Expedience: Dunedin City Council’s blunt instrument to demolish listed buildings

Resource Consent Application: LUC-2011-567
191 King Edward Street, Dunedin

Senior planner Campbell Thomson addressing the Applicant on behalf of the Dunedin City Council as at 27 January 2012, writes:

[excerpt, page 1]
“Your application for land use consent for the demolition of an existing building listed in Schedule 25.1 of the District Plan and located within a townscape precinct, at 191 King Edward Street, Dunedin, was processed on a non-notified basis in accordance with sections 95A to 95F of the Resource Management Act 1991. The application was considered by a Senior Planner under delegated authority on 27 January 2012.

“I advise that the Council has granted consent to the application with conditions. The decision and condition are shown on the attached certificate.”

Under ‘Planning Assessment’, Mr Thomson states:

[excerpt, page 3]
Affected Persons
No written consents were submitted with the application. No parties are considered to be adversely affected by this proposal for the reasons outlined below in the section headed Effects on the Environment. It is noted that the New Zealand Historic Places Trust were consulted as a Statutory Body with an interest in the proposal. Their concerns will be addressed through the requirement for an Archaeological Authority which applies to the proposal. There are no special circumstances which warrant notification of this application. While demolition of heritage or townscape buildings generally raises issues of public interest, in this case, the structural condition of the building has reached a state whereby removal of the building façade has become necessary as a matter of public safety. The key environmental issue relevant to this proposal is how to mitigate the loss of the building.”

It is unreasonable and erroneous, in the context provided by the letter writer, for the Dunedin City Council to state that “the New Zealand Historic Places Trust were consulted”.

It is unreasonable and erroneous of the Council to claim “No parties are considered to be adversely affected by this proposal”, supported by following paragraphs that do not mitigate the wrongfulness of the unjust premise.

The letter granting consent carries other instances of pomposity and disregard for due process. Where does natural justice fit?

This forum isn’t the appropriate place to debate glaring technicalities, in light of what ‘affected party’ status requires as a burden of care on the part of the Dunedin City Council. Suffice to say, the Council is telling porkies.

Furthermore, the Dunedin City Council cannot hope to reduce or limit the work, powers and functions of the autonomous Crown Entity, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, empowered under the Historic Places Act 1993, to just that of regulatory responsibilities regarding archaeological sites — for the Council’s own undemocratic purposes.

Certainly, not by Mr Thomson’s convenient slip of the Council’s red pen.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

### D Scene 22.2.12
Opinion: Protecting heritage (page 7)
By Owen Graham
When is a heritage building protected, and when is it not? That question is one that deserves closer attention as the effects of building neglect become more apparent in our city. In the coming months more gaps will occur in our city heritage precincts, particularly with buildings in Rattray St and King Edward St being readied for demolition. They were not damaged by earthquakes, rather by successive owners who have opted to diminish their attractiveness, economic viability and historical significance in what ultimately results in demolition by neglect. {continues} #bookmark

• Owen Graham is the New Zealand Historic Places Trust area manager (Otago/Southland)

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Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Media, NZHPT, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

9 responses to “Expedience: Dunedin City Council’s blunt instrument to demolish listed buildings

  1. barbara neame

    Hi, I am an Otago University Student currently studying overseas in Canada. I am doing a project on Urban Development Conflicts and am looking at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. I was wondering if you could recommend someone I could talk to who was/is against the stadium development? I just want to ask 2 or 3 questions about the project, preferably via email. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Barbara Neame

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    Bev Butler for reasons and a full detailed knowledge of the processes. Calvin Oaten for ongoing keeping track of where the money went / how much money appears to have gone but nobody’s saying / what numbers don’t add up no matter how many fingers you count on. After that you’re spoilt for choice. Russell Garbutt is one name but there are so many others too, highly intelligent, very well informed people from a variety of disciplines and practical experience who have looked at the financial aspects including the devastating opportunity cost; the probable usability (lack of – and proved right in every detail as time goes on); the who’s-up-who behind the scenes machinations – who’s benefiting from this since it’s obvious the ratepayers aren’t……… Hang about, there’ll be more suggestions coming up any minute I’m sure.

    • Elizabeth

      Further to Hype’s suggestions, Barbara, I will contact you offline because my expertise and training is in architecture and urban design. I have followed the stadium project along with the people Hype suggests since the beginning; I also provided urban design input (in group submission at hearing) to the commissioners for the stadium plan change. If that helps. I currently work as a built environment and heritage consultant in Dunedin.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, good stuff. As I said, there are SO many people with various overlapping areas of expertise who were against the project, because there were SO many reasons to predict that it was a monumentally stupid thing to do, except for those few who got very profitable windfalls out of it. I wonder what aspects she’s looking at.
    Barbara, would you like to give us a bit more of an idea what of the many angles you’re examining, that’ll help us to put you in touch with the people with most relevant info.

    • barbara neame

      Thanks very much, I will just email Elizabeth for now and see how I go. It is really just a broad overview at this stage for a 2nd year, 20 pg essay, describing the project, options and the main issues etc (although I guess it could turn into something bigger later on as there is just so much about it). I need to get input from both sides and make a recommendation on what I think should have been done/could have been done differently etc. I am writing this in Canada for the university here, so also need to describe things to them about Dunedin, the RWC etc.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    The main starting point is the way a certain faction, hand picked (why? by whom?) to investigate a mostly-rugby stadium presented the case that dismissed out of hand, and with little supporting evidence let alone opportunity for this to be debated more widely, retention of the famous Carisbrook ground which was functional – including being large enough for cricket to be played there – and launched into a high-pressure sales pitch for a brand new roofed stadium coincidentally on reclaimed land owned by certain people…. with difficult access (long way from motorway >> from airport traffic too) in one of the most crowded parts of town where university, polytech and hospital parking is at a premium. It started with lies and distortions and went on in the same direction, gathering more foolhardy, corrupt-looking, reckless decisions all along the way. A cargo cult mentality was encouraged, even baldly articulated: “Build it and they will come.” Generally speaking they haven’t, and those who do come won’t pay.

  5. amanda kennedy

    ….and now Crs Hudson, Brown and mates want us to pay, while they sail on and get re-elected due to a media, and the perpetrators’ disinterest in debt accountabilty. The next stage of the con? Cr Hudson and mates want to sell our assets to pay for their debt. Stakeholders (who supported the stadium debt) will be at the front of the line for nice cheap high paying assets (like water). So not only do Cr Hudson and mates get away with sticking the city with debt, they may possibly get a chance to buy those assets nice and quiety.

  6. amanda kennedy

    And the really interesting thing? Aside from media disinterest? Is national level politicians’ willingness for Dunedin people to be abandoned to the wolves. Another intriguing thing is observing corporate rugby implode. The rapaciousness this organisation shows and its inability to accept that impoverishing local people cannot win them over to go to games, and that you can’t get blood from a stone.

  7. DunedinPress

    {Comment moved to another thread. Relevance. -Eds}

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