts of exciting developments in the energy related fields.

  43. James

    It’s not just the lack of retro-fitting that’s depressing, but the lack of any serious initiative to drive better construction of new dwellings. I know it’s a national past-time to whinge about red-tape, but we could have had double glazing and excellent insulation from the early 90s.

    I had the pleasure of living in a heavily over-insulated house that was constructed in 1991. It was extremely comfortable, had a pretty large open plan living area, and a 2KW oil heater was sufficient heating. My present living area, of approximately the same size has a 7.1KW heatpump that does not provide the same level of comfort*.

    Oh, and by heavily over-insulated, I of course mean approximately what might be required now (R4.0 ceiling, wall insulation, underfloor, and a double glazed living area). This wasn’t much extra expense in 1991, but it was considered crazy. And how many new houses have been built in that time?

    *I’ve done all the sensible retrofitting I can, but to fix the heat leak would require complete re-building of part of the space to modern building code standards.

  44. Phil

    I found that a significant difference between the NZ and many European building codes was that the European codes were largely performance based, rather than standards based. For example the NZ code might refer to a relevant NZ standard for the sizing of timber, whereas the European code would say “must be strong enough to resist xxx kN of force”. On the plus size it ensures that everyone involved in the process has to think and take responsibility, and must also have a pretty high skill level. On the negative side, it was bloody unhelpful if you were just trying to size up for a new bathroom window.

    I also found that there was a lot of design work left up to the building contractor, meaning that builders also had to have quite a high level of engineering knowledge. So you didn’t find many small operators. At least, that was my experience.

  45. James

    Sadly, it wasn’t just the building code. We had to sneak round in the evenings after the builders had gone home to make sure that the pink batts were snuggly fitted. I sincerely hope that that experience is not representative of the care with which builders don’t take when installing insulation.

  46. Phil

    I was shocked when I first read about those properties on Princes Street, some time back. A case of “demolition by neglect” appears to be the perfect crime for any developer in NZ with a bit of patience. Buy it and let it rot. Then you’ve got the full weight of the local council on your side when you want to knock it over. Surely there’s local body legislation planned to close such a glaring loophole ? If it’s not in place already. It sounds very much like what that Irish developer tried to do in Arrowtown with those historic houses a couple of years back. Even in the US, which are not noted for proactive preservation, they have nailed that door firmly shut in most states.

  47. David

    From the ODT “Mr Dirkzwager said yesterday he had done his homework on the building “from day one”, when the building was bought two years ago.”

    The developer obviously knew exactly what he was getting into – he says so himself.

    So he would have known “from day one” that there will be some expense in buying old buildings in the historic precinct.

    And if he wasn’t prepared to take the risk and pay that extra amount, he clearly would have bought elsewhere.

    So why is the DCC so quick to hop into bed with the developer and give him whatever he wants.

    But then that’s what they usually do – we’ve seen them break all sorts of rules in the past – district plan, their own policy, unauthorised people giving resource consents, hearing consents themselves when their own rules specifically disqualified them from doing so, etc – so should we expect anything else?

    Yet again – the council is throwing away what is good and unique about Dunedin. Destroying what makes us different and a good place to live.

  48. Phil

    If council is looking for a precedent of where an unsound structure of historic construction has been successfully restored and preserved, they need look no further than one of their very own recent projects. The Regent Theatre. The rear walls and, to a lesser extent, the Octagon facade, were in a serious state of decay. I believe that Council engaged the services of Hadley and Robinson ( who don’t drive trucks, by the way ), who were able to guide them through a very successful restoration phase of the exterior walls. The planner’s report reads of a certain amount of ignorance on the subject, strangely relying on the recommendations of a bulldozer driver.

    If council departments decided to talk to each other a bit more often, then the planning department would have an accurate idea of what was possible, and for how much. Based on actual completed work, and not on unqualified speculation. Information sharing seems to be a dirty word.

    I have little sympathy for the developer who has bought these properties with his eyes open. With the clear intention of making a profit. That’s fine, but sometimes you have to take responsibility for your decisions. And sometimes those decisions are poor. They don’t get to win every time by right.

    City Planning is really not going through a good public relations patch at the moment.

  49. Phil

    I know that Lloyd Reddington of Chas E George had provided a very good schedule of quantities for the Regent, and the final actual costs are still relatively current. So there exists the opportunity to refer back to actual work, rather than speculation. And I think ( THINK ) that it was Lou Robinson himself who oversaw the structural restoration work. On the large rear walls at least. I don’t recall the final figure, but it was somewhere around 200k. ish.

    Just because there’s a bit of work involved, doesn’t make things impossible.

    The fact that 2 local construction contractors are providing the expert testimony must surely be viewed with a degree of suspicion. Unless of course, they were to declare themselves unavailable, due to a conflict of interest, to carry out any practical work in the construction phase. But even then it’s second grade advice.

