The Chronicles of Yarnia

With apologies to CS Lewis, the thread formerly known as “What else! Future options for Dunedin include…”.

Or, How We Ascend/Descend (Your Choice) Into Mud And Cloud Data, Again.

In the (slight but positive) delay to launch, the multi-author blog Paul is working to develop, I’m starting this new thread – it’s a BRAINSTORMER looking-forward place for your ideas and comments.

What if? threads will flow into the new so nothing’s lost. Time to ‘generate’. I’ve copied over comments received at High Street Cable Car to start things off. Away we go.

Peter November 25, 2009 at 11:22 am

Is the High St cable car option the only other one available if the upper Stuart St option is not viable? Isn’t it possible to run a rail car of some description – somewhere flat – like up to the North End, past the uni and Botanical Gardens to, say, the bottom of Baldwin St or out to South Dunedin / St Clair? It strikes me that the cost of going uphill makes the project more prohibitive because of health and safety issues and engineering difficulties. I’m no expert or authority on this. Just a curious citizen.
Whatever happens we need a railcar system that is practical and cheap for both city commuters and tourists. The Christchurch tram system is expensive to run, and to buy tickets for, and just seems to do a little meander around a relatively small area for the tourists. You may as well walk. There’s something kind of fake about it too.
For those real visionaries who are promoting this project – as opposed to the ’stadium visionaries’ – I don’t fancy the chances of anything happening soon or at least for many many years. (We know why, don’t we). I wouldn’t feel encouraged, but nevertheless good on them for persisting. Call me cynical, but the council’s response seems a nice way for gently letting people down and not completely dashing their hopes. If I was a cunning politician I would give such a sop to a sincere and dedicated group who are seen to be promoting something that is beneficial for ALL the people of Dunedin. The city kitty, unfortunately, has already been plundered – and the council knows it.


Phil [Cole] November 25, 2009 at 8:57 pm

I have to agree with you there, Peter. I think the idea of a cable car or tram system is great. And I congratulate Richard and the team for their work to date. Bill Campbell must be as pleased as. I’m not convinced about the route, however. Ok, it’s historical. So maybe it will mean something to the people who live in the area. But is that the target audience? No, I don’t think it is. The market, if not for commuters, is the tourist market. And the history of a tram route means absolutely nothing to them. I just wonder, when they get to the top of High Street, what are they going to do? What are they going to spend their tourist dollars on during the 24 hours they have in Dunedin, when they are spending 2 or 3 of those hours in Mornington? And, to be fair, the view on the way up is not going to make it onto a lot of video cameras to show back home.

Brilliant idea, and I don’t want this to appear as a brickbat. I do question that we have the best location for the market we’re hoping to attract. Stuart Street would have been ideal, down to the Railway Station, through the CBD, or a route to the beach. But no one will get past Don I suspect.

Elizabeth November 25, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I diverged off the Dunedin Cable Car organising group before it formed the charitable trust to do further investigation. A very nice group all up.

I hesitated at the time to take on another trusteeship due to workload and priorities – but also, as discussed with the group members, I’m interested in contemporary forms of transit, design and engineering, mobility access (the accessible journey) – and yes, BEST future market(s)… they being on the “flat”, and via route(s) looped, as I see it.

I can’t live in museums. San Francisco is a great experience. Christchurch trams are not. What can Dunedin do differently with new forms of public transport into the future, utilising the city’s great engineering base!!?? Remains one of my deepest interests.

Richard November 26, 2009 at 8:22 am

Now that’s the line of thinking, I applaud. One in which I am trysting with ‘Pukeko’ at ODT Online. His interest is an aviation musuem on lines (planes?) that have little connection with Dunedin.

I’ll come back and develop my thoughts on cable cars, trams et al when I get some time. The sort of things that form part of what Dr. Rodney Wilson sees as making Dunedin “a heritage city”.

“Big thinking does not happen in small spaces.”

We need a new thread, EK?

Calvin Oaten November 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

I can’t believe that anyone genuinely thinks that a cable car would fit into the modern transport modes of this city. On the basis of economics, the hopeless task of integration and so called novelty factor, it wouldn’t get past first base. Move on, get over it. Look to the future, not the past. Think outside the square, and outside current traffic ways. For a similar amount of expenditure a gondola from Bethunes Gully up to Mount Cargill would give an experience to die for. The trip would be memorable, the views from the top are 180 degrees, and the overview of Dunedin total. Take a trip up by road and see if I am not right. But hey! don’t forget, the stadium has put paid to any of these dreams.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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65 responses to “The Chronicles of Yarnia

  1. Elizabeth

    How are we using design and innovation to improve ‘wayfinding’ across greater Dunedin…this is a larger thought than the news item, but it all helps the development of ‘place’ and ‘identity’.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 26 Nov 2009
    Street names should depict city history
    By Chris Morris
    Street names that better reflect Dunedin’s history could soon be popping up in new developments around the city. Dunedin City Council staff are working on a new policy that would provide guidelines to developers planning to name new streets within subdivisions and other projects.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      See Richard’s comment posted at ODT Online last evening, prior to the editorial appearing.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 25/11/2009 – 6:09pm.
      Comment by Richard on On the rails?
      I welcome this kind of thinking on a subject that has been ‘tossed around’ for many years. Probably as tough a challenge as restoring a cable car line but possibly the ultimate ‘people mover’ within the city centre. Unfortunately the Christchurch experience suggests few locals would use it but hey, this is Dunedin and we have different geographic characteristics and residential focii.
      Read more

      ### ODT Online Thu, 26 Nov 2009
      Editorial: Cable cars (again)
      Various proposals to reintroduce cable cars to Dunedin’s hill streets have been floated over the decades since services were discontinued, and some have been taken as far as feasibility studies. All have foundered on the rock of costs.
      Read more


      What is the “ultimate people mover” (singular) for Dunedin?

      Industrial designer and educator Andrew Wallace at University of Otago’s Design Studies has his own ideas. My comment at Buses in Dunedin CBD picks up on these, highlighted in a recent Channel 9 interview.

      Is there a complementary multi-solution answer?

  2. Peter B

    Does anyone know what the Extraordinary Council Meeting on 30 November is about? The DCC website states it’s to consider the non-public decision of the Finance and Strategy Committee…

  3. Richard

    It is in regard to the status of Dunedin as a Fair Trade City. That is it!

  4. Richard

    Peter: why sign off an interesting piece with the comments you do simply because you oppose the stadium?

    It makes it sound as if you are one who feels Dunedin should lock itself up as “a museum of modern plumbing” and expensive plumbing at that!

    If we sit around and wait for opportunities instead of creating them and then taking the ones we want, then nothing will happen!

