Prista Apartments: Resource consent Decision + Appeal


The Decision says:

[Submitters’ Presentations]
Ms Kerr spoke to her submission. She answered questions from the Committee, and confirmed that she appeared as a private individual and not an expert witness.”

Everybody else got a full paragraph or more.





Read the Letter of Decision here:
372-392 Princes Street – Letter of Decision 14.9.10

Read the Appeal here:
NZHPT section 121 RMA appeal, Prista Apartments, Dunedin, 5 October 2010

[updated 18.6.13]

Related Posts and Comments:
4.3.11 Reaction to another instance of unthinking ad-hocism from City Hall
13.9.10 Same again, Dunedin City District Plan about to be ignored
4.5.10 Prista Apartments: Dunedin’s goldrush-era heritage won’t fall over, unless you make it
11.2.10 Note to DCC, via New Jersey
24.1.10 Prista Apartments: 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Economics, Heritage, Politics, Town planning

66 responses to “Prista Apartments: Resource consent Decision + Appeal

  1. Stu

    I had a feeling this was coming after seeing the brick building failures after ChCh quake.
    But still.
    We need to do some work in a hurry for that other project.

    • Elizabeth

      Stu – this decision has been on the cards since hearing one two years ago. No surprises.
      15-day appeal period.

      Ah ha, the other project.

  2. Elizabeth

    One is undoubtedly flawed, reckless and immoderate. Accepted.

    Life is fun for those who stick their heads above the parapet.
    One continues as normal.


    Now. This was a decision “by majority”.
    The commissioners were Councillors Colin Weatherall (Chair), Richard Walls and Fliss Butcher. Who voted how.

    And who do we vote for in the local authority elections.

  3. Peter

    I’d be interested to know the commissioners’ record on heritage issues generally. Does what they say, publicly, match what they actually do?
    So much has been wrecked down that part of town by the council. Such a shame.

  4. kate

    Peter, I have acted as a commissioner – a very separate role than that of Councillor and rigidly set by the rules. As Councillor we have a role ensuring that the District Plan is kept up to date with the needs and ambitions of the City and its residents. In that role I think we have failed completely due to lack of staff resources – a problem that has finally been fixed, and lack of drive from those that have the potential to direct such things to happen – and dare I say it we seemed to have the resources to make a stadium plan change but have as yet to address the issues raised in the Warehouse case 10 years ago! Until we have a change of leadership style whereby the Councillors govern what is priority and they reflect the residents views then things will not change as quickly as some would like.
    I believe this issue lies clearly as the responsibility of Councillors not commissioners.

  5. Peter

    Kate. Is there a problem where you have councillors who are also commissioners? I understand, while deliberating, commissioners are not allowed to express their own views, but I noticed with the Princes St issue they earlier said they were ‘of a mind’ to allow for the redevelopment before the final decision was made. Excuse my ignorance, but I am confused.
    I also notice it was a ‘majority’ decision. I presume, therefore, it was not ‘unanimous’. Are commissioners allowed to state how they voted after the decision has been made? If not, I find that a strange rule and not transparent. (I realise you, personally, don’t set the rules.)

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 17 Sep 2010
      Consent granted to demolish heritage buildings
      By David Loughrey
      After almost two years of hearings, petitions, public meetings and heated opposition, a Christchurch developer has been given approval to demolish a group of historic buildings in Princes St, Dunedin, and replace them with versions with facades closely resembling the originals. The resource consent granting the right to bring in the bulldozers comes despite the area being a protected townscape precinct, despite heritage advocates arguing there was no need to demolish any of the facades, and despite both the Dunedin City Council’s consultant architect and its planner recently arguing the facade of 386 Princes St, at least, should have been saved.
      Read more

  6. Phil

    The problem that I have with your comment “…we have a role ensuring that the District Plan is kept up to date with the needs and ambitions of the City and its residents”, Kate, is that I don’t believe you (Council) are following the needs and ambitions of the city and its residents. You’re following the needs and ambitions of a few selected property developers who are acting not in the interests of the city and its residents, but in the interests of personal gain. That’s quite different. Today, the projection of the District Plan is not as a guide for future development and progression, but as a historical record of where developers have decided it’s their God given right to make a profit. The plan takes 10 years to develop, and is there for a reason. If someone wants to put down a 100 lot subdivision then THAT’S where they have to build it. If they aren’t happy with that, then they are welcome to go and destroy Queenstown a bit more.

