Super ward at Dunedin?

UPDATED

### ODT Online Tue, 8 Sep 2009
Councillors vote for Dunedin super ward
By David Loughrey

Dunedin looks set for a major change to its local government voting system, with the city council opting for a super ward that will mean the four wards taking in most of the urban area get dumped. Councillors foreshadowed what they said was an eventual move to a single unitary authority for the city, with a merged regional and city council.
Read more

### Channel 9 News Monday, September 7th, 2009
DCC votes to change the ward system

The Dunedin City Council voted this afternoon to change the ward system that will effect the 2010 Local Body elections.
Read more

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The Mayor recommended the change.

Does it help or hinder then, to know Michael Guest is already pitching fast and loose for the development of scenic sites around the city? (ODT Link)

He, the developer’s friend, obviously wants to stay on council. Should we give him the opportunity? Does he still want to be a mayoral contender?

These are the million dollar questions.

Yes, some development of scenic sites should happen but not at the mercy of shredding the central city further of its charm and vitality.

Increasingly, the main street is looking like (facadist) Dunedin disneyland.

More encroachments on our heritage city fabric are planned and in the wings, in the absence of a well-thought out master plan for the city.

Under Cr Guest’s watch as Chair of Planning and Environment we’re losing too much of value in the built environment – and the heritage strategy is turning out to be an unrequited farce.

Comments?

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### ODT Online Mon, 7 Sep 2009
Opinion: Buildings were expected to last
By Peter Entwisle

Do Victorian buildings have a use-by date conveniently just expired? It would be significant for Dunedin if they did. Some people are seriously asserting this.
Read more

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### ODT Online Thu, 10 Sep 2009
Opinion: City has no difficulty in ignoring its history

An awareness of history is the key to support for heritage buildings, Jo Galer of Dunedin, believes. The threat to a row of historic buildings in Princes Street shows how, despite the frequently regretted loss of so much of Dunedin’s early architecture, the lessons of our past keep being ignored.
Read more

– Jo Galer researched the story of the Stock Exchange Building for her BA (hons) dissertation in history at the University of Otago.

33 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Politics, Project management, Town planning

33 responses to “Super ward at Dunedin?

  1. meg55

    I would hate to live in Michael Guest’s Dunedin. It would be Disneyland alright, and not just the main street. A gondola to the top of Signal Hill with a restaurant at the top? Michael, why not reinstate a cable car up Stuart Street? Lots of people are enthusiastic about that idea, it would serve residents and tourists alike, AND there is already a thriving restaurant at the top.
    Meanwhile, just a little maintenance would improve the vantage points around the city. Has anyone been up Mt Cargill recently? The DOC walking tracks are superbly maintained. By contrast, the unsealed road is full of potholes – a real disgrace.
    First things first Michael. Sealing the road would be a good start. But then, perhaps there isn’t enough money in the kitty for that now.

    In the meantime, I’m all for a ward system that lets us vote in better councillors than we’ve got now.

    • Elizabeth

      Meg – a large group of people are enthusiastic about cable cars returning to High Street, due to Stuart St being a main feeder route with higher volumes of vehicle traffic.
      Roslyn has a number of café establishments now, within easy commute of the downtown area and hill suburbs. These businesses are on privately owned land.
      It appears that Cr Guest is thinking/mulling that areas of public reserves should be set aside for the council to act as developer or co-developer of built amenities… that may be leased out. Are his friends running out of cash or credit to buy their own development sites. Rhetorical.
      But seriously, a few principles at stake here and some leeway for a considered process of independently monitored and administrated public consultation to avoid considerable pitfalls and council recklessness.
      If the idea had come from someone else, not Cr Guest, know I would be less suspicious.

  2. Peter

    Which elements of the main street are considered ‘facadist Disneyland’? It seems quite a bold assertion when there’s been so little development on George or Princes Street in recent years — Wall St, the floorless wonder next to McDonalds?

    Personally I don’t have much difficulty with Guest’s comment as a precursor to debate. Wasn’t there a cable car mooted for Signal Hill a few years back? The idea of a restaurant at the top isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It might provide a nice contrast to boy racers doing donuts in the lookout carpark. Although I’m not that keen on gondolas, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown don’t seem to consider them gauche. Surely it’s all just a matter of putting options on the table.

