Monthly Archives: November 2012

DScene: Dunedin needs “decisive leadership”

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### DScene 28 Nov 2012
Editorial
DCC needs to shape up (page 7)
By Mike Houlahan
Land transactions under investigation, illegal road building, a debt mountain, monumental building projects, possible credit downgrades. No, not some obscure Balkan country or African military dictatorship, but our home town. There is a vociferous body of opinion that Dunedin is going to hell in a hand cart and events of recent weeks have done nothing to persuade them otherwise.

Delta’s land transactions coming under Audit Office investigation, and a damning court verdict – which has seen Dunedin City Council cop a six-figure court costs order over the State Highway 88 realignment – follow an auditor’s report trying to establish the final cost of building the Forsyth Barr Stadium, and a controversial bailout of the Otago Rugby Union.

A “we will fight them on the beaches” opinion piece from Mayor Dave Cull last week sounded desperate. The announcement soon after from Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services that it had revised its outlook of Dunedin City Council from stable to negative made it look desperate, too. A negative outlook means a one-in-three chance of a credit downgrade in the next two years – unwelcome news for a city well in hock before it borrowed millions more to build the stadium.

The agency does offer a ray of hope – if the DCC’s budgets strengthen, as forecast, its rating could revert to stable. But having just stated doubts the DCC could achieve the financial targets in its long-term plan, Standard and Poor’s are going to take a lot of convincing all is well.

In response, Cull – sounding like a rugby captain before a test – said Dunedin “was up to the challenge of continued financial belt-tightening.” Sadly, in this comparison Dunedin is probably Scotland rather than the All Blacks. Quiet reassurance is no longer enough. If ratepayers are to have faith in the DCC as chamberlains of their assets, they will want to see decisive leadership.
#bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Economics, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning

Dunedin Amenities Society on district plan review

Received by email today.

The Dunedin Amenities Society have held strong concerns over aspects of the District Plan for some time, particularly over the way the Plan is integrated with management of public open space and reserves. Sites like the Town Belt are actually being hampered in their management by the imposition of the Urban Landscape Conservation Area rules, which fails to have regard for its status under the Reserves act 1977. The Minister of Conservation approved a management plan for the Town Belt in 2007, but what is the point if the District Plan overrides its principles.

The Society urges all members and people of Dunedin to consider how the reserve conservation areas that we have in Dunedin should be managed and how the District Plan should complement their management rather than impede it.

The Dunedin Amenities Society established in 1888 is New Zealand’s oldest environmental society.

Visit their website at www.dunedin-amenities-society.org.nz
Follow the Society on Twitter
Visit the Society on Facebook

Here is the latest update from the Society’s website:

A Conservation Conundrum
By daseditor

The Dunedin City Council is presently undertaking a review of the District Plan and that review will mean that the Dunedin Amenities Society will also be looking at the implications of those changes. The review includes looking at creating a new open space, reserves and recreation zone which would “reflect the different types of open space and recreation areas”. The current District Plan does not recognise reserve, conservation or recreation areas as distinct entities, but rather classifies them within the zone of the surrounding land. The problem with that approach is that the activities and land use that is associated with reserve, conservation or recreation sites is often quite distinct to the surrounding land use zones. Reserve sites such as the Town Belt are often over-arched with a wider zone classification such as the “Urban Landscape Conservation Area”. Thus the rules of the District Plan override the legal protection status of the reserve under the Reserves Act 1977 without fully understanding the nature of the reserve or its values. This creates inherent problems for reserves like the Town Belt when dealing with very real conservation management issues.
In one example the current District Plan actually hampers the ability of the Council to manage areas of high conservation significance. The rules (13.8.2) associated with the management of bush within Urban Landscape Conservation Areas have inadvertently protected the highly invasive Sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). Vegetation removal in these zones is a discretionary activity, which is infinitely sensible as it protects flora and fauna on private land. However, under the District Plan the rule “does not apply where the plants to be removed are listed in any Regional Pest Plant Management Strategy applying to the district of Dunedin City”. Here lies the conservation conundrum because sycamore is not included in the Otago Regional Council’s Pest Plant Management Strategy (that’s a whole other post at a later time). Which means that under the current Urban Landscape Conservation Area rules sycamore becomes classified as “bush” and the removal of individual mature seed bearing sycamore cannot be undertaken without resource consent.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under DCC, Media, Name, ORC, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