  5. Richard

    Not sure what you mean by the “museum of modern plumbing comment”, “nor sitting around waiting for opportunities instead of creating them”, but never mind. No-one in their right mind would want nothing to happen in this city as far as new opportunities are concerned. The point I’m making, in relation to the stadium, is that OTHER opportunities are precluded when a massive $200m plus capital expenditure item, like the stadium, is thrown into the mix. We simply can’t add yet more capital items onto the tab when we are already so much into debt as a city. Are you saying this is not a valid concern? Are you saying just spend more money, regardless, on other new capital projects? Without the stadium we would have had less debt, but still might be able to squeeze some funding into lower cost/high impact projects that make us feel great about Dunedin knowing that things are still happening here. Too late now of course. ‘Small is Beautiful’ as they say. The proponents of the stadium have fallen into the trap of believing that a big stadium has the ‘wow factor’ (to use Crs Bill Acklin’s and Michael Guest’s phrase) that will bring salvation to Dunedin. Very, very old thinking, I say. Richard, unfortunately a majority (not all) on the council have bought this line. Does this answer your question? I hope so as I’m afraid the stadium is now seen by many (not just me!) as the dark backdrop when other council initiatives fail to see the light of day – despite their worthiness. That’s why people continue to be so disgusted about the stadium and are not suddenly prepared to ‘just get over it’. Though I can understand why you and your colleagues, who voted for the stadium, would want them to do so. The cliche of ‘just moving on’ seems an easy route for those who want no accountability for their decision come the next election. It’s not that the council was unaware of the depth and breadth of opposition to the stadium that clearly has not had community ‘buy in’.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Nov 2009
      Prison ‘terrific asset’ to Dunedin
      By Sarah Harvey
      Dunedin has the beginnings of an outstanding historic precinct and the former Dunedin prison, if developed correctly, would be a fantastic addition, English heritage adviser Sir Neil Cossons says.
      New Zealand Historic Places Trust Otago-Southland area manager Owen Graham said a consultant would visit the building next week and assess which items were of historic value, before reporting back to the Crown.
      Read more

  6. Richard

    Peter, I am certainly not “saying just spend more money, regardless, on other new capital projects”!

    It is also conjectural for you to say “Without the stadium we would have had less debt”. Maybe. In any case, the stadium is certainly not adding $200 million to that, just over half. Nor is the stadium driving borrowing – or rates – in the years ahead, but infrastructure.

    The stadium (Carisbrook or what is now FB Stadium) was but one part of the mix of opportunities considered when it first came up some four/five years ago. A major part.

    As far as I know, no-one can point to any ‘opportunities’ that were ‘missed’ or which have failed to be fitted in as each Annual/Community Plan rolls along. That’s the nature of dynamics although I would hardly bestow that approbation on such documents!

    I exclude from that, of course, plenty of ‘pet projects’ out there such as another aviation/transport museum being espoused with enthusiasm by ‘Pukeko’ on ODT Online. In my view, another museum that simply duplicates what is elsewhere in NZ would not add to the uniqueness of Dunedin at all! But I admire the enthusiasm of ‘Pukeko’ and the personal commitment he gives to his interests such as TGR.

    When it comes to how the stadium project evolved, it continues to rather astonish me that the debate never returned to focus on where it actually started, i.e. the need for Dunedin to have a major outdoor sporting stadium, one that is essentially owned by the community.

    As I said in 2004, not to have one would be “unthinkable” for a city of our status and size.

    The turbulent history of it from there and why their recommendations of the original Carisbrook Working Party did not progress as intended has been documented here previously.

    Suffice to say, “one opportunity knocked” and was turned away by apathy, the anti-rugby/anti-sport lot and those who assumed (incorrectly) that Carisbrook would continue as it had been for decades. Then another came beckoning …. one that took me by surprise as much as it did my council colleagues …. and the rest, as they say, is “history”.

    With, it has to be said, “a lot more community buy-in” than is realised simply because that comes from those who are more quietly spoken.

    It may be hard to believe, but I cannot think of any elected member of the council for whom FB was ‘a pet project’. Not one. Some have certainly been enthusiastic in their support for it, others less so, while some have been opposed for different reasons. For myself, I took a lot of convincing. Not on the need for a stadium, that was a given, but on the financials and viability of what is now being built. That resolved, I gave it my support. Nothing has changed in that regard.

    The ‘opportunities’ the stadium offers to cater for a whole range of activities are starting to emerge. Some even surprise me. Its significance and potential in terms of the university, its physical location alongside (or as part of) the campus and Logan Park has clearly been under estimated, while excellence and technology in sport is rapidly developing as an ‘industry’ in its own right and also with huge potential as a prime user of a covered sports facility.

    So, let’s get on with things.

    Let’s toss around the ideas of what we think this city should look like in 20-50 years.

    The new site beckons for such discussions!

  7. Richard, a grand appraisal of where you stand on all things great and small in regards to the city. However, I think the point Peter was making – and you were overlooking – is that the Stadium plus the Town Hall/Conference Centre projects have committed the city to such a level of debt that there is no leeway for funding anything much else for as far as the eye can see into the future. This is clearly shown in the LTCCP and it is conceded that the prudential levels of interest to revenue will be exceeded for several years forward. The other points of course are that if each of these projects don’t meet their incredibly optimistic revenue projections then the city will be further burdened in perpetuity. Would you, Richard be prepared to state categorically that these venues will stand fully serviced by their own revenues? Because if not, then how can you in all conscience say that council has done the right thing here?

  8. Richard

    A few points in response.

    1. The debt is not conjectural. Money to fund such a project does not come out of thin air. It is either saved or borrowed. As we know the money for the stadium is borrowed to pay capital and interest. Only about 25% of funding is private – if it all eventuates. The rest is public, including the DCC’s whack. Remember the DCC carries all risk with cost blowouts or private funding withdrawals.

    2. Infrastructure is certainly a component for city debt but, logically, why add to it in a major and unnecessary way especially with the risks involved?

    3. Opportunities missed in the LTCCP. Proposed projects can still be there, in print, but it is possible to shove them down the list each year. Isn’t that the case? Witness, for example, the South Dunedin library or the development of cycleways in the city. I imagine, with the former, that option will close if the library is moved to the old CPO. Why have two libraries so close to each other? Anything like a cable car/tram system, I imagine, will share the same fate as we prioritise for the stadium and the town hall upgrade.

    4. I can’t imagine why not having a new stadium was ‘unthinkable’ for a city of our size and status. Just because other cities play the new stadium game, do we have to do the same? We have a stadium. The NZRFU/ORFU continues to play games at the ‘old’ Carisbrook when needed – or wanted. It only takes a decision to do so. Carisbrook has had millions spent on it since I moved here sixteen years ago. It is not a dump. Talk of it being so is BS. We are just repeating the mistakes, made elsewhere, with building a new stadium for a game that is losing its mana in NZ.

    5. The ‘opportunities’ for the new stadium- ie its so called ‘multi-purpose’ dimension – has surely been exhausted, and ridiculed, by evidence to the contrary. The university’s role has been overstated in terms of their financial input. They are building their own place for their research etc next door. Have Helen Clark and John Key been hoodwinked by the university’s role? For legitimacy reasons? Key said last week that it will be great for the university’s (and Dunedin’s) growth. Aren’t they cutting tertiary funding? Isn’t that why Prof Skegg ($500,000 pa salary) is calling for interest on student loans to be re-introduced so they can get back to ‘bums on seats’ funding? For growth. How much bigger can the university get anyhow? Is it desirable for it to just keep growing ad infinitum?

    6. Your ‘quietly spoken’ supporters comment. I gather you mean the so called ‘silent majority’. No evidence of them in the university survey, on the streets, in the town hall, submissions to the LTCCP. How about Our Stadium? Where did they go?

  9. Richard

    Well, there you go Peter. You say it all with the comment: ‘that you only moved here sixteen years ago’ and your sneering comments about Professor Skegg.

    Well, at a guess, he would have contributed more to Dunedin – substantially so – than anyone who relies on being landlord of property which does not contribute one productive dollar to our economy. True or false?

