DCC comments ahead of court action, why?

DCC admits mistake as case back to court

Local businessman Doug Hall obtained a High Court injunction in August last year, upset at the impact the highway realignment was having on access to his property on Anzac Ave. Mr Hall shall have his day in court which is the only proper place to settle matters of this import against the council’s historic actions.

DCC have been playing silly beggars to date; the council’s comments in the Otago Daily Times today are further proof. The council has accepted it erred by failing to notify Mr Hall, as an affected party, during the land designation process undertaken prior to the highway realignment’s construction.

“We said, when looking at it after a bit of a discussion, we should have involved him. We’ve said we’ll re-do the designation process.” -Tony Avery

The second designation will mean extra legal, planning and staff costs for the council, “although Messrs Hamilton and Avery could not say how much the council had spent to date on the dispute”.

‘Could not say’ or ‘would not say’?
What else isn’t Dunedin City Council saying.

Related Post and Comments:
23.8.11 Stadium project tangles

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Geography, Media, People, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

32 responses to “DCC comments ahead of court action, why?

  1. Russell Garbutt

    I remember vividly, talking to a current DCC Councillor and telling him that there was High Court action going on – he had not even heard about it. And he fits into the category of one of the more able. Question. Were Councillors informed of this action? If not, why?

  2. Hype O'Thermia

    The unelected staff prefer to cultivate mushrooms. It’s nice and quiet that way.

  3. Anonymous

    Legal costs so far are in the 7 figures, my little bird tells me.
    Note that: so far.

    This card will be the one that brings the whole house down. Councillors would be horrified if they knew what had been done by staff. Without SH88 realignment, there was no RWC at FBS. It’s that big.

  4. Phil

    If they knew ? It’s their job to know.

  5. Russell Garbutt

    Anonymous – care to spell out how this particular house of cards will be bought down?

  6. Anonymous

    Russell, if the High Court case goes deep enough, deposition of a certain Manager to detail how and why the land purchases for SH88 were done, with documentation in court. As Elizabeth points out, incompetence is one thing, deliberate oversight is another and malfeasance is in the domain of professional negligence. For example, you couldn’t legally construct a highway which breached the District Plan? Without notification? Or you couldn’t deliberately find a way to avoid notified consent around a property by artificially altering a boundary? Could you? There’s a reason why the realignment has more curves than the original, but it doesn’t prevent a breach of the District Plan (allegedly).

    The audit trail of who negotiated the sale of which properties, from whom and when would be entirely revealing.

    Without SH88, there was no stadium for RWC2011.
    Without RWC2011, there was no new stadium.
    Without the purchase of the disputed property, there was no legal realignment possible.
    Whether or not the current realignment is strictly legal is debatable.
    The DCC knew that to notify consent would lead them down a path of having to purchase the property. They haven’t realised yet that there is no way for them to avoid compensating the property owner, either through mediation, Environment Court, Public Works Act, whatever. While the legal costs are currently in the 7 figures, the potential compensation is in the 8s. The DCC as you may be aware, does not have an 8-figure sum kicking around. That money went away with the SH88 land purchases from other well-known figures and led to the demolition of a heritage building (Shaw Savill), which was unnecessary and originally unplanned.

    They may also be in breach of the Local Government Act for failing to properly notify, and consultation after the fact is not adequate. Should one wish to push the buttons, this is a big can of worms.

  7. Russell Garbutt

    I can see what you mean. I think it is time that the right information was provided to the right places to ensure that we get some transparency. I am aware that there will be a visit to town shortly by a person that may be able to ensure that exactly this happens. I’m sure that if you were to contact the appropriate people at this site then we may be able to ensure that this happens – if we can make direct contact.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    The problem is the ‘dicks’ in the DCC are ‘hoist on their own petard’ over this. They tried to screw the owner by offering a pittance for his land, with the overbearing implication that it is a take it or leave it deal. The owner said p..s off and sharpen your pencil, I want the same price per sq metre that you paid the others for the SH88 properties and the stadium. The dicks played hardball and the owner said OK, I’ll see you in court. Hence the injunction stopping the clearing of the intersection. It is the only access the owner has to his property. Watch the court take the DCC to the cleaners and there will be red faces all round, with some probably departing. It doesn’t have long to go now, so watch this space.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    {Comment moved to relevant thread. -Eds}

  10. Phil

    {Comment moved to relevant thread. -Eds}

  11. Interesting to see fresh paint marking on the intersection today. Do they think they’ll be turning the lights on next week, or are they planning to set it up as a pedestrian crossing, but leave the traffic uncontrolled? Time will tell I guess. Some clever people have worked out that they can used the closed ramp to the overbridge as parking – they’ll be disappointed if this gets resolved too quickly…

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sun, 22 Apr 2012
        New road gets top coat for winter
        By Chris Morris
        The State Highway 88 realignment beside the Forsyth Barr Stadium has passed a milestone after being given a new seal, Dunedin City Council staff say. Council projects engineer Evan Matheson said the road had been given its “second coat” seal in recent days, at a cost of $48,350, paid for by the council.
        Read more


        ### ODT Online Sat, 21 Apr 2012
        Beams signal progress on harbour pathway
        Dunedin’s State Highway 88 walking and cycling path will progress this weekend when beams are placed on a bridge linking new sections of the project. A bridge on the new Maia to St Leonards section will have beams placed on it by a crane, which will be used to lower the precast concrete deck units over one of two outlets draining the Otago harbourside lagoons. Construction by Delta Utility Services of the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) project began in February.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ch9.co.nz April 24, 2012 – 5:52pm
          Traffic light dispute may soon be resolved
          A dispute that has left a set of traffic lights in Anzac Avenue shrouded in black plastic may soon be resolved.