Proposed hotel, 41 Wharf Street – indicative landscape effects

The following images (scans of scans…) were supplied by Madeleine Lamont in submission on application LUC-2012-212. The text of Madeleine’s submission has been lightly edited for posting. Her submission as lodged (No. 422) can be viewed here: Submissions 401 to 509 (PDF, 6.9 MB).

1. View from Mornington Park, off Eglinton Rd between Stafford and High Sts

2. (zoom) View from Mornington Park, off Eglinton Rd

3. View from Bellevue St, Belleknowes, just below Highgate

4. View from Adam St, near Russell St, City Rise

Submission to Dunedin City Council
Re: Public Notice of application for Resource Consent Section 95A Resource Management Act 1991
Resource Consent Application No: LUC-2012-212
Name of Applicant: Betterways Advisory Limited
Location of Site: 41 Wharf Street, Dunedin, being the land legally described as
Lot 3 Deposited Plan 25158, held in Computer Freehold
Register OT17A/1107.

I submit in the strongest terms, that resource consent for the building of the proposed hotel structure on the above site, NOT BE GRANTED because of the structure’s significant, detrimental effects on the city landscape.

If the applicant had had the courtesy to supply comprehensive spatial design drawings of this structure in the context of the whole city, it would be obvious to all how inappropriate in SCALE this structure is. At 96m in elevation, the structure overbears the entire city and harbour basin, obstructing the entire city centre’s experience of the harbour, the peninsula and Dunedin’s nestling hills, offering an absurd conflict with the human scale and nature of both the historic and current character of city structures and city activities.

Of greatest concern are the western and eastern elevations of the structure. I submit Photo 1 taken from the lookout in Mornington Park, a view celebrated by Dunedin artists numerous times over the years, by visitors to the city and of course, by the hundreds of Dunedin households. The approximate silhouette of the proposed structure is drawn in to show the obstructive nature and ‘selfish’ size and position of the hotel. The scale of the building is completely inappropriate. Photo 2 is from the same position, zoomed in and marked with the Wharf St railway lighting tower measured at 35m used to indicate the dominance of the proposed 96.3m hotel structure. The eastern elevation from the peninsula suburbs too, will experience the overscale of the building against the city and hill suburbs.

Photo 3 taken, on zoom from Bellevue Street, Belleknowes, again includes the structure’s silhouette scaled off the marked rail light tower. If the cladding of the proposed tower is mainly glass, with it being so high above the city, the western sun will create issues of sun strike on roads leading down from the suburbs, and obviously, serious effects and obstruction to the views enjoyed by thousands of households.

Photo 4 is from lower down the Belleknowes spur, from Adam Street, with an estimated, but conservative profile (photo lacks a known structure to measure off) drawn. Again the aesthetic values and scale of the harbour basin are entirely offended by an ill considered structure.

What concerns me most about this application for resource consent to build an inappropriate structure (by position and scale), is the inadequacy of the supplied application documents to present the structure in the context of the city. Widely published images are fantasy, such as an elevated, high angle view from well above the harbour, attempting to diminish the perceived size of the structure. The only humans to view the structure from this angle, position and elevation may be those wealthy enough to, by helicopter. These images are notable for their lack of contextual structures that make, in fact, the character of Dunedin. Buildings of 2, 3 or more storeys set the scale appropriate for development and are absent from the application documents precisely to obscure the real affect this structure will have on the city’s landscape and its aesthetic values. Design consultancy information only focuses on the very immediate surroundings and contains no spatial plan for this giant structure in the context of the city. I have attempted to show how 120 degrees of the city centre and its hill suburbs will have their harbour and peninsula views and joy of place seriously obstructed. The peninsula suburbs will view a structure absurdly contradicting the city structures and rounded hill suburbs. All incoming transport links, as a special feature of this city, enjoy delightful revelation of the ‘great little city’, its harbour and the waters of the Pacific. These heartening views enjoyed by all, citizen and visitor, will be irretrievable spoiled and dominated by a tower designed (and possibly built) for a city the scale of Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.