  10. Richard

    For goodness sake, Calvin. You are not Moses. Pine Hill is not your personal mountain! How patronising.

    Last week, the Hearings Committee of the DCC heard IN EVIDENCE from an applicant of how he “loves Dunedin despite the negativity of (you)” … and others. I was quite stunned given the circumstances!

    Tonight, I have just come from a most warming and stimulating function that has launched the Regent Theatre Redevelopment Appeal. The Regent today is a well-loved icon – just as the Town Hall et al is simply because the community has made it tick. That was not the case 40 years ago!

    For goodness sake, Calvin. You are not Moses. Pine Hill is not your personal mountain!

    Talk with your kids – and with your grandkids.

    It is the future of their – our city we are, or should be discussing.

    And debt is a discipline. That discipline involves making choices. Well informed choices. Simple as that.

    Can I invite you to rejoin be part of our wonderful contributive and supportive community?

    One that can constructively debates, agrees or disagrees but when resolution is reached, gets on with life no matter what our opinions and the setbacks we may have dealt with in our personal lives.

  11. Richard

    Typical of yourself, you get personal when you know you can’t present a reasonable argument. I notice you don’t bother to respond to my points above.

    Your response to Calvin was incoherent and equally personal and unpleasant.

    • Elizabeth

      Luckily, not much gets in the way of a good idea. And things aren’t all funded by councils. Dunedin people are pretty generous in terms of their time and energy, and those who can, with funding contributions. I got news the other night that things are going very well with the Larnach Tomb restoration fund, for example. It’s that darned Stewart Harvey again, the Chair of the Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust (NZ) – one of my heros for the hard work he does, utmost dedication, terrifying practicality, and superb business skills and connections.
      There are lots of other amazing people living in Dunedin who give their all back to their community – we know this!

  12. Richard,
    you are absolutely right, I am not Moses. Nor are you the Messiah, although sometimes one wonders. No, Pine Hill is not my personal mountain. I don’t actually have any mountains at all. What I do have is extreme difficulty in getting you to answer any questions. I asked you if you could categorically state that the Stadium and the Town Hall/Conference Centre would generate sufficient revenue to cover their costs. You don’t deign to reply. Is it because you know the answer would be in the negative?
    I was pleased to know that you were at a function to launch the Regent redevelopment appeal. You say that the Regent is a well loved icon, not like 40 years ago. I remember well 40 years ago as a member of the Dunedin South Round Table, fellow members Doug Lovell and Charlie Campbell imploring us to implement a ‘Save the Regent’ campaign. A great deal of fundraising and lobbying went on and the result was the Regent was saved. You would remember the fundraising ‘radiothon’ in conjunction with 4X0, organised by our ‘Table’. You came in and donated some sets of ‘Myers Rum’ Planters Punch glasses. I purchased a set, and still have three survivors. A bit of useless information Richard, but do not accuse me of being negative on Dunedin. Because some nameless person stuns you and complains of me to a council meeting is of no great moment, unless I know more of his unease. If I see things going down in this town which I happen to believe is counter to the interests of Dunedin and its citizens, I consider it a duty to draw it to the attention of those citizens. Perhaps the person you quote sees things differentially, in which case I would like to know more of his objections and perhaps have a talk with him. To simply say that if council by resolution commits to creating debt in large tranches for projects which are very selective in terms of benefits to the citizens at large, that we should just accept it and move on, is an incredibly autocratic attitude. Let’s face it, council has not been blessed with some sort of ‘papal infallibility’. It has shown itself in recent times to be anything but infallible. There have been more cock ups than Pearl Harbour.

  13. Richard

    I agree with you Elizabeth. Totally!

    I am pleased that Calvin still has some of his Myers’s Rum glasses from the Regent Radio Appeal. Not that I just dropped them in though. As Chairman of the Appeal, I was there all day, and most of that time “on air”. The glasses were probably one of the items auctioned.

    The answers to Calvin’s question/s regarding the Town/Hall and Dunedin Centre, have been stated several times by those “in charge” of the project.

    The simple answer – as Calvin well knows – is NO. There will always be a rates funded component of what is essentially a community asset.

    Which all rather underlines my point.

  14. Richard

    Peter: Oh so your letter in ‘D-Scene’ several months ago and your several posts on here did not “dish” the personal? Seems the truth hits home!

  15. Richard


    So what is the point of your “few points in response”? Some – if not all of them – are contestable, some are the classic “own facts”, some personal opinion. No problem with the latter, none at all! But why relitigate them now?

    Why take the opportunity to throw a few sneaky wee jabs into the mix e.g. at the university VC, because he has a different view to you.

    Suffice to say that you concede – without saying so and possibly realising it – my point in regard to Carisbrook.

    You assume – wrongly – that things would have continued as they were. Nor was there any “WE” as in “We have a stadium”.

  16. Richard

    If my points are contestable, feel free to debate them. Please don’t argue, instead, with putdowns of people. My D Scene letter was on exactly the same point where I criticise you for bringing your own irritation to those who disagree with you. This same irritation is what we have just witnessed here. People are entitled to tell you off when you veer into personal invective. Your own sneer about Pine Hill is disgraceful and typical of the kind of snobbery by those on the cocktail circuit. If you take that as ‘personal’, so be it.

    You keep going on about ‘own facts’ – whatever that means. People know the difference between facts and opinions.

    My comment about Prof Skegg’s salary as reported in the ODT was merely to illustrate the point that suggesting interest on students loans be reintroduced was hardly reasonable and indeed insensitive, given his own privileged position. The same point has been made, publicly, by letters to the editor by Harry Love, a tutor at the uni and Clare Curran, Labour MP for Dunedin South. This is not to say he hasn’t made a very positive contribution to Dunedin through his academic roles. He has.

  17. Richard, thanks for acknowledging that “there will always be a rates funded component of what are essentially community assets”. So, may I repeat Kate Styles comments in the September ‘City Talk’. “The business case showed clearly that conferences and events “will” bring in the revenue that “will” support the performance and community side of the venue.” She of course, refuses, despite repeated requests, to divulge what that business plan is. Richard, you can see why I and many others are somewhat perplexed by what we are told, as opposed to what we observe and deduce. perhaps you should clarify with Mrs Styles exactly what she means before she departs, never to darken our doorstep again. Or, on second thoughts, just tell us directly what you know of the business plans both for the Town Hall/Conference Centre and the Stadium. It would be enlightening to know.

  18. I think Richard should be able to help you, Calvin. He is, after all, the chairman of the Finance and Strategy committee.

  19. Richard

    I am sorry, Peter. How careless of me to not remember that you and Calvin lack a sense of humour. Especially given that the sight of you all with grim faces, sitting together in a row at the recent ACT seminar, is a very recent memory!

    And now, here you and Calvin are playing “tag team”!! Folks, believe it. They are experts.

    Despite your 16 years in Dunedin Peter, you obviously do not know ‘Pine Hill’ very well, or the areas within it. Even the streets. There is one called ‘Hillary’. Calvin knows it very well. Sir Ed among many other achievements climbed a mountain. Calvin …. mountain … get it?

    As for the ‘cocktail circuit’. I did not know there was one, anywhere in Dunedin these days. But Pine Hill does have ‘drinkies’ from time to time and I have been hosted in several homes in the suburb over the years. How else could Calvin have only 3 Myers’s Rum glasses left out of a set of six!