    I wonder, has Council sought their own engineering advice when evaluating the application ? Perhaps they have, in order to have a truely independant and informed stance.

  50. Is that the building with the Cafe Nectar in. Stunning work, should be held up as an example to everyone.

  51. David

    So the DCC planner believes it would cost $2.4m MORE to build a new building keeping the current facade, compared to building a new building without it.

    That begs just one question of the DCC planner

    It she being conned knowingly, or unknowingly?

    (just look at McDonalds or Westpac in George St to see how a facade can be kept)

  52. Stu

    Phil, Elizabeth,
    Your comments and characterisations with regard to Doug Hall are unworthy and insinuations of conflict of interest are baseless. I’ll get a summary of the report from him in the morning.

    The quality of construction of the properties in question at Princes St is nothing in comparison with the Clarion building/Bing Harris, nor even with the Commercial Hotel across the road in Stafford St. (I’ve worked in the basements, exterior and roofs of all properties).

  53. Richard


    It was the ‘southwest’ side wall of the Regent (on the r-o-w) that had deteriorated – water had penetrated through to the reinforcing. Such original rear ‘wall/s’ as existed were removed when the flytower was built.

    Former DCC Property Manager, Dave McKenzie should get some of the credit for that and for the restoration of the Regent Chambers (which is a separate building). He picked the right people to give him advice, persuaded council of what needed to be done and “drove it through”.

  54. Richard


    A Consent was granted following a PUBLIC HEARING some four/five years ago for the demolition of the Bank of Australasia and former Paterson & Barr buildings and their replacement with a carpark. I understand that consent was not given earlier effect to because of drawn-out negotiations with those who had an interest in the r-o-w that runs between the two buildings.

  55. Phil

    Stu, I don’t think that anyone is trying to undermine the credibility of Hall Brothers as experienced demolition contractors. They have a sound history in that field.

    However, I think the point was that having a demolition contractor, potentially with a commercial interest in the outcome, involved in a discussion about whether or not to demolish a building is about as objective as a sushi chef being involved in discussions on the future of whale hunting. It simply cannot be viewed without the potential for bias.

  56. Richard


    David is correct regarding the facade of the McDonald’s building. It was not – as far as I know – changed in any way except for the street level frontage which used to have two shops, one of which was Toomer’s Shoes. (John Toomer, who took over the ownership from his father, gave up retailing to successfully pursue his passion as a landscape painter).

  57. Richard

    The Crown Clothing Building – now Westpac. The history leading to the retention of the facade is rather interesting.

    It started with an application to demolish and construct a totally new (and I recall rather utilitarian) building within the height restrictions in the District Plan. The intention to demolish this landmark building and its proposed replacement did not impress either the council or the public.

    Offhand I cannot recall whether I was Mayor and/or Chair of the EDC (I think the latter) but I certainly was closely involved with Greg Campbell (then Economic Development Manager) and the City Architect in ways council could assist in persuading the retention. From that emerged an extension to the Rates Relief Incentive (which is effectively a discount on rates paid by the property owner and defers rating for the capital improvements until after they are completed).

    From that the concept of retaining the facade and constructing a new building behind it emerged and proved attractive to the developers who included – again, as I recall – John Farry and possibly Tony Clear in their early partnership days.

    And so it proceeded, not it has to be said without a lot of nervousness each time a southerly came up.

    This was, as far as I know, the first retention of a facade with a new building constructed behind in Dunedin. (The top floor is, by the way “blacked out” and cannot be used as there is no lift access).

    The reconstruction of the Farmers building followed the same pattern although there was not the same nervousness about that given the advancement in temporary strengthening techniques.

    The interesting thing that came out of it all though, is that retaining the facade of the CC/Westpac building and constructing a new building behind it proved to cost less than complete demolition and replacement.

    And, of course, the layout and construction of the new building met the requirements of its new tenant who could not have possibly been accommodated in the old building with all its small spaces and doubtful strength etc.

  58. Phil

    Not sure quite how this thread started, but it’s damned interesting. Learning more about the city every day.

    Completely off the current topic here. I watched a short programme yesterday on BBC about the current progress of the Olympic stadia in London. There is SOME concern at present that the current costs are now 7 billion pounds over the original budget, which was 2 billion pounds. Poor old Sebastian Coe looks like he’s aged 30 years in the last 3 years.

    So, there’s comfort in the knowledge that there’s always someone worse off than ourselves. We could be in London.

  59. Phil

    Those are excellent links, Elizabeth. It was very interesting to read that some of our smaller country cousins have included a simple clause in their District Plans that “all buildings shall be maintained in a safe and non-derelict state”. Monitoring of buildings in significant areas of the city would ensure that the shotgun wedding that we are faced with today would never come about.