Lastly, the attempt at this sort of inappropriate development is an affront to the careful planning [of] the city’s forefathers to create an egalitarian community enjoying the delightful natural environment Dunedin offers. The proposed structure stands at 96m. This is only a matter of metres below the elevation of much of the Green Belt. Jubilee Park is at a 100m elevation. The Green Belt designed and implemented so long ago and maintained for the benefit of all, is carefully placed so that wherever a person stands in the city centre they can look up the hills to the skyline and see only green, the suburbs beyond obscured by the angle of view. This creates a very special intimate city, a human scaled city, for the benefit and edification of those living or visiting here. This, in conjunction with historical character (now lost in Christchurch), a rich, intelligent, creative and industrious community is what makes Dunedin a destination, a special, memorable place that with sympathetic development will continue to attract visitors and citizens who will not find the likes, elsewhere in the world. Structures like the proposed hotel are notable for being the same the world over. In being built it will change the very character of the place visitors will be seeking to experience.

I submit in the strongest terms that the Dunedin City Council turn down this application for resource consent and I suggest that the non compliance of this application to the requirements of the Resource Management Act to protect the amenity, aesthetic and cultural values and wellbeing of the people of Dunedin will bring this matter to the Environment Court.

Yours sincerely

Madeleine Lamont
B. Landscape Architecture (Hons), Lincoln University

Compare these indicative images to those prepared by Truescape of Christchurch for the Applicant:

LUC-2012-212 12. Viewpoint booklet
(PDF, 3.4MB)
This document is a scanned copy of the application for resource consent

Related Posts:
20.11.12 City planner’s report recommends against consent for hotel
10.11.12 Dunedin Hotel, 41 Wharf Street (LUC 2012-212)
8.9.12 Waterfront Hotel #Dunedin (Applicant names?)
7.9.12 Waterfront hotel: DCC to notify resource consent application
16.5.12 Dunedin Hotel

The Applicant, Betterways Advisory Limited, gets one and a half days for presentation to the hearing committee (Cr Colin Weatherall, Cr Andrew Noone, Cr Kate Wilson, and independent commissioner John Lumsden). Submitters have been allowed ten minutes each. Written communication from City Planning makes no time allowance for submitters wishing to use experts.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Media, Name, NZHPT, ORC, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

2012 Southern Architecture Awards – NZ Institute of Architects

Thom residence, Waitati (top). Otago University Union redevelopment.

### ODT Online Sat, 24 Nov 2012
Awards reflect straitened times
By Nigel Benson
Innovation in a difficult economic climate was a feature of winning designs in the 2012 Southern Architecture Awards, announced at Forsyth Barr Stadium last night. Awards were presented for seven Otago projects, ranging from public changing rooms to houses and a hotel. The design of the winning projects reflected the challenging economic conditions in New Zealand, awards convener and Dunedin architect Niko Young said last night. “Even though times are tough, client expectations remain high. This has resulted in innovative architecture produced to lean budgets,” he said. “Architects and clients doing more with less is a theme of the 2012 Southern Architecture Awards. Such an approach often involves the reworking of existing buildings.”
The judging panel comprised Mr Young, University of Otago design for technology department fellow Michael Findlay, Dunedin architect Regan Hall and Auckland architect Nicola Herbst.
Read more

██ NZIA 2012 Southern Architecture Awards – winners information, citations and more photos at NZIA website

New Zealand Institute of Architects NZIA)
The New Zealand Institute of Architects represents over 90 percent of registered architects in New Zealand, promoting and celebrating the role of architecture in enhancing the built environment.
Is my Architect a member of NZIA? (directory search)
● Find an NZIA Practice www.architecturenz.net

New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB)
– registers architects who have been assessed by their peers as competent
– confirms every five years that architects continue to be competent
– maintains an online New Zealand Architects Register
– investigates complaints and, if need be, disciplines architects.