    I do not mind that you find me irritating. You have used that description (overused it, perhaps) since the day you proudly informed council at a public forum that you had just paid your rates in cash minus the stadium levy and I pointed out (‘tongue-in-cheek’), that you had miscalculated the amount!

    Oh well!

    I am not really interested in ‘action replays’ about the stadium. Or your feuds with Fliss, Elizabeth, Meg and others although I find them revealing.

    I am more interested in the positive thoughts that everyone but you and Calvin seem to want to contribute to discussion on this site.

    It has been a lovely day. Take ten, go down to P&S, grab their great special of five cans of Wattie’s Baked Beans for $5, then head for NW, grab a bottle of Wyndham Estate Shiraz (etc) for $9.99 or a pack of the new Speight’s Traverse Low-cal Lager, sit back, relax and view ‘Blazing Saddles’. Or was that on last week?

    PS: this is penned during the tea break in the cricket!

  20. Richard


    “The Chronicles of Yarnia”. Absolutely BRILLIANT! I am still smiling!

    I second the motion! All those in favour?

    The Ayes are 62, the Noes are …. (er, I suspect) 2.

    Now, back to the cricket!

  21. Richard,
    you are at it again, totally predictable, never answer a question when you can go off at a tangent and display your skill at ignoring anything which disturbs your equilibrium. I will repeat; “tell us what you know of the business plans in support of the Town Hall/Conference Centre and the Stadium.” As chairman of the Finance and Strategy Committee you surely must know of these plans.
    Elizabeth; Richard was at the ACT seminar as a spokesperson on Local Body activities. His blood is only blue in extremely cold weather.

  22. Richard

    Calvin: Substantial changes and redesign to the concept were made earlier this year. You admitted to being unaware of them on this site just a few weeks ago.

    Indeed, I recall Elizabeth commenting that the reasons for undertaking the redevelopment no longer had emphasis on [international -EK] conferencing etc.

    I am not the Chair responsible, neither am I the spokesperson.

    Even if I was, what is the point of going back and arguing about something that has changed and on which you fail to inform yourself?

  23. “The ‘opportunities’ for the new stadium – ie its so called ‘multi-purpose’ dimension – has surely been exhausted, and ridiculed, by evidence to the contrary.”

    Taking a contrary position is not exhausting evidence. The continued “because I said so” stance of the stadium opponents is hardly a basis of reasoned let alone logical argument.

    There has been little or no evidence beyond the “we don’t think so” to prove or disprove your argument. Simply saying “there won’t be a …. in the new stadium” isn’t sound argument.

    Indeed with the release of the new Monty Python book and documentary it’s a parody of the famous argument sketch with John Cleese and Michael Palin.

    No you haven’t.
    A: Yes I have.
    M: When?
    A: Just now.
    M: No you didn’t.
    A: Yes I did.
    M: You didn’t
    A: I did!
    M: You didn’t!
    A: I’m telling you I did!
    M: You did not!!

  24. Richard, OK, so why did Kate Styles say that her business plan showed that “conferences and events will bring in the revenue that will support the performance and community side of the venue?” Just when I admitted on this site to being unaware of the changes and redesign I can’t imagine. I think I was as aware as anyone over this. What has changed which would require me to inform myself of? I don’t know Richard, but it seems impossible to get any clear information on Kate Styles’ claim on the revenue funding the enterprise. Could it be because there is no real plan, but rather, a ‘build it and see’ approach, or in other words no one knows beyond some optimistic estimates? This in essence is what council is about I am afraid. You should know but obviously don’t.

  25. Hi Richard

    I’m not sure whether I can really be bothered posting here much longer, but before I say sayonara I’d like to clear up some of your misconceptions. These are what you would call ‘own facts’.

    1. The assumption I am an ACT party member because you saw me at a recent ACT seminar that covered various topics, including local government. I, along with others, including you, was invited to participate. Given my interest in this area ( previously I had little interest) I went along. This does not make me an ACT member. I am not. Saying that, what if I was a member? I happen to like, and respect, some people who are on the opposite side of the fence on most political issues. Some are nicer, more honest people, than what I have experienced with people whom I share more in common politically. (May I add that some of the present councillors who voted for the stadium I still consider basically decent people though I think they were very wrong on this issue)
    I have always voted left-of-centre. Some left-of-centre policies are balmy but, on the whole, I am in accord, philosophically.

    2. I am not a landlord. I presently own one house – the one I live in. So what if I had a property portfolio? Not all landlords are rapacious and leave their houses to rot while raking in the dosh. They improve their houses and make them pleasant to live in for others who can’t or don’t want to own property. I take your point that residential property investment is not productive for the country, as a whole, in terms of our national ‘wealth’.

    3. I actually have a sense of humour. Maybe not one you’d like, but you don’t really know me, do you. Who knows, we could even end up having a few laughs together, over a cheap bottle of wine or two, if that scenario ever came to pass!
    Despite its edge, I actually laughed at your advice to me to go and buy some cheap wine, some cans of baked beans and watch ‘Blazing Saddles’ on telly. You were right up there with the American comedienne, Joan Rivers.
    If you want to hone your skills for invective may I suggest you go to YouTube and type in Paul Keating – former Australian PM. You will see him in action in the Australian Parliament. He even made Howard, when he was Opposition leader, squirm. Trouble is, he didn’t come across as a very nice person and he wasn’t particularly liked by the Australian public either. He lost something of himself I think.

    4. I didn’t say I found you ‘irritating’. I don’t. I said you are irritable at times. Sorry if I have repeated that word and it has irritated you.
    On more than one occasion you have expressed public frustration with the consultation process that has been imposed on local government by central government. That I find revealing. That is why so many groups of people are frustrated with the council. The council pays lip service to consultation – when it does ‘consult’.

    Now back to Calvin’s queries. I’ll leave that to him as I, and many others, find him very sharp on these matters.

  26. Richard


    On consulation, with respect you clearly did not understand what I was saying.

    It is the FORMAL PROCESS that frustrates so many, e.g. it does not allow for options to be considered when the draft is put out for a response from the community.

    Consultation does not mean agreement but it should be meaningful and not ‘strait-jacketed’.

    And so much of it is tactical planning more than strategic e.g. the response that councils must make to meet standards etc handed down by central government, especially on infrastructure. As we know, that is ‘a moveable feast’, a lot of it is poor but it leaves councils and ratepayers to pick up the costs.

    The use of focus groups comprising interested citizens is an increasingly valuable source of consultation or feedback as indeed the work on the revised plans for the Town Hall/Dunedin Centre proved.

    As for cheap wine! No, no. I am surprised at you!

    As Lee knows, I do give good advice on wine. After all I was in the wine business for decades and so I know a good value wine when I spot one. That Wyndham Estate Shiraz certainly is at $9.99.

    But then, I am always hunting for bargains – on anything I am buying. Hence the ‘baked beans’.


  27. meg55

    Richard, you should be glad the tag team isn’t any bigger. I would join Peter and Calvin in protesting your ducking and diving if I didn’t fear being shot down by friendly fire. The sad thing about Peter’s ‘feuds’ is that many of them are with people on his side of the stadium debate.

    I’m sorry to see you have resorted to personal comments of your own, under the thin disguise of humour. This is playground stuff.

    • Elizabeth

      The Chronicles seem to have arrived at a dead end, more or less.