    When it comes to determining planning application decisions I believe that these decisions should be made by the people most qualified to do so. And I’m sorry, but they are not Councillors. They are planners, architects, and engineers who know how things like subdivisions and redevelopments work, about synergies, and what the long term implications for the community are. They know better than anyone. Councillors don’t have the necessary skill level to make those fully informed decisions. Regardless of how many years they have been chairing panels. I’m not having a go at Councillors here. I’m highly educated with a 30-year work history spanning several continents. But I wouldn’t have the necessary fundamental background knowledge to accurately assess the pitfalls and benefits of a new subdivision. And I wouldn’t try to.

    One final comment before I put this to bed. Whomever it was that came up with the brainwave to release the now standard media statement “We are of a mind to grant consent” BEFORE all the relevant information required to make a fully informed decision has been presented, needs to be taken out and shot. Anyone reading a statement like that midway through a hearing would question why they should even bother in the future. One should at least try to hold onto the pretence of having no bias until everyone has had an equal chance.

  7. Peter

    Thanks, Phil. That’s helped to put things in perspective for me. I’d be interested in hearing Kate’s view too.

  8. Russell Garbutt

    Phil – that comment regarding “we are of a mind etc etc” is indicative of the whole Council planning process.

    If you have ever been to an LTCCP submission hearing and spoken to some of the Councillors, you will have rapidly learned that it is a source of pride amongst some of the Councillors that they reckon they read less than 10% of the submissions. Many are not interested in hearing something that they have already made their mind up on. It is a farce that they have to go through so they can tick off the appropriate Local Government check sheet.

    Speaking of farces – I wonder which photo archive many of the existing Councillors have been delving into to make up their current advertisements for re-election purposes.

    You also ask a good question about the competency of Councillors to act as Commissioners. Does this also not apply to Councillors acting as Chairs of Boards of Council owned companies? If it is true that the leading brains of the City are not elected as Councillors, then it surely follows that they are not also appointed to head trading companies. As an example, I would point out that Cr Hudson is currently trumpeting that he has been responsible for plowing profits or subsidies back into the DCC, yet it has been widely known that those companies are doing so by borrowing beyond their means and that he himself has been saying that this cannot continue and that even the current debt burden may not be able to be met. Seems to me that he is sitting on both sides of the fence again.

  9. David M

    I think we should be told who on the committee was for and who was against, and if it is more complicated than that then an explanation should be given. How can we be expected to cast our votes in an informed way if we don’t know which councillors are responsible for which decisions?

  10. Elizabeth

    We’re in the 15-day period of appeal for the decision on 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St, Dunedin.

    As a submitter on the application I received the decision in writing by postal mail on the afternoon of 15 September.

    The decision is in public domain.

    I could choose to scan the letter of decision and post it here. Instead, I’ve opted to provide the link on this thread when it is available at the DCC website.

    Suggestion: It would be useful for the Council to post all notified resource consent decisions, being in public domain, on its website in timely fashion for the interest of submitters and the general public – in both Word and PDF formats.

    Elizabeth Kerr
    What if? co-author & editor

  11. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 18 Sep 2010
    Trust upset by consent decision
    By John Gibb
    The New Zealand Historic Places Trust is disappointed a Dunedin City Council hearings committee has approved demolition of a group of historic buildings in Princes St.

    Trust Otago-Southland area manager Owen Graham said the decision had the potential to “impact significantly on the historic character of this area of the city” … “Unfortunately, in this case council opted not to uphold its protected heritage listing for this group of four historic buildings, which comprises some of Dunedin’s earliest built heritage dating to the 1860s.”

    Read more

    • Elizabeth


      @koFliss For the record…It was me who voted Not to grant consent to demolish those Princes St facades.
      about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck


      “koFliss” is the Twitter account for Fliss Butcher.

  12. ro

    Well, I didn’t think it was Richard.

    Even if the majority of the committee didn’t think that ignoring the heritage scheduling of the facades would destroy the integrity of the district plan, it’s very, very hard to see why they didn’t recognise that ignoring the height limits would. For what reason did this applicant want to have a taller than code building? To give his penthouse residents a view. And since the buildings in Stafford St rise higher than those in Princes St as they go up the hill, the majority thought that no adverse effects were created if this one was taller than code. If this doesn’t create a precedent, I fail to see what would.

    So why do we have a district plan?

  13. I would like to know why it is that we have to find out how our elected representatives voted on certain issues through Facebook & Twitter etc?