NZRAB: Is my building designer a Registered Architect?
The New Zealand Architects Register
Find an Architect

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

1 Comment

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Events, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Urban design

Cull COVERS UP COUNCIL #massage

National Radio says Dunedin City Council’s debt has increased to $620 million.

@@@@ Actually, the debt is likely to be much higher than this.

Mayor’s shambolic response to botched SH88 realignment:

Asked if heads would roll over the council’s handling of the saga, Mr Cull replied “No”. “I think things in hindsight could have been handled better … Given the circumstances before the World Cup, there was a lot of pressure to get things done in a hurry. A few things slipped, it’s fair to say. At the time, council did not make the best decisions, but they probably made it in good faith, so that is the way it is.” ODT Link

### ch9.co.nz November 22, 2012 – 7:00pm
Nightly interview: Mayor Dave Cull
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has warned city council cost-cutting will continue next year, as the local authority looks to again cut into the rates increase. He suggested in an opinion piece in the Otago Daily Times debt and economic development were the headline issues. He is here to tell us why.
Video

### ODT Online Wed, 21 Nov 2012
Opinion
Debt reduction, economic development focus
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull lays out what he sees as the challenges facing the city council next year. This year has been a time of challenge and achievement for the Dunedin City Council. Costs and rate rises were substantially contained despite significantly reduced cash-flows. Information flow and public transparency have been enhanced, council confirmed a visionary spatial plan and council company governance has been substantially overhauled and improved.
Read more

STANDARD & POOR’S Rating Services
Dunedin City Council
http://www.standardandpoors.com/prot/ratings/entity-ratings/en/us/?entityID=272160&sectorCode=GOVS

S&P Statement:
Outlook On New Zealand’s Dunedin City Council Revised To Negative; Ratings Affirmed At ‘AA/A-1+’
Publication date: 20-Nov-2012 23:07:36 EST
http://www.standardandpoors.com/prot/ratings/articles/en/us/?articleType=HTML&assetID=1245343655677

MELBOURNE (Standard & Poor’s) Nov. 21, 2012–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ said today that it has revised its outlook on New Zealand’s Dunedin City Council (Dunedin) to negative, from stable. At the same time, the ‘AA/A-1+’ issuer credit ratings on Dunedin were affirmed. The outlook on Dunedin City Treasury Ltd. was also revised to negative, and the issuer credit ratings were affirmed at ‘AA/A-1+’.

“The negative outlook reflects our view that there is a one-in-three chance of a downgrade in the coming two years,” said credit analyst Anthony Walker. “This is based on our view that Dunedin may not achieve its financial targets outlined in its Long-Term Plan, with its after-capital account deficits not improving as quickly as forecast. If this scenario were to materialize, we consider that Dunedin would have limited budgetary flexibility to improve its financial position without deferring asset renewals, which may lead to future infrastructure backlogs.”

Further downward pressure could be placed on the ratings depending on the Auditor General’s investigation into the management of Dunedin’s council-controlled trading organization (CCTO)–Delta Utility Services–which may weaken our assessment of Dunedin’s management of CCTOs; or if there was a change in policy direction such as the introduction of a hard rates cap, or a revised capital-expenditure program without an offsetting increase in revenue which would result in Dunedin’s after-capital account deficits not improving as forecast.

“The ratings could be revised to stable if the council’s budgetary performance strengthens as it forecasts, specifically if the council achieves after-capital account deficits of about 2% of consolidated operating revenues in 2014 and beyond, while maintaining its current budgetary flexibility, and a stable political setting,” said Mr. Walker.

Dunedin City Council’s (Dunedin) individual credit profile reflects the predictable and supportive institutional framework available to local and regional councils within New Zealand, plus our very positive view of Dunedin’s financial management, and the council’s modest contingent liabilities. In our view, these strengths are partially offset by Dunedin’s high debt burden relative to international peers, and low debt-servicing ratio.

Comments received.