      The same won’t happen to discussion of what now and the future holds for Dunedin’s public transit systems, private vehicle use, parking, cycleways, walkways, streets and public spaces etc. Paul and I hope to attract more voices and innovation – we have “space” coming along to achieve just that.

      • Elizabeth

        While I think of it: Dunedin Railway Station.
        Owner: Dunedin City Council.

        Problem: No-one assigned to sweeping/hoovering/scrubbing around frontage/curtilage daily (or twice daily) to remove ghastly cigarette butts and other detritus from the area where coaches and visitors arrive.
        It’s been like this for months, and months, and months.
        (it might have been done, even regularly – but you would never guess)

        Actually. More than one problem.

        Not so long ago a tenant of the Railway Station had to point out the main internal stairway needs regularly swept and cleaned – that was addressed, it looks a lot better now, but how did this work get missed for SO LONG.

        {30 Nov. Observed: floor sections behind the bench seats in the foyer have not been vacuumed or washed for some time}


        The steps of the Railway Station’s main internal stairway, ground floor to first floor, need attention and repair.
        Quite a few of their edges have been broken or chipped, this is a safety issue – I don’t see any fixing happening. Been like this for months, and months, and months. Some unsightly patching has happened in the past, although I note the aesthetic problem in making good the existing tilework generally.

        The disabled access toilet in the women’s washroom (ground floor, off foyer) hasn’t had a soap dispenser for over a year. It has a hand basin and a cloth towel dispenser (which frequently doesn’t rotate the towel before and after use), see no practical means to achieve safe handwashing and drying.

        Who is responsible for supervising property maintenance and cleaning services.
        Is there a regular building walk-through with a maintenance list.

        [larger question] Are there no quality control systems in place to oversee the safe daily use and visitor appeal of one of Dunedin’s grandest, most visited, iconic heritage buildings.

        As we say on Twitter. #FAIL

        Another thing. With the relocation of the whisky bar/cafe – the Railway Station needs a GOOD coffee venue, or a coffee cart as “ronindotca” tweeted this morning. I completely agree.

        How proactive is DCC Property in managing staff to “look” and “do”. And to be onto all “detail” and “tenanting”.

        But wait. The signage problem in the Railway Station foyer MUST be solved.

        Stuff stuck up everywhere, most of it of dubious signage quality and inappropriate for the task it has to do in promoting the work and services of tenants. Most of it is ad hoc, in the wrong place (so interferes with the MANY daily photographs being taken of the foyer space by visitors). Dammit – this is a listed Category 1 building, with one of the few listed building interiors in the Dunedin City District Plan.

        Let’s do better, people.

  28. Richard

    Fair comment, Meg. I usually shrug it off as ‘par for the course’ (as many posts on this site testify) but sometimes ‘fire has to be fought with fire’ even if it is not my habit or personally like doing so. Cheers!

  29. Richard:
    “Fight fire with fire?” How about trying fact with fact. But then that is not your habit, nor do you personally like doing so.

    • Elizabeth

      Quite lost on which dead horse is being flogged by contributors to this thread.

      What if? is SO CLOSE to deleting un-informational posts, and is counting down to D(elete) Hour.

  30. wow it’s like picking scabs isn’t it?

  31. David

    Wasn’t this thread about new ideas for Dunedin?

    1/ St Clair Pier
    2/ Tramway from St Clair to Sth Dunedin,.Princes St, Octagon, George St, Gardens, to Baldwin St.
    3/ Cable car from around Baldwin St to Mt Cargill.
    4/ Harbour Perimeter Cycle and walkway.
    5/ St Clair BMX track
    6/ A new “Farleys Arcade” see pictures at
    (possible for an antiques precinct?, or a Farleys type roof over the George St Pedestrian Mall)
    7/ An undercover market (i.e. Paddys Mkt Sydney, Queen Vic Mkt, Melbourne, etc)
    8/ Palmers Quarry by the new stadium made into an amphitheatre (it almost is now – see (you may need to cut and paste this link if it is too long and gets broken by line breaks).
    9/ A grid of wharfs across the Harbour Basin, with “boat shed” type buildings housing cafes and shops – little Venice in a Dunedin style.
    10/ An island in the harbour off Portsmouth Drive, for picnicing, kayaking around, possibly connected via causeway or footbridge.

    There’s a start. Any more?

  32. David,

    some good ideas, I’m fully into the Tram ideas at the moment. Even more so after having had dinner on the Tram in CHCH last month. Great fun.

    As stated previously I was lucky enough to win a section in the Dunedin Your Way competition in 2006 with Gavin O’Brien.

    The design was for a boardwalk from Company Bay to Macandrew Bay. Sure the outcome that has been achieved out here isn’t the best design resolution, but it’s a bloody great asset for the community. I still can’t help but think the money for a proper Boardwalk would have been half as cheap and way more interesting if they had gone with that. But I don’t mind riding my bike with my kids to school these days knowing they aren’t going to be squashed any second now.

    Sorry about the quality of the pics, I think I had a 1.3mega pixel camera at the time.

    I was heavily influenced by classic Kiwi bush board walks, some of the great Piers of the UK and Renzo Piano’s stunning Tjibaou Cultural Centre

  33. The only problem with the Quarry idea (which I’ve been a big fan of for a long time – Red Rocks South?) and Elizabeth will be able to clarify or illuminate us, is that I understand it’s got plenty of years left in it, and the value of an “Urban” quarry is great at this stage?

    Nice complimentary venue to what will eventually be one of NZ’s premier entertainment and sports precincts Logan Park – University Plaza

    • Elizabeth

      Yay. Imagination has returned to the thread ~!! Special thanks, David, Phil and Paul.

      Well yes, the quarry still has life – a recent application to extend the activity was heard. But this doesn’t mean the ‘hole’ in the lower section can’t be envisioned and planned for NOW as something more than a landfill end use.

      Love the thought of a Little Venice (I’ve spent a short time at the real one), and your schema (also promoted by various people including architect/planner Don Anderson) to introduce an island off Portsmouth Drive.

      Uplifting ideas All.

      [nostalgia] Mention of Farley’s Arcade reminds me of the excellent photos forwarded by my uncle this month, of the first store my forebear (great great grandfather) Samuel Kerr took partnership in on arrival from Raphoe, County Donegal (Ireland) in 1863, via Lyttelton (with family and servants). The Alcorn Brothers – Drapers & Clothiers built a new store in 1862, named Excelsior House, on the corner of Maclaggan St and what is now Broadway (where Farley’s Arcade would be built). Alcorn Bros. and Kerr were wholesalers and retailers, outfitting those headed to the goldfields. In 1866 the firm moved its business a block nearer the waterfront, a prime location facing the steady stream of miners coming ashore, on Princes St between High and Rattray Sts (where the former Grand Hotel building would be built, now Southern Cross Hotel and Dunedin Casino). By 1867, the Princes St shop is shown in the Directories as “Kerr & Bannerman”, outfitting not just would-be miners but the well-heeled citizens of the town as well (photographs of their building signage and their extensive print advertisements say: “Woollen & Linen Drapers, Silk Mercers &c.”) Handy to have a historian in the family, after twenty years of research he’s been able to trace “us” to one “Daniel Ker brittish ptestt”, who leased farmland from the “Bp of Raphoe” in 1635. It’s great to know we’re not Scottish border riding Kerrs. The “Irish” Kerrs’ farmlands extended to later include the Bishop’s Palace (Raphoe Castle), which was gutted by fire in 1838. They were also successful merchants, owning a muslin and shirt factory, a woollen drapery and post office.