          Note: Thu 26 April – High Court hearing before Justice Alan MacKenzie, of Wellington.

  12. “Urbanized” : this film in the Festival at the Regent might be interesting :

  13. Anonymous

    “Envirowaste representatives chairman Kim Ellis, managing director Gary Saunders and South Island manager Kevin Edgar were at yesterday’s ceremony, alongside Fullcircle general manager James Flexman and Mr Royce, Mr Hall and council staff, including chief executive Paul Orders.”

  14. Elizabeth

    Wonder what went down at the High Court today.

  15. Anonymous

    Seems that DCC will spend another 12 months saving up so that they can afford the settlement…

  16. Russell Garbutt

    How come the DCC staff have been allowed to let this fiasco develop to the extent it has, and then continue the process? I believe that Councillors had no idea that High Court action was being taken. True? Can someone explain precisely just what went on with this mess including all the associated land deals etc?

  17. Calvin Oaten

    This is like an episode from ‘Yes Minister’. Comic Opera at its best. Tony Avery is so beautifully cast as to wonder why he is not on the stage instead of ‘buffooning’ around in council chambers. He couldn’t organise a ‘pissup’ in a brewery

    • Elizabeth

      Detail of reportage from the High Court proceeding, yesterday:

      “Council counsel Malcolm Couling said it believed the purpose of the hearing was that Mr Hall – who opposed activation of the traffic lights, because his advice was it would create an unsafe intersection – was seeking a mandatory injunction to keep the interim arrangement in place until a permanent solution could be agreed. But presiding judge Justice Alan MacKenzie, of Wellington, said Mr Hall had that promise already in a previous court order. That meant yesterday’s hearing must be about the council seeking to alter the status quo by turning on the traffic lights. However, given the wording of the previous court order, he questioned what legal basis there was for him to order any changes to the interim arrangement.”

      “The hearing was set down for several days, but after lunch the court was adjourned while the parties reached an agreement to maintain the interim arrangement until the redesignation process was complete, or until a further application for an alteration to the temporary arrangement was made to the court.”
      ODT Online

  18. Why doesn’t Hall pull his head in? It’s OUR pockets he’s trying to rape, and he will given half a chance.

    • Elizabeth

      Having to go through a re-designation process clearly shows in resource management and planning terms that the Dunedin City Council acted outside the law with the first designation process. That is major. ODT hasn’t got a handle on that enormity yet. The council is fully to blame. Councillors have no idea what went down. The ‘correction’ (required legally) affects ‘more’ landowners and involves public consultation. If your council staff cut corners to get a road realignment in before RWC, there are severe consequences.

      Further, Mr Hall and his counsel are very far from being thrown ‘out of court’ for pursuing property rights in relation to the above, in the attempt to reach fair settlement as a result of what will become an INFAMOUS breach.

  19. Calvin Oaten

    My sympathies are fully with Doug Hall on this one ‘wirehunt’. First they designed the stupid “Gyratory” all over his property without such a courtesy of informing him of their ideas. Then they paint him into a corner with a take it or leave it offer to purchase. All he asked for was a price commensurate with that paid for the stadium land offered to others and for state highway 88 realignment, plus options for relocation to continue his business. No more, no less, and that’s fair. The game of ‘hardball’ played by council has backfired and it is on the back foot big time.

    • Elizabeth

      Fri, 27/04/2012 – 12:04pm. farsighted Debacle? Agreed

      Other contributors at ODT Online speak of council incompetence. This is completely erroneous. The original designation was deliberately an exercise by council staff to avoid due process – there are NO other explanations possible or feasible, although I’m sure DCC’s legal team will dream up every last fairytale to try and lessen the freight train driving straight at council.

      You can also look at CSCT. City Planning. City Property. And Opus International. For starters. But in the end Dunedin City Council is the requiring authority. Buck stops there.

  20. Phil

    It’s a bit murky, but am I right in concluding that DCC went to court seeking something that had already been agreed upon ?

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    You’re right, Calvin. Remember the price for stadium land was sky-high compared with valuation BEFORE Our Malc declared that that was the one and only place to build the grand Fubar. So land-owners – oddly enough, and it is of course the wildest coincidence just who they turned out to be – demanded top-and-a-half dollar for their erstwhile rubbishy properties.
    Compare and contrast how Doug Hall has been treated, wirehunt, and ask yourself why he should shaddup and say, “Gee thanx guys for the pittance, I’m honoured to have had you rampage over my property doing whatever you wanted to do without so much as asking me over for a cuppa and a chat.” He has without lifting a finger – in fact because of people who should have known better lifting a middle finger and holding it under his nose – found himself in a position where (a) his business has been inconvenienced bigtime and (b) he has been disrespected even biggertime. He’s human, just as human as those who benefited so nicely from other stadium land etc largesse. Did they say, “Oh, last year’s valuation will be a fair price esp seeing it’s for a great asset for the city and Rugby.” Did they ‘eck! Go Doug! It’s time there was a “learning experience” for the rat-infested DCC hulk and who fail in her.

    • Elizabeth


      ‘And another thing’ at today’s ODT editorial (page 8) only goes to show head bummers at the paper haven’t woken up to the import of Doug Hall’s mandatory injunction as it relates to Dunedin City Council’s underhandedness with the original designation. That’s what you get when editors believe Council’s gospel truth ahead of rival newspapers hitting them between the eyes.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    “Our truth is as valid as your truth.”

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