  3. James

    Aren’t gondolas usually in place of roads? If only the powers that be at the time had let Treble Cone have a gondola instead of a road…
    It’s a shame this debate didn’t occur before the stadium.

    Peter — you missed Meridian, Farmers, and Westpac (the Knox corner one). And there’s not much of the original building left behind the Harris Shoes building either.

  4. Peter

    James: Farmers and Westpac you wouldn’t necessarily realise that the old George St facade was all that remained of the original structure; the Meridian is obvious athough I don’t regret the loss of the old Arthur Barnett’s department store – well maybe the old toy store and cafe up top — but it was the facade which was worthy of protection and it was saved. I’d consider all three of the above as pretty sensitive developments.

    Agreed about roads and gondolas. I think David proposed Mt Cargill as a gondola site, which would make more sense to me than Signal Hill given its relative height and road access. A gondola on Mt Cargill would also have less visual impact to my mind.

    • Elizabeth

      ### RNZ National Monday, 07 September 2009 17:56
      Checkpoint with Mary Wilson
      Micheal Moore to unveil ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’
      One of the most anticipated films of the Venice Film Festival is about to get its world premiere.
      Audio Link (duration: 2′27″)

  5. Whatever ventures are considered, gondolas or cable-cars or hilltop restaurants, they need to have a sound business plan and be funded by private-enterprise investors. Dunedin cannot afford any more projects like the Stadium or the Town Hall upgrade which need millions of dollars a year subsidies from ratepayers.
    The dismal financial reports on Buses released last week by the Regional Council are a lesson: spending has been allowed to run out of control so that fares only cover 35% of costs, well short of the 50% required for Government funding. Cuts in services and more fare increases seem inevitable.

  6. James

    Peter: It does depend a little on your vantage point. The view of the Meridian from my office is not at all flattering. Westpac is also very obvious, but because it’s still in the same building envelope, I wouldn’t describe it as ugly. Farmers seems to have retained a little more of the original building at the front.

    Mt Cargill would make slightly more sense for a gondola. The road is more extreme, and while I like the view from Signal Hill, the panorama from Mt Cargill is breath taking. I’d be worried about the wind on Mt Cargill though. It’s often surprisingly windy up there, and wind and gondolas don’t play nice. It would really have to leave off a bus route as well (perhaps from Normanby) to make it sufficiently accessible for tourists. Also, while I’m at it, the other issue about the council getting into business devs in those sort of places is that most restaurants with great locations are appalling crummy. The skyline in Queenstown, the boulders restaurant, some in the city that I can think of. And let’s not forget how underwhelming the Hermitage is, it has views to die for. In summary, I’d be worried about a restaurant somewhere like that because I think it would most likely suck.

  7. Stu

    Taking a leaf from Singapore: cable car from Logan Park to Signal Hill and across to Rotary Park would be an awesome ride…

  8. James

    I always thought some inter-suburb flying foxes would be awesome. Just pop across from Opoho to Pine or Maori Hill, Roslyn to Helensburgh…

  9. Richard

    Interesting comment, Alastair. There are lots of things that have what you call “ratepayer subsidies” …. libraries, museums, sportsfields, the purchase of Harbour Cone and ongoing operational costs, and the like. Libraries are by far and away the largest.

    So, why just pick two of those things we use as a community as against those that are directly related to property, i.e. water in/out.

    Fact is, no-one wants cuts or restraint on ‘their favourites’.

    But ratepayers should know the costs of maintaining or funding the various activities. Operational costs go directly on to rates.

    That is why the breakdown was printed on the reverse of this year’s Rates Assessment. It was an initiative taken by the Rates Funding WP on my suggestion.

    If you go down to the foot, there is also the line – Investment Income or Dividends. If you tot up the eight discretionaries from libraries down, you will find that the total is more than offset by that investment income unless you have a very low value property.

    Now I am not wanting to argue the pros and cons, simply make a point. It is what was intended when the former City Council in its last triennium (1986-89) looked at what might be done with the former Electricity Department if it was run on business lines.

  10. Richard

    How did we get on to this when the thread is about the (mis-named) Super Ward?

  11. David

    The Mt Cargill Gondola would start from the Tram terminus at Baldwin St. The tram would then travel along George and Princes Sts, Sth Dunedin and Victoria Rd to the St Clair Pier.