    It’s time that we took the muzzles off our councillors, and let them tell us how they vote, and why.

    • Elizabeth

      There is a difference in being a commissioner and a councillor – these are distinct roles, and governed by distinct Acts of Parliament.

      Prospective candidates should be aware of these important differences. Sorry Olive, your name just vacated my preference list if I had one.

  14. I understand the difference thanks Elizabeth.

    What is important to me, is that information is available to the public, rather than reporting stating ‘majority’ decision.

  15. Re:”You don’t. The matter is recorded in the minutes and can also be recorded in the decision on request.”

    This is not helpful to all the people who wish to know, but do not have the time to follow local politics. The information should be stated in the press when the issue is discussed.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 18/09/2010 – 3:05pm.
      Comment by dmurray on Rubbishy decision more like
      This is a decision which demonstrates 20th-century rather than 21st-century thinking. The buildings are modest in scale but this does not make them “rubbishy”. Submissions showed that these 1860s buildings were not just old, but almost the only buildings of their age left in the central city.
      Read more

  16. Elizabeth

    A comment to SERIOUSLY THINK about, it happens further down the thread – in case you missed it:

  17. Stu

    Carbon credits are trading at US$0.10 per metric tonne on the Chicago Climate Exchange. You could write off the entire annual NZ emissions for a total of US$3.2 million right now.

    In other words, carbon credits are a con. Good on DCHL for getting value for them.

  18. Elizabeth

    This thread is about 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St, and has been subverted. All comments irrelevant to this thread have been moved to Elections: Local authorities’ representation.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sun, 19 Sep 2010
      Blog: Distressed jeans: an election issue
      By Anna Chinn
      Well, my voting papers haven’t arrived yet, and anyway I’m still narrowing down my choices, so here’s a final policy question for Dunedin City Council candidates. What did you make of the recent decision to permit the demolition of those heritage buildings on Princes St; the pastel ones with the listed facades? What’s your policy on that part of town, say from Dowling St south to the Oval?’

      Where the DCC committee has decided to permit the demolition of a good chunk of a block, it has also coaxed developer Dirkzwager into promising replacement buildings with replica facades. That is quite a careful move, but it does remind me of the phenomenon of distressed jeans.

      Read more


      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Mon, 20 Sep 2010
        Editorial: Make haste with care
        The cost estimates have doubled to $4 billion and the Government expects that figure to rise: the tangible and intangible unmeasured consequences of the Christchurch earthquake may never fully be known but attention is now turning to some of these. Among them is the crucial issue of whether, and how, destroyed buildings should be rebuilt. This is a significant matter because getting the answers right will have a large impact on the city’s physical appearance as well as its character. Imagine if the earthquake had struck Dunedin, rather than its northern neighbour, and destroyed or damaged numerous heritage buildings.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          For those voters who cannot decipher between a “unanimous decision” and a “majority decision”, can we suggest you use google or a dictionary of terms !!!!!!

          The Prista Apartments Ltd RESOURCE CONSENT was given by a MAJORITY DECISION. The letter of decision expressly states this.

          There were three Commissioners on the DCC Hearings Committee: Cr Colin Weatherall (Chair), Cr Richard Walls and Cr Fliss Butcher.



          Noted on this thread, Cr Fliss Butcher has stated that she VOTED AGAINST the granting of the resource consent. She is able to state that with impunity.

          Cr Butcher cannot discuss the decision in this the 15-day period appeal.
          Cr Weatherall cannot discuss the decision in this the 15-day period appeal.
          Cr Walls cannot discuss the decision in this the 15-day period appeal.

          Vote in the local authority elections how you will if you support Dunedin’s historic heritage.


        • Elizabeth

          Election candidates who support historic heritage in light of the decision for 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St…

          Dave Cull, Greater Dunedin, Mayoral candidate
          Lee Vandervis, Mayoral candidate
          Lindsay Smith, Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
          Bev Butler, Independent candidate, DCC Central Ward
          Richard Thomson, Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
          Hendrik Koch, Community VISION candidate, DCC Central Ward

          Click here to read their comments.

          Are there others?

          What exactly does the good stewardship and protection of historic heritage mean to each of the candidates? Some candidates know enough to be explicit, others maybe not…

  19. Peter

    It’s great that all these candidates, so far, made strong statements for Dunedin’s heritage. It is ironic that Christchurch has become even more aware of its heritage buildings since the earthquake, and wants to make good with what it has, while Dunedin, I believe, is presently speeding up the destruction of its heritage buildings under the present council.