    Developments need to happen, in order for a city to grow, but I believe that this loophole needs closed in order to reduce abuse of the system: “a developer may intentionally use demolition by neglect to circumvent regulation aimed at protecting historic properties. This occurs when owners or developers of heritage buildings allow them to deteriorate and then apply for resource consent to demolish on the grounds that it is too expensive to restore, or because they are dangerous or unsanitary in terms of what is regulated under the Building Act 2004.”

  60. Phil

    My understanding of a Building Warrant of Fitness is that it applies to fire protection systems only. And the periodical inspections are limited to those fire protection systems. Which makes the website description a little misleading. With a false sense of comfort and security. A building could be ready to collapse but, so long as the fire exits are clear and the emergency lights work, the building passes its BWOF. If a building is not required to have any active fire protection systems under the Building Code, then it does not need a BWOF. One of our public libraries, and I THINK that it’s Waikouaiti, is such a building.

  61. Phil

    It looks like, on the surface, that the horse may have bolted on this one. However, hopefully the Policy Planners can pick up on this loophole and amend the District Plan accordingly. To give building owners a duty of care to maintain a building to an acceptable level at all times. Looking at other local authorities, this seems relatively simple to enact. Monitoring and enforcement might be a more difficult bridge to cross, but at least it makes the intent clear.

    It could be argued perhaps that there already exists provision within the RMA to enforce this by including inaction, as well as action, when requiring that there be no adverse effects. Might be a bit thin.

  62. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Aug 2009
    Plan to demolish historic buildings slammed
    By David Loughrey
    Opponents of a proposal to demolish a series of protected historic buildings in Princes St roundly criticised the plan at a resource consent hearing yesterday. And new reports on the development put a new light on the possibility of saving them.
    Read more


    ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Aug 2009
    Hackles raised at hearing
    By David Loughrey
    A New Zealand Historic Places Trust submission to a resource consent hearing in Dunedin yesterday resulted in some terse exchanges, as Otago-Southland area manager Owen Graham raised the hackles of both the applicant and the hearings committee.
    Read more


    ### ODT Wed, 12 Aug 2009
    Letters to the editor
    Stick to the rules on heritage precinct
    By Hayden Cawte, Dunedin
    Over the past two years, I have purchased a number of heritage properties in the Princes St heritage precinct in full knowledge of the district plan rules and being well aware of the issues in maintaining and strengthening heritage buildings. I have made a commercial decision to do so because I feel that such intact precincts will become increasingly valued, as has been the case elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas.
    If the council effectively bails [applicant Luke Dirkzwager] out by allowing the demolition of these buildings, will the council also compensate me for the loss of cohesive heritage value that my buildings will suffer?

    Read more in the print and digital editions of the Otago Daily Times.

  63. Phil

    I’m so glad to see this application being debated at the hearing. I see it as a potential benchmark for future applications, so it’s good to see the questions being asked. I fail to see the relevance of cost comparisons between retaining and demolishing. That is the joys of being a property developer. Some days you get to take the easy road and make a whole heap of profit. Some days it’s a bit tougher. If there were guarantees then we’d all be doing it. It’s not the unquestionable right of a developer to avoid doing something, simply because something else is cheaper. It’s also not Council’s role to ensure maximum profits for a private enterprise.

  64. Phil

    I think those changes will come. I hope so. I would assume that’s part of the role for the new urban design team in Planning Policy department.

    I must say that I was a bit concerned to hear a senior council planner say that she only had one day to write the recommending report, and based it primarily on the developer’s information. I thought there were provisions within the RMA specifically to allow for more time if required. To ensure a complete and fully informed report to be tabled. I’m pretty sure that one can “stop the clock” and request more information. Maybe it was a misquote.

  65. Phil

    That’s an impressive list of pedigrees. Hopefully this group can fill the current void. I’m not sure if it’s the same Emma or not, but there was a transportation planner in council by the same name.

    Just as an interested side question, Elizabeth. Did the submitters receive all the new documentation related to the Princes Street consent application, including the Hadley & Robinson report, prior to the hearing date ?

  66. Phil

    Thanks for all the info, Elizabeth. Quite a lot to digest there.

    The reason why I wondered about the timing of the delivery of the reports is that I’ve noted a bit of a trend in recent times amongst local authorities, (and I’m not singling Dunedin out here) of local authority commissioned consultant reports not being received by applicants or submitters within the mandatory minimum 5 working day period prior to a hearing. This seems to be becoming more of the rule, rather than the exception.

    I’m not implying malicious intent, or anything like that, but it does have the potential to prejudice one party, and potentially slows up the hearing process. As you quite rightly pointed out, the council planner’s report would have been more complete, and everyone at the hearing would have been able to comment in confidence. Instead of having to decline or defer comments.

    Merely an observation.

  67. Phil

    The RMA is quite specific about that, and successful appeals on the grounds of process are never a good look. Probably something they really should tidy up within their planning departments. In the interests of fairness to everyone.

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