    That way the following places would be linked (or within two minutes walk) – Mt Cargill, Baldwin St, Botanic Gardens, George St Motels, Museum, University, Restaurants, Shops and Meridian Mall, DCC Civic Centre, Library, Visitor Info, Regent Theatre, Octagon Bars, Dunedin Centre, Town Hall, Art Gallery, Picture Theatres, Speights Brewery, Casino, Major Hotels, Historic Pubs, Auction Houses and Antique Shops, Mayfair Theatre, Supermarket and Warehouse, South Dunedin Shops, St Kilda Beach, Marlow Park and Steam Train, Ice Stadium, Tennis Courts, Rugby and Soccer Fields, Bowling Clubs, Middle Beach, Forbury Park, St Clair Cafes, Hot Salt Water Pool, Beach, and new St Clair Pier.

    • Elizabeth

      Like this idea best David – totally scenic, and since it takes commuter and tourist travel its more viable, therefore more attractive to private investors – and links well into all bus or shuttle routes developing…

      James, a destination and through-countryside stop that works is Riverside Kitchen 12km north of Oamaru on SH 1.
      http://www.riverstonekitchen.co.nz/
      A REAL CHEF makes the difference here – Bevan Smith.

      There’s always the dependable Fleurs Place (as opposed to the boulders outfit) at Moeraki.

      So what do we do with REAL FOOD at Dunedin destinations…in future…
      Local establishments pretty ho hum.

      Richard – this thread has been fun, What if? threads always a bit of a journey… I surmised in the post that Cr Guest was starting to make his run for election in the new super ward by announcing his (???) (or his developer friends’) ideas for council development at scenic locations… think-big (??) gookie stuff that he isn’t good for, tra la.

      Which is to say where’s the DCC + Community’s master plan for the city? Or under Cr Guest do we get more ad hoc development like the stadium. OOPS. The stadium was DCC’s biggest gift to the University of Otago* wasn’t it, can that be ad hoc? No wonder the Vice Chancellor, bless him, has not once been equivocal about the stadium in public.

      *RWC 2011 was just the slap of a wet bus ticket on the way.

  12. David

    Elizabeth – you hit the nail on the head – it would be a dual purpose commuter and tourist tram. (like Melbourne’s Circle Tram)

    It’s a pretty simple route but it takes in pretty much everything in the city. With a five minute walk you can add the Railway Station, Taieri Gorge Train, Settlers Museum and Chinese Garden.

    It means Dunedin could be a weekend destination and people wouldn’t need a rental car. Fly in, fly out, and one tram can take you to pretty much everywhere in the city without having to decode the myriad of bus routes and timetables.

  13. James

    Hi Elizabeth — your counter examples actually prove the point I was trying to make. Eateries that have naturally high traffic can at the very least rest on their laurels. The boulders are always going to have people coming in and out, but Fleurs has to draw people in. Ditto Riverstone (I’ve yet to visit, but have heard good things). Similarly, rather than bag specific places in Dunedin, I’d highlight Plato as somewhere that has to draw its customers in with excellence. People don’t wander that way and stumble upon it as a restaurant. It isn’t universally true, but a lot of my favourite places are just round the corner from places with a much more favourable location that can just coast on the foot traffic.

    • Elizabeth

      Absolutely James. Multiple award-winning Plato is up there. And yes to quality and excellence in these kind of establishments…as much as getting greater excellence and freshness into the tiers of eateries below these (my dream following on from getting some of the farmers market kitchens/producers up to speed off site in new production and retail supply ventures). We can do great food here, if we re-educate and think “business”, even for a sandwich.

  14. Richard

    The loop tram route has been discussed many times. I have always been a keen supporter of it. Murray Douglas and I almost got something going when I was Mayor but there are physical challenges. So I don’t need any convincing.

    Do you any of you see it as part of the public transport system as well as tourist attraction?

    If so, would it have to run from (say) South Dunedin to The Gardens etc?

    Do any of you think students would use it? They mostly seem to walk the centre of town, leaving their cars parked “at home”.

    Locals in Christchurch do not really use their loop tram despite a huge fare concession. Too slow, apparently. So it is a tourist thing linking their attractions. And every time I see one of those Dunedin trams trundling along, I have to grit my teeth.

    PS: yes, Elizabeth, tongue-in-cheek. I enjoy this sort of discussion! Much more fruitful than a bloody argument!