  20. kate

    The problems of campaigning and the responsibilities of office can clash. At this time of uncertainty of the mix of new Councillors and how a new council will be constituted, and the roles that Councillors might have it might be best that not all candidates do comment. Maybe they should keep their comments general. Specifics are nice for the electorate – and last time we had good examples of policy candidates could have been clearer about, this I believe might require slightly less specifics.

  21. kate

    Totally understand that – which has priority – the strategy or the District Plan, what is the law – and what is argued are all matters that may or may not be appealed or accepted – by the Council – but if those that are elected all have compromised themselves by making a public statement before being on the Council, then they might need to stand down from making that decision – is that a good thing? Not so certain.

    • Elizabeth

      Hell, Kate, that sounds like the stadium situation at the last local authority elections :D

      • Elizabeth

        ### September 20, 2010 – 8:51pm
        Historic Places Trust disappointed with Princes Street demolition
        The New Zealand Historic Places Trust is seriously disappointed with the news that four buildings in Princes Street are marked for demolition. The organisation believes one of the buildings is not of historic value, but a national site of archaeological significance.
        See Video

  22. kate

    Yes it might sound like that – but it is different – as you are aware there is a legal process that runs through this process unlike the Stadium support. And in order to ensure that a Council can competently make a decision without having to withdraw because they had made a public statement, there is some merit in you continuing to campaign and ensure Councillor candidates are aware of the issue, but you also need a Council able to make a decision without giving anyone a further reason to appeal.

    I might have the law wrong and at times I have been frustrated with this sort of line within Council on a range of issues, but there is a line – where that should be placed is the issue for debate, not that it is there.

    Elizabeth from your experience where should that line be in this case – and what would happen if every councillor candidate took up the opportunity here to devoutly uphold the heritage strategy despite the District Plan or as well as the District Plan – are they able to appear or assist on mediation of appeals? I am still learning myself and I m sure where that line is drawn wil vary between local authorities but from my training I take a fairly rigid line – fault of the profession!

    • Elizabeth

      Kate, the Heritage Strategy requires further development as well as integration and connection with other DCC strategies, of which there are many sitting in various silos. Because you’re not involved in the Prista Apartments Ltd consent decision I don’t see a conflict of interest in presenting, as a councillor standing for re-election, your ideas for historic heritage as an economic resource, anywhere! Or sustainable environment! I’m searching high and low. Nope.

      {Who is the Chair of Dunedin City Council’s Planning and Environment Committee just now. Is it up for grabs. -Eds}

  23. kate

    Michael Guest.

    I have no position of note in this case but should we have a substantially different Council at the whim of the electorate some Councillors need to have not commented on the actual case = and the invitation earlier was this case. I may not have a role, or be a Councillor in the next Council, but that does not stop the need for ensuring that there are some options going forward. Your earlier post puts the Prista decision and heritage views in one sentence.

    If you want to know my ideas generally that is different, but off to a meeting.

  24. kate

    AGM of hall redevelopment committee — great group – lots of great fundraising to ensure our centurian hall can be used for the next 100 years – despite DCC staff suggesting that we pull it down and start again! So I think I did not run away I walked the walk rather than talking the talk!

    So far have raised funds to put in new hot water system, new bench and dishwasher….

    So I believe Dunedin – including out here – has some fantastic heritage which is a point of difference and needs to be acknowledged, nurtured and communities, not necessarily Council, need to be challenged as to how they can reuse them well and productively. I think rules need to promote ability to restore, rather than neglect – can we rate on a dereliction ratio – the more derelict you rate higher – encouraging investment? I believe that the reuse committee will come up with some really good ideas that Council will need to consider adopting.

    Can we save every building? No, but we also need to ensure that we dont put the full weight of Building consents and earthquake reinforcing on the landowner – not all at once anyway so maybe a targetted long term rate – seems better than others I know of- and some serious lobbying to Wellington to assist – reinforce now is cheaper than reinstating later.

    Then there are the issues of private rights…. and that is interesting for you and me Elizabeth with our rural hats on. Sorry no straight forward answer but I stand on decisions I have made in my own life – live in 115 year old house, renovated 100 year old cottage for cafe rather than pulling down and starting again. And not running away but have some more things to do.

  25. Stu

    For heritage vandalism, you still can’t beat Wellington on a good day:

    • Elizabeth

      Love the last line of that item…

      “The council regretted any oversight in not alerting the trust.”