      2009. And here we are in Dunedin… trying to save “remaining” buildings of the goldmining era, located further south in Princes St, from unholy and unnecessary destruction by a Christchurch developer!

      What is our vision for the Exchange Area and the South Princes Street Area… It would be amazing to SEE these related areas, including the warehouse area extending south from Rattray St, as part of how we RE-ENVISION this great built environment of ours, from which so many of New Zealand’s leading companies emanated and where the traces are self-evident architecturally.

  34. David

    Paul – I think they recently gave Palmers a further 25 years on their resource consent – it would need to be some sort of buy out if that was to happen.

    I actually put the amphitheatre idea in for the same competition (and Little Venice).

    And a harbour perimeter walk and cycle way is a must to make to most of one of our greatest assets.

    Here’s a couple more –

    11/ A decent cruise ship passenger terminal for Port Chalmers.
    12/ Decent parking viewpoints with info boards on Highcliff Road on the Peninsula.

  35. Phil

    Elizabeth. Re the Railway Station, you made some exellent observations regarding the day to day maintenance of that building. I know that there is a contract to clean the foyer toilets, 2 or 3 times a day. If there are normal hygiene items missing, the contractor should be reporting those back to the client, being City Property. I don’t know if their contract extends to the foyer itself, but I suspect not.

    I’ve thought it very poor for some time that the Taieri Gorge train people have chosen the front “porch” area as their designated smokers area. Which I suspect accounts for a few of those stray ciggy butts you’ve seen lying around. A couple of mouldy old chairs and tired card table sitting in full view is not a good look. Especially from the principal tenant.

    The foyer signage is a bit dodgy. I understand that some deal was struck with relation to the upgrading of the Taieri Gorge offices, allowing for fixed signage in the foyer. Which in turn opened the floodgates for the other tenants in the building. They run a bit of a fine line with regard to resource consent requirements down there, especially with the platform signs.

    I believe that there is a 5 year maintenance plan for council owned buildings, prepared by the City Property maintenance staff. That involved a one off condition assessment, and a list of recommended remedial works. The decision to act on those recommendations falls into the lap of the City Property staff member entrusted to look after that building. In this case, I believe it is still the Assistant City Property Manager.

    The major problem, as relayed to me, lies with the maintenance budgets. The budgets are set several years in advance, and are often not set by the people who know how much the planned works will actually cost. So, when maintenance plans are prepared, they are ultimately tailored to meet the predetermined funding limit. Which results in items of work being deferred or excluded from maintenance. The maintenance budgets are lost at the end of each financial year, which means that funding can’t be saved up to, say, repair the entrance steps. In the past, capital funding has been used to carry out items which are essentially, large maintenance items. But I believe there is now a tighter control on what can officially be classified as capital work. Compounding the problem.

    The Housing team within Property carry out annual property inspections. I assume that the non Housing arm does the same.

    I agree with you about the flags out front, that’s just plain tacky. And uniquely English. You don’t normally find major signage on or around significant buildings on continental Europe.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil – thanks for shedding light on the Railway Station. Hmmm. Obviously, the whole arrangement needs more thought at City Property (and Council) to escape/resolve the issues you’ve outlined. I’m happy the station and platform is getting the staged capital work (used to get more info about this through NZHPT when I was there). The platform roof is looking really good with recent work done.
      However, the fine detail care and maintenance must be attended to, too.

  36. David

    Elizabeth – my ancestors also supplied provisions for the miners.

    My great great grandfather and his brother built a mill, part of which is still at Millbrook near Arrowtown. I think they also had a shop and bakery.

    There was a great story in the ODT about Farley’s Arcade one or two summers ago.

    Actually, I’ve just remembered one more idea that I’ve thought about for years –

    13/ A winter garden somewhere in the city centre – effectively an artificailly heated giant glass house with tropical plants, ponds and grass. A place where people can have their lunch, and sit on the grass in 24 degree heat (not as hot as the butterfly house), and completely forget that it’s 6 degrees outside with a chilling southerly.

    • Elizabeth

      Cool. I know Millbrook quite well (new and old parts), a cousin of mine used to manage real estate sales there. Yes I read the ODT feature on Farley’s Arcade. Now wouldn’t a Winter Garden be great. Used to love the Auckland Winter Garden, but one in the city heart here would be ultimate. We’re fully capable of generating that.

      Incidently, the Henry Farley who built the Arcade was also the promoter of Vauxhall Gardens.

      From the book, Vauxhall Gardens: Dunedin’s Notorious Victorian Pleasure Gardens (Dec 2007), by Ian Dougherty:

      “Vauxhall Gardens was Dunedin’s pride and shame. Built on wealth from the 1860s Otago goldrush, Henry Farley’s pleasure gardens attracted gold miners and townsfolk in their thousands with its spectacular fireworks displays and international circus acts. But its reputation for quality entertainment was tarnished by allegations of prostitution and debauchery.”

      A man of vision, in more ways than one.


      I was just reading an item, and mulling Dunedin’s urban development…

      ### AJ (The Architect’s Journal) 30 November, 2009
      Government action plan: ‘minimum design threshold’ for all public buildings
      By Richard Waite
      The [British] Government has unveiled its new World Class Places Strategy Action Plan, which includes a ‘challenging’ design threshold for all new building programmes. The plan, which was hinted at by Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this month at a reception at No. 10, aims to create high-quality homes and neighbourhoods which are ‘safe and more sustainable places to live in’. The RIBA has welcomed the plan.
      Read more


      World class places: The Government’s strategy for improving quality of place – an action plan for delivery
      In May this year the Government published World Class Places strategy document, setting out a strategy for improving the quality of the built environment, recognising the economic, social and environmental benefits that this can bring.

      World Class Places strategy document

      The full action plan:

      * World class places: The Government’s strategy for improving quality of place – an action plan for delivery PDF (956kb)

      * World class places: The Government’s strategy for improving quality of place – an action plan for delivery RTF (214kb)


      Action plan for delivery (in brief here)

      Strategic objective 1
      – Strengthen leadership on quality of place at the national and regional level

      Strategic objective 2
      – Encourage local civic leaders and local government to prioritise quality of place

      Strategic objective 3
      – Ensure relevant government policy, guidance and standards consistently promote quality of place and are userfriendly

      Strategic objective 4
      – Put the public and community at the centre of placeshaping

      Strategic objective 5
      – Ensure all development for which central government is directly responsible is built to high design and sustainability standards and promotes quality of place

      Strategic objective 6
      – Encourage higher standards of market-led development

      Strategic objective 7
      – Strengthen quality of place skills, knowledge and capacity

  37. Phil

    Today I was offered the opportunity to observe a pilot programme for a new public transport system. Naturally I’m not about to turn that opportunity down. The project is to install a sustainable commuter public transport system into 12 European cities, ranging in population size from 70,000 to 1.3 million. The aim is to remove buses, taxis and cars from arterial routes. With the ultimate goal of a zero dependancy on fossil fuels.

    The system is known as “PodCars”, and I believe there is a supplier presence in NZ. It operates on a loop track system, using individual six seater electric cars, with a top speed of 240km per hour. Fully automated and running 24 hours a day. SciFi stuff, but they are actually about to build these things. One is underway at present, on a smaller scale, linking the terminals and car parks at Heathrow Airport.