    • Elizabeth

      I think people have to stop seeing “trams” and “cable cars” in the historical sense – we should be looking at new forms that are energy efficient and provide mobility access, ie re-engineered, restyled and convenient. That all comes with changes of thinking about public and personal transport, and parking…a harder road. When we looked at the High Street cable car we also looked at the ability for the downhill trip to provide the energy generation for the uphill trip – achievable. Thus any hill route should take “cable cars” (new engineering) that work on this principle. Gondolas are another story but this has been researched also in light of the proposal for one in Fiordland National Park, and the one consented for access to Treble Cone ($20 million plus).
      The whole point is any mass transit form on a city loop has to be fully integrated with all transportation planning to succeed. And public thinking has to advance a gear or three on energy efficiency.

  15. David

    Richard – People in Christchurch don’t use their tram because it doesn’t go anywhere – it only goes about three blocks in any one direction, so it doesn’t have much value as a commuter tram.

    The Baldwin, George Princes St, Sth Dunedin, Forbury Rd, St Clair Route would be much more useful for locals.

    For example, if you are at one extreme end of the Chch tram, and your destination is the other extreme end, you can go a maximum of about 900m – just over a 10 min walk (probably shorter than the waiting time for the tram)

    Compare that to –
    Baldwin St to the Octagon – 4km – nearly an hour’s walk (Gardens to Octagon 2km)
    Sth Dunedin to Octagon – nearly 3km – 45min walk.
    Octagon to St Clair – 6km – 1hr 30 min walk.
    Sth Dunedin to St Clair – over 3km – 45min walk
    (using a 4km / hr stroll).

    Or 10km from one end to the other.

    The Dunedin Tram would be more comparable to the Melbourne Circle tram (which is free) which has a mix of commuter and tourist passengers.

    And if it had the new St Clair Pier, Salt Water Pool, and all the new St Clair cafés, bars and health spas at one end …and the Gardens, World’s Steepest St, and Mt Cargill Gondola at the other end, then everything would feed off it.

  16. meg55

    Agree David, except I have another vision for the St Clair end. I can’t see the point of a pier. The New Brighton pier is a dismal place. And we have a much more important infrastructural issue to sort out – the erosion at Middle Beach. It will take decisive and bold planning and a ‘please-everybody’ solution is just not going to be possible.

    Personally I don’t think ‘managed retreat’ is an option when you’re talking about a long-standing built up area like South Dunedin, and I doubt natural solutions like sand replenishment and planting would work in the long term. At the same time I can’t believe a sea wall can’t be made to work. It has worked for nearly 100 years at St Clair, with one major revamp. It would be expensive, but all the options are expensive.

    To cut to the chase – my pipe dream: a sea wall extending to Middle Beach, with the Marlow Park steam train running along the top. Okay, so someone shoot me down and tell me about salt corrosion etc. But it would be nice. Not natural, but nice, and a sure fire people magnet.

  17. James

    I’d also like to vote for not historical trams and cable cars. Don’t get me wrong, I love the old stuff, but we need to move away from gimmickry. The San Francisco cable cars just seem like a depressing tourist gimmick, but it’s great to see a city with a well functioning trolley system.

    I also think that modern infrastructure in a historic precinct can work. I don’t think the great modern tram system in Bordeaux detracts from its world heritage status. They’re quiet and fast, and have a low chime that they use to beep people because the tram itself is pretty quiet. There’s a video here. I think the camera’s microphone is over-representing the amount of noise. Having no overhead wires in the city centre is also very cool

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks James – this looks so great… is where my heart lies. Who wouldn’t use this kind of system? And right out to David’s pier at St Clair. Bring it on. Hello Hillside Workshops.

  18. Peter

    Yes, I vote for a modern tram system with maybe one ‘tourist/heritage’ cable car. Trams and cable cars make so much more sense than buses operating in Dunedin’s winter ice and occasional snow.

    • Elizabeth

      Feasibility for High Street (to include a new ‘tram shed’ development at Mornington), in brainstorming with Design Studies staff, included how historic trams and cable cars could take new running gear to work the same “lines” as contemporary forms, giving the option as Peter says of an historic ride with or without guided commentary (audio, audiovisual or people guides) to scheduled daily runs and as required by special advance bookings.

  19. David

    I disagree James – lets mix in historic gimmickry with actual historic buildings..