      Oh, how sad. Did we overlook something? OMG, so we did.

      Was aware of the situation but always good to see in print, interesting…there’s some other content that has implications for the local, as much as it does for Christchurch and other centres. But let’s go up a notch, say, make that implications “nationally”. A large thrashing pending.

  26. Elizabeth

    UPDATE (see my earlier comment)

    Election candidates who support historic heritage in light of the decision for 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St, Dunedin…

    Dave CULL – mayoral candidate; Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Lee VANDERVIS – mayoral candidate; Independent candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Lindsay SMITH – Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Bev BUTLER – Independent candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Richard THOMSON – Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Hendrik KOCH – Community VISION candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Olive McRAE – Independent candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Shane GALLAGHER – Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Jinty MacTAVISH – Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward
    Sam MANN – Greater Dunedin candidate, DCC Central Ward

    Click here
    to read their comments.

    Are there others?

    What exactly does the good stewardship and protection of historic heritage mean to each of the candidates? Some candidates know enough to be explicit, others maybe not…

  27. Others: Samuel Mann (submitted to ODT earlier today).

    I firmly believe that the heritage buildings south of the Octagon are in the top three of Dunedin’s assets (along with people and natural resources). The gaping hole that used to be the Century Theatre is perhaps the city’s biggest embarrassment. The decision to allow demolition of the Princes St [Four] is regrettable. The Disneysque replacement of the facades is, well, farcical. This is yet another example of a Council that doesn’t seem to have a plan, and if it does, ignores it….

    ODT Online Link

  28. Elizabeth

    My comment to Anna Chinn’s blogpost ‘Distressed jeans: an election issue’ at ODT Online:

    372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St
    Submitted by ej kerr on Sun, 26/09/2010 – 6:53pm.

    Samuel Mann says, “The decision to allow demolition of the Princes St Three is regrettable.”

    Clarification: the Resource Consent decision grants the demolition of five buildings in total. Four of these are located on Princes Street and have their facades protected in the District Plan, and are subject to the heritage provisions for the South Princes Street Townscape Precinct (TH 04), as provided for in the District Plan. The four protected facades (Refs. B486-B490, Schedule 25.1) and the five buildings themselves (pre-1900 structures) form a significant component of the Precinct.

    The intention of the Dunedin City Council publication South Princes Street Townscape Precinct (Design Guideline), produced for use in association with the District Plan, is to conserve identifed facades within the area and ensure new work is completed in a manner that enhances the visual integrity of the Precinct.

    Referring to the Guideline, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, in submission to the hearing on 19 August 2010, says:

    “We note that at least three of the images in this document are of buildings that are proposed to be demolished by this development. We also note that under the heading ‘Demolition’ it states ‘The demolition of these significant buildings in Princes Street is actively discouraged as it is recognised that their facades are integral to the character of the street’. That sounds pretty good and positive in a Council document. It goes on further to state: ‘It is desirable that the precinct is further enhanced through the restoration of historic buildings.’ Great. So what has happened here with this application?”

    The Trust goes further:

    “This collection of historic buildings constitutes a large section of the cultural landscape of Princes Street and thus the Dunedin central business area. The proposed design does not consider adequately the impact of the demolition of the buildings on this landscape and the loss of a very large section of Dunedin’s founding heritage.”

    If local residents support the good stewardship and protection of Dunedin’s historic heritage, in particular the aforementioned buildings, they should contact submitters as soon as possible.

    Elizabeth Kerr

    ODT Online Link

  29. Stu

    The “other project” is a go.
    Details announced tomorrow.

  30. Stu

    And can finally talk about it.

    Renee Lee came up with a gem of an idea – to provide an augmented reality experience of Dunedin’s heritage, arts and culture. This was presented at the Hearings into potential reuse of Carisbrook.

    Working as a collaborative, Tim Calder, Renee, Pierre-Em de la Bussiere and I have developed and refined the idea to include the development of an augmented reality platform that will enable users to roam around the city, seeing rich images of the history of buildings, locations and getting a real fun, engaging experience with the city as a whole.

    We back this up with a free wireless access layer that has been quietly constructed this year to provide coverage across a large portion of the central city and suburbs by my company (WIC). This allows us to deliver huge amounts of digital data onto the platform at very low cost.

    The potential of this platform is enormous. We believe it is groundbreaking. We are extremely pleased to have been granted project funding through the EDU’s Industry Project Fund, announced today.

