What is a public place? Not the ‘Civic Plaza’ or the entrance to Dunedin Public Library.

Tweet (13 Jan 2010 9:20 PM):

@JournoMan ODT photographer accosted by security and council manager outside library today. His crime? Um, photographing the building… #mediaskills


### ODT Sat, 15 Jan 2010 (page 35)
Prester John’s Talk of the Times
Every picture tells a story
One of our photographers tells me he had a puzzling experience this week when he was trying to take a picture of the entrance to the Dunedin Public Library from the plaza. A security guard told him he needed permission from the DCC to do so because it was not a public place, an attitude also shared by a library staff member who joined the discussion. It must have been a quiet day! I’ve no doubt the council does own the land where our photographer stood, but isn’t this taking privacy matters just a little too far? I understand the whole episode was captured by the council’s security cameras.


Prester John’s item, available in print and digital editions of the newspaper, is reproduced here as a follow-up to the tweet received, and served with a large dose of incredulity.

“Paranoia to the People!”

Another thing, how quiet it is on the City Property mission to replace painted signage on the Moray Place elevation of the Library building (see the wall to the public footpath, now painted dark gray). We were to receive, whether we liked it or not, a new ‘super graphic’ in time for the libraries’ conference held in November but something went wrong. Was resource consent required after all, to significantly change the colour of the wall, and to introduce the graphic (buildings as signs) in the precinct?

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, People, Pics, Politics

18 responses to “What is a public place? Not the ‘Civic Plaza’ or the entrance to Dunedin Public Library.

  1. Anonymous

    Pogue mahone.

    “Public place means a place that, at any material time, is open to or is being used by the public, whether free or on payment of a charge, and whether any owner or occupier of the place is lawfully entitled to exclude or eject any person from that place; and includes any aircraft, hovercraft, ship or ferry or other vessel, train, or vehicle carrying or available to carry passengers for reward”

  2. UglyBob

    A similar aside: I was interested to be told yesterday by a DVML staff member, when having my request politely declined to gain access to the stadium site to take blog photos, that I was welcome to take photos from the street – this of course came as quite a revelation that Dunedin streets are indeed public places. As for the decline, well that’s the call of the project manager, DVML etc but it will be interesting to see what public access is given to the facility post August 2011.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 19 Aug 2011
      Editorial: Our public spaces violated
      Perhaps vandalism should prompt disappointment and irritation rather than the stronger emotion of ire. After all, it involves property rather than more serious personal violence and the attacks are on public facilities, not personal possessions.

      We should feel violated and hurt when our public places are damaged because they are ours and they are important to us. If we do not care and we do not work to undo the damage, then vandalism will escalate and civic pride will have dissipated.

      Read more

  3. Phil

    And that’s why it costs $100,000 to build a set of public toilets. Despite Cr Vandervis knowing better, being the son of a builder and therefore having an indepth and expert knowledge of construction costs. Public facilites have to literally be bomb proof to survive the attention of the local idiots. I remember when a group of bright young hopes toured the city in one night and ripped out every stainless steel toilet pan from every public toilet in the city. That one act used up all the public toilet maintenance budget for the entire year. It’s not like renovating Grandma’s bathroom.

  4. Anonymous

    Who builds a $40 million building in the 21st Century with entry/exit doors that open inwards? The University of Otago, that’s who.

  5. Phil

    According to the Building Code: “Doors on escape routes (and one would assume that a main entry/exit door is an escape route) shall be hung
    to open in the direction of escape, and where escape may be in either direction doors shall swing both ways.”

    It’s a great common sense rule. There have been many deaths overseas as a result of inward opening doors being unable to open because of the volume of people jammed up against the door trying to get out. I was surprised to find in Europe that they don’t have the same requirement. In many cases the entrance/exit doors are locked during business hours and require a key or tag to exit. That’s expressly forbidden in NZ. Doors can be locked, but they must always be able to be opened from the inside without the use of any extra equipment.

  6. Anonymous

    The doors into the Unipol lobby open inwards. I was shocked, for the reasons above. Crush of people trying to escape a building will naturally open an outward-swinging door, but become trapped against an inward-swinging one.

    I’m assuming that because this door is at right-angles to the building face, it isn’t considered as an escape route. However, that would mean that the escape route was further along the front face of the building, the main entry to the Plaza cafe, which is not the shortest route if you are standing in Unipol lobby.

    • Elizabeth

      Will take a look, there shouldn’t be any guessing in a building evacuation…

    • Elizabeth

      I hope someone’s created a mild stampede to test the doors.

      ### ch9.co.nz February 14, 2012 – 6:31pm
      Brand new Unipol Gymnasium and Recreation Centre
      Many a former Otago University or Polytechnic student will have been familiar with the Unipol fitness facility based beside the Hocken Library on Anzac Avenue. Those former students are likely to be envious of the new toys current students have to play with – particularly the brand new Unipol Gymnasium and Recreation Centre.

  7. Phil

    Strictly speaking an escape route is any direct path leading from an occupied area to a safe place where people can disperse. That could be the exit doors, or it could be at the end of a driveway. So even if the doors aren’t officially designated as fire exits, if they lead to a safe dispersal place then they should be meeting the requirements for escape route doors.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth, it’s easy. Those in city hall have been head butting doors for decades. It shows.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    Anybody heard lately how much of the University’s $10 million, as pledged by Malcolm, has gone to the stadium? Last I heard it was just $1.5 million. Next we will be told that the ‘Unipol’ will be part of the stadium. This is another one of the ‘great silences’ which abound in the stadium finances.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 25 Apr 2012
      Unipol expected to keep student focus
      By Vaughan Elder
      The Otago University Students Association (OUSA) is confident the Unipol recreation centre will remain student-focused, after it sold its share of the facility to the University of Otago for a total of $666,000. The decision to sell its share to the university came as OUSA was having to dish out at least $1 million in extra capital to meet its share of the cost of shifting Unipol into the University Plaza at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Apr 2012
        Room for everyone in Unipol at the Plaza
        By Vaughan Elder
        The University of Otago’s new Unipol recreation centre in the University Plaza at Forsyth Barr Stadium has proven popular with students and visit have increased 40% compared with last year, before the facility shifted.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Oh no! More door problems, and the coffee…

          ### ODT Online Sun, 10 Jun 2012
          Opinion: Your Say
          Unipol Gym access for Hobbits
          By greyfox
          Recently I visited the new Unipol Gym for a session in the downstairs weights and aerobics rooms. Expecting to egress these rooms through the groundfloor doors, I was advised to take 2 flights of stairs up to a landing then 2 flights down (a stairwell that was more suited to Hobbits than myself.)
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Fri, 19 Apr 2013
          Design awards for South
          By John Gibb
          The University of Otago Plaza at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin has featured in the latest New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Awards. Architectural and design firm Jasmax won an Award of Excellence at the institute’s annual Resene Pride of Place Awards, announced recently in Auckland, for design work on the plaza area. The award in the commercial-industrial-institutional design category recognises best practice and quality landscape architecture works in New Zealand.
          Read more

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    OR, following precedent, it’s $10 million but $10,010,101 went on salaries and expenses…….

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