    I love the atmosphere of Arrowtown, even if half the old buildings are actually new.

    I love the people dressed in period costume in Oamaru, even though they weren’t really born in the 1840s.

    Similarly it’s the old style tram that is an attraction in Christchurch. And in Melbourne when you often have the choice of new or old, people want to go on the old one. The old restaurant tram in Melbourne is often booked out for months in advance.

    Though that doesn’t mean it can’t be an old style tram with modern efficient running gear.

    Heritage is a very valuable selling point for Dunedin. It would be a blown opportunity not to add to this reputation given the chance.

  20. David

    Problem with a modern tram is there are probably no advantages – only disadvantages – over a modern bus.

    I think the main point of having a tram would be that it is a tourist attraction.

    If it is only for transport, then is is probably way more efficient to use buses.

    • Elizabeth

      There’s a heap of papers and reports available from different countries on the advantages of modern trams over buses…this isn’t to say the following represent the best of them in any way, they’re just an indication.

      news release 5 April 2005

      Click to access gov_advice_apr05.pdf

      Government Advice on Light Rail and Modern Trams Welcomed

      tie limited (tie)* welcomes the findings of the Transport Select Committee report issued by the House of Commons this week. The report issued by the Transport Select Committee, entitled “Integrated Transport: The Future of Light Rail and Modern Trams in the United Kingdom”, was positive in a number of areas.

      *tie limited is an arms-length company set up by City of Edinburgh Council to deliver transport infrastructure projects within ‘Transport Edinburgh’.

      ****

      Click to access dd054.pdf


      LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT ASSOCIATION Discussion Document 54 January 2008

      “MODERN STREET CARS ARE MORE EFFICIENT THAN BUSES” (1)

      A new world-wide attitude towards the humble tram is gaining support at a rate probably in excess of that seen at the early part of the 20th century.

  21. James

    The Wellington funicular (NOT a cable car) would be another good example of something modern that just works, although I guess the bodywork is a little on the retro side.

    I could wear a couple of heritage looking trams on modern running gear, but I think we really need to go for dual purpose, and something more practical than Christchurch’s tram, or San Francisco’s cable cars. Despite the opportunity, I’ve ridden neither, and yet I generally love things that roll on tracks. In fact, the coming couple of weeks will be tram, funicular, cog railway and train heaven :)

  22. James

    I think the real clear advantage that trams do have over buses is that I think they mix better with pedestrian zones. It must be something to do with the physicality of the rails. It means that people have a constant visual reminder of the shared use of the space, but also have certainty about the boundaries of that. I can think of numerous examples in Europe of trams travelling through pedestrian spaces, but none of buses.

  23. David

    Elizabeth, while trams may have some benefits in high populations cities with high densities, it is much more difficult for a low population city with low density to make them efficient.

    They have a lot of drawbacks compared to buses –
    – if one breaks down, the whole lot eventually come to a standstill
    – they cost much more (as your link states)
    – tracks have to be laid down, workshops built etc.
    – they lose on efficiencies like travelling on other routes, doing charters, school trips etc

    We can now get very efficient hybrid buses (built here in the South Is), so I think a modern tram system would have trouble being as efficient as a bus service in a place like Dunedin.

    Where the value lies, is in a heritage tram being a tourism asset.

    Dunedins two main drawcards are heritage and wildlife. If we did a tram that wasn’t a heritage tram, we’d be missing the primary advantage of having it.

    We need assets that will bring money INTO the city. The new stadium won’t do that because it doesn’t hold any more people than Carisbrook, and from a comparative point of view we’re starting off $10m worse off than we were, every year (so it needs an unlikely two additional test matches every year bringing in an additional 2x $5m per year just to get back to where we were with Carisbrook)

  24. Elizabeth

    Back to the subject of the thread:

    ### ODT Online Sat, 24 Oct 2009
    12 appeal ward change
    By David Loughrey

    The Local Government Commission will make a final decision on the future of Dunedin’s voting system, after a plan to dump inner-city wards attracted 12 appeals.
    Read more

    Those appealing are: J. A. Enright; Linda Hamill; Ian Church; Leonie Rousselot; Cyril Childs and Christine Thomson; Brian Miller; Rod and Pam Mason; John Neilson; Doug Jackson; Geraldine Tait; Howard Adams; Shaun Scott.

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