    Renee will be the project lead to drive this through to delivery while local company iVisit will develop the platform.

    Renee’s blog post on this is at:

    Wicked Networks/WIC media release is on our Web page at


    {Stu’s comment has been upgraded to a post at What if? -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      DCC has given resource consent to demolish the buildings at 372-392 Princes Street and 11 Stafford Street. The five buildings date to the gold-rush era. Do we think the Heritage Festival is about making a point? Yes we do. Who briefs the festival director, she sure has been listening!


      ### ODT Online Sat, 2 Oct 2010
      Gold heritage festival to complement celebrations
      By Nigel Benson
      Otago’s gold heritage will be celebrated at the third Dunedin Heritage Festival, to be held next year. “Layers of Gold” will complement celebrations in Lawrence at Gabriels Gully to be held during Otago Anniversary weekend, from March 18 to 21.

      “Dunedin was built on layers of gold. It was through the discovery of gold in Gabriels Gully in 1861 that the city was developed.”
      – Sue Clarke, festival director

      Read more

  31. Richard

    I’m back, albeit briefly, to tidy-up this outstanding matter given that I was involved – for nearly two years – as a member of the Hearings Panel and unable to comment before now.

    Lost in nearly all the comment posted by those who were not involved in the Hearing (with, I think, Elizabeth the only exception), is that the the buildings involved in the application are not protected by the NZHPT or in the Dunedin [City] District Plan.

    The façades, of course, are protected and the reason why the application was ‘non-complying’. The decision thus turned on ‘townscape’ as set out in the letter of decision. On what the NZHPT have said in their filing, that will be argued further before the Environment Court.

    The one most noticeable thing that most – if not all – contributors to various threads on this subject have overlooked, is that there is a live consent (RMA-2005-369534) for the demolition of 386 Princes Street, retaining the façade, and for the redevelopment of the other Princes Street buildings.
    Again Elizabeth is an exception.

    The demolition consent was granted some time ago and agreed to by the New Zealand Historic Trust.

    That all said – and in the kindest way possible, Elizabeth – I am still puzzled as to why you came to the last of the Hearings and chose to “attack” the planner. Maybe it was because along with Peter E (but not the NZHPT!) you were one of the few who understood the import of the Interim Decision issued back in February. And which was, by the way, unanimous.

    Whatever it was quite confusing to the very helpful evidence you gave in February, from which I quote:
    “Ms Kerr tabled her written submission in opposition. She considered that if 386 Princes Street was to be demolished, it could be replaced by a replica or a contemporary building in scale. She considered that the townscape values were torn between heritage and contemporary design. The use of guidelines could lead to minimal standards. She agreed that the subject matter of her submission was wide ranging and some points were outside the scope of the Committee.”

    You and Peter E are one of the few who actively take an interest in these matters and “walk the talk”.

    Without wishing to sound patronising, that and the kind of comment you make as quoted above, is why you are both listened to with respect, even if there may be disagreement on some things.

    Now, were there any plaudits on this site for the decision in regard to the Countdown application and its heritage neighbour. I cannot remember but suspect not!


    {What if? published links to items appearing in the Otago Daily Times about the Progressive Enterprises Ltd application for a new Countdown supermarket in South Dunedin, as well as a link to the DCC decision, at DCC Media Release – South Dunedin. The decision was appealed and went to Environment Court mediation. The appeal is now headed to court. -Eds}

    • Elizabeth

      Richard, having received as a submitter a copy of the appeal I have a set number of days to consider whether to become a party to the appeal.

      How interesting you would cite that comment – as written by the DCC (planner?). For I didn’t write it.

      As my submissions state, oral and written, I am opposed to the application in its entirety. Therefore I oppose demolition of the facades, and the buildings. Nothing has changed about that, and you can make of that what you will, and have done so here – as well as at the hearings. How interesting you should come back “to tidy-up”.

      How disingenuous.


      Here, informally postulating, if the DCC wants the buildings gone as the FINAL decision states – then what’s to be done with the gaping hole.

      DCC of its own volition might choose to accept a ‘replica’ or a contemporary building in replacement from the applicant that fits with the South Princes Street Townscape Precinct rules as stated in the District Plan.
      Nothing more nothing less.

      However, my individual stance is NOT to support replicas – I have never ever supported replicas. And the DCC decision of what should happen in the Townscape Precinct is NOT my decision to make. If the DCC wants a replica, that is entirely its own business.