    Various alternatives are being built as part of this programme. Some will be ground based, and are guided by a magnetic strip in the road, others will be elevated above the road. On a monorail type system. That’s my favourite. Track lengths range from 3km with 8 stops (anticipating 7,000 car trips per day), through to a 90km long route with 118 stations (49,000 trips per day). One track of 9km length will have 90 independant cars operating continuously. Fare prices are pegged at around 2 dollars for the short route through to around 5 dollars for the longest.

    One which stands out links the airport to the city centre, to the hospital, to the university. 30km long with 37 stops including rail and bus station hubs. Estimated patronage is 19,000 car trips per day. I can see direct comparisons with Dunedin in this one, so I will be following it closely.

    The systems can be capacity driven during peak hours. The car will not move until all 6 seats have been filled. Up to a maximum waiting time of 2 minutes. Once the car is full (or 2 minutes have lapsed), it will only stop when someone needs to get off, and there becomes a free space. Out side of peak hours, they can switch to be demand driven. At night, for example, they can go direct from point to point with a single occupant. Ensuring personal security.

    It was interesting to read in the report that cities of 100,000 were chosen are they were considered to be borderline for a traditional tram system to be economically sustainable. The suppliers of the PodCar system are recommending a minimum daytime population base of 40,000 for a viable system.

    Rather exciting stuff, and I will scribble down a bit more as I wade through the contract documents and hopefully see these things under construction shortly.

  38. Elizabeth

    Phil – amazing! Keen to hear more.

    ### 13 August 2009 14:16 GMT
    Photos: Driverless pod cars offer a glimpse of the future of transport
    By Tim Ferguson
    BAA is looking at a high-tech alternative to the humble car park bus at Heathrow’s Terminal 5… From next year, travellers at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 will be able to step into one of these vehicles and be whisked straight to their destination – all without the need for a driver.
    Read more + 10 photos

    ### on 02.1.09
    Abu Dhabi to Debut Personal Rapid Transit “Podcars” Later This Year
    By Jesse Fox, Tel Aviv, Israel
    The designers of Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s new post-petroleum city, are not bound by the usual set of rules and constraints. Money is not really an issue, and the political leadership is always willing to try out innovative ideas that the rest of the world regards as unproven, unorthodox or just plain fantasy.
    One of them is PRT, personal rapid transit, a system of transportation featuring compact, driver-less “podcars”. In Masdar, where the streets will be entirely free of automobiles, a network of these compact electric taxis will provide clean and quiet transportation to the city’s residents, as well as commuters. The first PRT cars are set to begin running later this year. Admittedly intrigued, TreeHugger sat down with one of the system’s designers recently at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi to hear more about the project.
    Read more + Photos

    • Elizabeth

      Channel 9 News:
      Word is, Dunedin City Council has purchased land to give access to the ruins of Cargill’s Castle. Fabulous.
      Thanks DCC. Best news all day!!!!

      Secondly, Greater Dunedin has attacked DCC for various of its policies. Has electioneering started, rhetorical.

      Read ALL ABOUT IT in Thursday’s Otago Daily Times.

      • Elizabeth

        See stadium mentions:

        ### ODT Online Thu, 3 Dec 2009
        Cull leads attack on city council
        By David Loughrey and Mark Price
        Local body political grouping Greater Dunedin has begun its electioneering for next year with an attack on the city council of which it is a part. Greater Dunedin, with its three councillors, Dave Cull, Kate Wilson and Chris Staynes, has registered as an incorporated society and begun advertising for “suitable candidates” to stand under its banner in local body elections in October next year.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 3 Dec 2009
          DCC land deal revives castle plans
          By John Gibb
          Long-delayed plans to make greater use of the scenic and recreational potential of Cargill’s Castle have been revived after the Dunedin City Council bought land to provide eventual public access.
          Read more

          Print and digital editions of the Otago Daily Times feature photographs of the castle, and an aerial shot of the land purchased for access to the building, which runs off the clifftop public reserve.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 3 Dec 2009
          Dunedin named fair trade city
          Dunedin and Wellington have been announced as the country’s first Fair Trade Cities by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ). The two cities are the first in the country to join the global consumer revolution campaigning for a better deal for farmers and workers in the developing world by promoting and supporting fair trade. NZPA
          Read more

          ### ODT Online Fri, 4 Dec 2009
          Dunedin sets a fair trade first
          By Sarah Harvey
          Dunedin has pipped Wellington to become New Zealand’s first fair trade city after this week being formally recognised by the Fair Trade Association of Australian and New Zealand.
          Already, 31 food outlets, 28 workplaces, 15 retail outlets, 10 schools and 10 church groups in Dunedin have become fair trade.
          Read more

  39. Phil

    Excellent news about Cargills Castle. I thought we might lose it with the housing estate there. The tourism market for the castle might be underestimated. Like the train spotters who come from around the world specifically to look at the Railway Station, engineering and architectural spotters are big tourist business. I confess to being one of those. Cargill’s Castle is unique with its non reinforced concrete structure, and it’s great to see it becoming more accessible.

  40. Phil

    Doing a bit of background reading on the Podcar system, I see them referred to as “horizontal elevators”. That seems like a great description. If one equates a city to a building, with destinations located on various floors. You stand on the ground floor, hail the lift car, push the button for the floor you want, and away you go. All sounds a little fantastic, which is why it’s hard to believe they are about to start building and operating these things commercially.

    • Elizabeth

      On railway stations, cities divided by railway tracks, and the greatness of ‘world engineer/architect’ Santiago Calatrava, some eye candy for the evening:

      ### Dezeen December 2nd, 2009 at 12:50 am
      Liège-Guillemins station by Santiago Calatrava
      By Rose Etherington
      Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has completed a station with a vaulted glass and steel canopy in Liege, Belgium. Called Liège-Guillemins station, the project links two areas of the city previously divided by railway tracks. Calatrava aimed to enhance this permeability by creating a building without facades, relying on the roof for shelter and the building’s identity. The canopy covers five platforms and extends over 145 meters. Below ground level a series of pedestrian bridges and walkways connect one end to the other. The station accommodates new services for Belgium’s high-speed rail network.
      Read more + Photos

  41. Phil

    The following is an extract from a U.S. based consultant report as part of the new Podcar project. It’s a little wordy, and I apologise for that. It’s also written obviously in favour of the system, so there’s a slight amount of bias. I note an interesting take, which I hadn’t considered previously, namely the “first mile” “last mile” concept. That’s the gap between public transport stations and your home or place of work. A major factor in the lack of popularity, which the author sees a PRT system correcting.

    Public Transportation use over the past 20 years grew a little more than population but much less than passenger vehicle miles traveled. Try as we might, we just cannot convince people to leave their cars for public transportation. During the recent period of high gasoline prices, a small jump in public transport use was experienced. This caused problems for public transport operators around the country, because they lose money on each rider! This is largely because trains and buses run around empty most of the day. This unsustainable practice was exacerbated by reduced tax-based subsidies and meant that many agencies had to reduce service at the precise time they should have been increasing it. Subsidised transit systems may be necessary to ensure that the disadvantaged have reasonably priced transportation. However, a sustainable transit system, that can rise to meet changing demand, needs to cover at least its operating expenses from the fare box – something that few US transit systems can accomplish.

    Transportation energy use is growing 50% faster than the population.

    Delays caused by congestion are growing twice as fast as the population and congestion now wastes 3.5 billion man-hours every year.