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/11/22 at 7:46 pm
The reality is most Government Regulatory Agencies are now filled with academics (usually law graduates) who love writing endless reports but lack the capacity, desire or hard edge to conduct interviews where the hard searching questions now being demanded by the “What if” mob will ever be asked.
The OAG have obviously held a cordial chat with the Mayor over this and I bet boundaries of the investigation have been set. OAG didn’t listen to Bev Butler, but the Mayor of Dunedin – he’s a man of importance so let’s get down there!!!!

Anonymous
Submitted on 2012/11/22 at 9:10 pm
The thing with the Delta transactions is that there is a fairly clear trail of what was purchased, where it was held and where the original money came from. The investigation should have Newtons Coachways and Delta Investments Ltd in its scope. If it doesn’t then it is toothless.

Related Posts and Comments:
18.11.12 DCC Annual Report to 30 June 2012 – borrowing and interpretation
12.11.12 Delta purchases | Vandervis OAG complaint accepted

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

26 Comments

Filed under Business, CST, DCC, DCHL, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

Safe cycling –Cr Fliss Butcher

Tweet (04:12 PM – 21 Nov 12):

Fliss @koFliss
just posted a brief argument for using Copenhagen style cycle lanes in Dunedin see flissbutcher.co.nz cycling in Dunedin. please retweet

Footpath,

bike lane (often with low solid raised barrier),

car parking,

then the road.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

17 Comments

Filed under Design, Geography, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Town planning, Urban design

City planner’s report recommends against consent for hotel

UPDATED 21.11.12

See comments at this thread:

Ro https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/dunedin-hotel-41-wharf-street-luc-2012-212/#comment-29089

Elizabeth https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/dunedin-hotel-41-wharf-street-luc-2012-212/#comment-29090

“What Heydary found came as a shock, especially to some buyers who readily admit they were so blinded by the flash and cash of Donald Trump that they didn’t do proper due diligence: Buyers weren’t purchasing so much a condo as a share in a high-end hotel that, so far at least, is losing money.”

Trump Tower developer suing 7 disgruntled investors to close deals they now regret

Anonymous provided this edifying read. It ‘trumps’ what happened with the first tower built at Orewa, and the Spencer on Byron at Takapuna (referred to elsewhere at What if?, or google) – as far as 41 Wharf Street, Dunedin is concerned the tower-scam model is the same. So here we are, naive and wide open to the wiles of our own ‘good old boys’ and their unsavoury quest for a share of dirty-quick money from fickle overseas ‘connections’, and your life savings too.

### ODT Online Wed, 21 Nov 2012
DCC report opposes city hotel
By Chris Morris
Plans for a 28-storey waterfront hotel towering over Dunedin have been dealt a blow by a Dunedin City Council report that criticises the design and recommends resource consent be declined. The report by council planner Lianne Darby, made public yesterday, identified the hotel’s height and dominant appearance as among areas of concern. A host of technical worries also raised doubts, ranging from traffic problems and shading to a lack of information about wind gusts magnified by the tower’s height. Ms Darby’s report left the door ajar by including a list of detailed conditions to impose if consent were granted, despite her recommendation.
Read more

Source: ODT Files

Note to graphic: Under the Resource Management Act (RMA) the commissioners to hear the application cannot consider the economic viability of the proposed hotel project – the matters with a red cross, at right, fall within the scope of the Act. The applicant is required to show the adverse effects of the proposed development are no more than minor.

Read Post Application Information at DCC website

‘New information’ about the hypothetical footbridge cannot be considered at hearing since it was NOT included in the notified application.

### ODT Online Tue, 20 Nov 2012
Hotel developer unveils link bridge proposal
By Chris Morris
The man promoting Dunedin’s proposed 28-storey hotel has unveiled plans for a “world class” pedestrian and cyclist bridge that could provide a missing link to the city’s waterfront. However, the idea is only the “starting point for a discussion”, with key details – including how much the sweeping structure would cost and who would pay for it – yet to be confirmed, Betterways Advisory Ltd director Steve Rodgers said.
Read more

Source: Ignite Architects Ltd (via ODT)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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