      I would point out too: That the applicant’s ‘design’ (see the drawings submitted by Gary Todd, architectural designer) is certainly NOT a replica, of the existing buildings in the existing townscape precinct.

      How disingenuous.

      [Indeed I stated to hearing, in answer to questions, that I don’t share the view of Peter Entwisle on the use of replicas. And as I have said to hearing, I support the ICOMOS Charter of New Zealand – which should tell you something, Richard.]

      Lastly, I didn’t write the comment you cite. DCC did.

      *Gary Todd is not a registered architect.

  32. Richard

    Your take on what ‘went down’ is one thing. The matter was explored at some depth in questioning. The panel can only make its decision on what is put before them in the hearing.

    Nothing disingenous about it.

    • Elizabeth

      Richard, can you supply a full formal transcript of question and answer time at the hearings? If not, you are in the realm of hearsay – and you have not supplied the full context necessary to “tidy-up”.

      I have my full notes and recollections – they are not a transcript.

      {For legal purposes a formal transcript should include the original sound recording to verify any written transcript supplied. -Eds}

  33. Richard

    There is no formal transcript of question and answer but the text I quoted relates to the proceedings of 14 December 2009. I referred to that in a question of you at the hearing on 12 February last.

    That said, I am not challenging your position which you made clear at the reconvened hearing on 19 August: (para 3) “My position has not changed. I seek that Council declines the application in its entirety”.

    You had a ‘fair go at things’ from your “p-o-v”, I just thought it worthwhile to record another without entering the debate on the decision itself.

    • Elizabeth

      Copy of the Appeal document has been added to the post at the top of this thread.

    • Elizabeth

      Richard’s “tidy-up” continues. Why so much housework of a Friday.

      ### ODT Online Fri, 08/10/2010 – 10:43am.
      Comment by Richard Walls on For the record
      Now that the appeal period has closed and as a member of the hearings panel, I wish to comment for the record…
      Read more


      Where is Richard heading with all this – with what effect on fellow commissioners? Is Richard trying to hold his own Appeal? No, sorry – we don’t get it, we really don’t.

  34. Richard

    Simple. “Lost in nearly all the comment posted by those who were not involved in the Hearing (with, I think, Elizabeth the only exception), is that the the buildings involved in the application are not protected by the NZHPT or in the Dunedin [City] District Plan.”

    The assumption that the BUILDINGS are protected is common to the threads here and at ODT Online.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 9 Oct 2010
      Appeal to save Princes St buildings from demolition
      By David Loughrey
      Heritage advocates have launched a last-ditch effort to save a group of Princes St, Dunedin, buildings at the centre of a drawn-out dispute.
      Read more

  35. Prista Apartments Ltd
    (subject site) 372-392 Princes Street and 11 Stafford Street, Dunedin

    Prista Apartments 372-392 Princes St, Dunedin (IMG_8407a1)District plan protected facades, 372-392 Princes Street

    JGillies schematic architectural history (2a) AMENDED 19.6.13 (EK) – Schematic architectural history by Jackie Gillies + Associates

    Note: There original schematic by Jackie Gillies carries a confusion, as pointed out by a colleague this evening. The schematic has been roughly amended here (via Photoshop). The building at 368 Princes Street, corner Stafford Street, is clearly dated ‘1932’ on the parapet. Architectural historian David Murray argues 368 Princes Street is a Robert Lawson design (1874) that incorporates the earlier David Ross building from 1862. Lawson’s authorship is well proved. The building at 372 Princes Street followed in 1879 and is ‘presumed’ Lawson because decoration and other elements replicated those of the corner building. Dr Murray believes 372 was built for the same client (not yet confirmed), and it’s possible the design is only ‘after’ Lawson. In 1932 the buildings were remodelled in the same style, to be seen as a continuation of each other (the contrasting modern paint schemes partly obscure the reading).

    New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga v Dunedin City Council

    The resource consent application was notified in 2008. The decision of the Dunedin City Council Hearings Committee was released in 2010. NZHPT appealed the decision. Expert caucusing has occurred to date. NZHPT has recently reduced the scope of its appeal.

    By mail yesterday (in brief):

    Notice of Hearing
    Topic: Appeal against consent decision regarding demolishing the facades and buildings at 372-392 Princes Street and 11 Stafford Street and construction of two replacement buildings.

    [Topic Number: ENV-2010-309-000012]
    [Court reference: ENV-2010-CHC-000242]

    An Environment Court hearing has been set down for 15 July 2013 at Dunedin unless the parties request:
    (a) Withdrawal from proceedings
    (b) Adjourn (postpone) hearings to a later date
    (c) Approve settlements agreed to all by the parties.