    The amount of driving we do is outgrowing the population by almost three times! Each car typically requires four parking spaces (one at home, one at work and two others for intermittent use). The cost of the infrastructure needed to support our automobile use, is enormous. At the same time, the real estate used to support automobiles increases the cost of other utilities and decreases the quality of urban living. It’s time we took a long hard look at what automobile ownership really costs.

    The costs of moving goods have increased far faster than the population has grown. At this pace, logistics costs are set to have major impacts on our economy. Part of the reason is that we move a very large proportion of goods by trucks rather than rail. Rail is a far more efficient way to move goods, but we lack the infrastructure to economically collect and distribute goods at the ends of the rail lines.

    Transportation accounted for 47% of the net increase in total US greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. It currently contributes 34% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

    It is amazing to think that we are still using the stagecoach model for transit. A stagecoach runs on fixed routes with designated stops. There is seldom a stop at the desired origin and destination. The vehicle accommodates many people, to spread the cost of the driver, and has to stop whenever somebody needs to get on or off. All we have done to this model is make the vehicles bigger, turn the stops into stations and the routes into corridors. The ride may be a little smoother and the speed a little higher, but the quality of service has hardly improved. A rail system, with top speeds in the fifties and stations every mile, has an average speed under 25mph. “Modern” street cars often have average speeds in the single digits. It is no wonder public transportation only achieves a mode share of around 4%.

    What if you did not have to wait for transit, you always got a seat, and it took you where you want to go without stopping? Would you use it? The only mode of transportation that currently operates this way is the automobile at 3a.m. Even then, stops at “dumb” traffic signals for no crossing traffic at all are often required. Amazingly enough, transit that operates this way was invented over fifty years ago. It is called personal rapid transit (PRT) and it can be likened to automated (driverless) taxis operating on a system of guideways. The reasons PRT could help solve our transportation problems are: It has a high level of service (more like a car than a bus) and really can attract drivers from their cars. It uses about a third the energy of most other modes. It is electrically powered so, as we convert the grid to renewable sources of energy, we automatically also convert PRT-based transportation. In off-peak times, unused T-Pods wait in stations or depots – there is much reduced empty vehicle movement.

    People generally prefer rail to bus service. Rail usually provides a smoother, faster and more reliable ride. Feeding a train system with buses does not work well because people don’t like to use two services that can both involve long, unpredictable wait times. This can be solved by integrating a PRT system into the existing public transport system, connecting the “first mile” and last mile” between home and office. People can be expected to view the combined systems almost as one, since the PRT system involves almost no waiting. The combined systems will provide a much higher level of service with wider coverage, thereby enticing a higher ridership. A bonus would be the increase in land values of the wider area within walking distance of the combined systems.

    • Elizabeth

      Phil – I quite like the way PRT is described here, even without pitfalls discussed (if any). The overview of existing transit systems provided is pretty much why I don’t have a car since moving back from Auckland and going “inner city”, rather than bush. People-with-cars tell me I’m silly and completely inefficient, and look at me strangely blah blah BUT I made decision to live modestly on the planet after having a stupendous multi-vehicle-prone youth and upbringing, which included having to maintain all the private roading into the farm properties. There’s only so much graderblading and truckloads of metal a person can stand : )
      So in town, long story short, some Podcars would be utter heaven! (for the likes of me, but I might have to shift to Europe or Heathrow to camp out on the system before I hit ninety). Although I note you mentioned something about a New Zealand supplier in an earlier post !!!!

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Thu, 03/12/2009 – 10:55pm.
        Comment by Richard Walls on Yes, time flies ….
        I had almost forgotten 29 April 1990 – seems ‘yesterday’ rather than 19 years. That was about the same time, of course, that the sea took out most of foredunes etc at Moana Rua. (Yes, it has happened before). If council contractors (I think it was Citiworks) had not – during the night – urgently lifted the [Ocean Beach] railway tracks which then crossed the road and stretched towards St Clair, then they would have been swept away. Same would have happened again, of course, in recent times. I am not a member of Planning & Environment but the matters addressed in the report on Industrial Heritage aspects etc that was considered on 16 November, were not turned down simply because of funding issues. For example, the vision of the Ocean Beach Railway to have a longer track to St Clair is certainly not possible along the dunes. So, where?
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          This one’s in the hard to qualify category, green and not green but dealing with what you’ve got. Nice images of ‘the shed’ though.

          ### dezeen December 16th, 2009 at 12:25 am
          T Bailey Office by Tom Kundig
          By Marcus Fairs
          Tom Kundig of Seattle studio Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects has designed an extension to a steel pipe factory that uses giant pipes as architectural elements. The building, for T Bailey Inc, will use sections of the giant pipes made at the facility that are usually used to make wind turbine towers.
          Read more

  42. Richard

    Haven’t had time to drop by of late nor did I like where ‘The Chronicles’ were going!

    I am glad I did. I like what I read!

    Some quick comments on some of the ideas etc. Yes, Blackhead Quarries received consent for their further ‘mining’ on the upper levels of their property. Estimated life at current extraction is about 40 years. As a condition of the consent, they have to present council with a detailed mitigation plan as to what happens when extraction nears its end. Old quarries can be used for all sorts of exciting things, so who knows what will evolve? Incidentally when I first stood for council back in 1980, I canvassed the idea of using it to relocate The Caledonian or, wait for it, a stadium! Alister McMurran picked it up and ran quite a piece in the ODT.

    Island at the top of the harbour. Don Anderson has quite a concept which envisages its creation by dredging the area (if the ORC will ever do that!) and also by pumping of the sand and mud from dredging the upper part of Victoria Channel. Which is how most of the Southern Endowment was, of course, reclaimed. (It was only completed in the late 1960s). He has the island sitting out far enough, to provide a sheltered rowing course between it and Portsmouth Drive and other added features around to the Harbour Basin side. Very feasible and practical as it saves the dredgings being taken to sea etc.

    As for a boardwalk on parts of the harbour down the eastern side. It was suggested by moi, no less, when I was Mayor as a way of solving problems of some narrow parts and no easy solution to providing walking space. It was, I have to say, treated with some amusement and largely dismissed because of cost – which no one ever established! Fliss Butcher has more recently suggested it as well. Whether it would have been as permanent, less costly or more practical than the present road widening (including rebuilding of the rock wall) is not known but my guess is that one day it might just happen in one form or another at the appropriate parts.

    If only the Ellwood Commission on LG reorganisation had not vested all the endowment land owned by the former Harbour Board in the ORC and/or given the DCC some of the shareholding as, indeed, it did in Christchurch (one knows why) in the rort of the century, we would have had the income to really do things around the harbour edge.

    But tides turn!

  43. Phil

    I remember being involved in a project a few years ago where the head architect wanted to fit rusted steel panels to the facade. Why, I don’t know. Anyway, you would think that would be simple enough. But, as is the case with architects, the dream didn’t end there. He was VERY specific about exactly how much rust should be on the panels, and that the rusting should be even, over all the panels. Not so easy to achieve.

    The end result was the the young apprentice metal worker spent an hour a day, every day, for 6 weeks, out the back of the steel yard, carefully wetting the 3m long steel panels with a watering can. Try as we might, we could not convince him that they weren’t going to grow.

    Anyway, after 6 weeks the panels were coated with a clear lacquer finish and sent on their way. How they look today, I have no idea.

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