    Initiator: New Zealand Historic Places Trust
    Respondent: Dunedin City Council
    Applicant: Prista Apartments Ltd
    Interested Party S274: Entwisle, Peter
    Interested Party S274: Kerr, Elizabeth

    • ### ODT Online Tue, 23 Jul 2013
      Deal could be close on Princes St buildings
      By Chris Morris
      A compromise could be close as heritage building advocates and a developer continue to haggle over the fate of a block of Princes St buildings in a protected Dunedin townscape. Details of the possible deal came as talks continued between Prista Apartments and heritage building advocates over the fate of the buildings at 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St. The buildings have been the subject of debate since Prista Apartments, headed by Christchurch developer Luke Dirkzwager, was granted permission to demolish them in 2010. He planned to replace them with a development featuring 15 apartments, retail space and new facades that referenced the originals. The plans stalled when the New Zealand Historic Places Trust appealed, and the buildings have remained while parties on both sides talked as they waited for an Environment Court hearing.
      Read more


      As sent to ODT Online (and as a Letter to the editor) this morning:

      Deal could be close on Princes St buildings so goes the headline. This appears presumptious.

      I’m one of two s274 parties (RMA 1991) to the appeal brought by New Zealand Historic Places Trust against the Dunedin City Council decision on the resource consent application lodged by Prista Apartments Ltd. (ENV-2010-242)

      Apart from providing briefs of evidence to the Court, s274 parties have not been part of formal conferencing or expert caucussing to date.

      The formal advice I received yesterday is that discussions are ongoing, and nothing has changed.

      The views expressed by the s274 party contacted for this story are entirely his own.

      Elizabeth Kerr (Interested Party)

  36. Hype O'Thermia

    Best wishes. The struggle against people with shallow definitions of “progress” goes on, thanks to a few dedicated people representing people like me whose energy doesn’t quite reach from A to B.

  37. Prista Apartments Ltd

    ### ODT Online Wed, 8 Jan 2014
    Princes St developer hopes for progress within weeks
    By Chris Morris
    Luke Dirkzwager, of Prista Apartments in Christchurch, was granted permission in 2010 to demolish the buildings at 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St. Environment Court staff in Christchurch were not available yesterday, but Mr Dirkzwager told the Otago Daily Times his legal team and designers were still talking to NZHPT representatives. Changes were still being discussed, but he hoped to reach agreement by the end of the month that would avoid the need for a court hearing.
    Read more

    A Joint Memorandum of Counsel was forwarded to the Environment Court on 6 December 2013. Since then no further correspondence has been received. The month that has passed since prompted me to email all parties, including the court registrar, this afternoon. —Elizabeth Kerr, s274 Party

  38. Yesterday, the ODT was told agreement on a compromise was edging closer, although it would require agreement from all parties. –ODT (my emphasis)

    ### ODT Online Wed, 5 Feb 2014
    Development plan agreement closer
    By Chris Morris
    Agreement on a contested plan to build an apartment and retail development in a protected Dunedin townscape appears to be edging closer. Environment Court staff in Christchurch yesterday confirmed they were awaiting consent documents from the parties, which could result in a compromise agreement in negotiations over the planned development at 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St. Discussions between lawyers representing Mr Dirkzwager and the trust have been continuing, while other parties have been kept informed.
    Read more

    Communication with the two s274 parties to appeal has been minimal and dismissive. It is my view that s274 parties are deliberately kept out of ‘group’ discussions by the lawyers acting for NZHPT, DCC and the developer.

    Since when are lawyers, of the sort involved here (a legal free-for-all presumes), blessed with the ability to competently discuss design and aesthetic matters?? At this time we are all restricted to dealing with protected heritage facades and potential for a new infill facade to Princes St.

    Worse, the solution as it’s progressing seems dependent on the knackered thinking of one consulting architect for DCC (refers to himself as a “heritage architect”; has no formal accreditation to back the claim; is by no means of the calibre of Jeremy Salmond of Auckland, not even close — DCC is remiss to use this man for consenting matters requiring building conservation and heritage expertise); and a Christchurch architect that can’t detail anything with sensitivity, ham-fisted is the impression. Both architects seem to be defeated by scale, detail, materiality, bulk and proportion — their renderings to date have been abyssmal.

    Let’s see where this goes.

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