Proposed Dunedin Hotel #height

The applicant has supplied a transverse section of the building proposal showing calibrated basement, podium and tower levels. The building height to top of roof structure is marked on the drawing as 96.300 metres.

As published at ODT Online:

OPINION » Your Town » Dunedin
What does 97m look like?
By ej kerr on Fri, 14 Dec 2012

Last night I took another tour of the Settlers Museum, having been through a month ago while exhibition displays were being populated, before the new foyer was completed.

The link to the Chinese Garden has yet to be made at the south end of the old NZRS building.

In the museum we have an impressive series of new and refurbished spaces, the reading of which is generally low and long, suited to the narrow site between the railway and State Highway 1, and sympathetic to the immediate historic built environment.

Looking out from the museum’s new foyer, which takes evening light amazingly well, across the traffic on SH1, there is old Dunedin Prison (1898), Dunedin Law Courts (1902), Dunbar House (former Dunedin Police Station, c.1895) and Leviathan Hotel (known as ‘Leviathan Railway Temperance Hotel’ when built in 1884).

This precinct flows into Anzac Square to the north, with Dunedin Railway Station (1906); lower Stuart Street featuring Law Courts Hotel (Auld Scotland Hotel was established on site in 1863), and Allied Press Building (former Evening Star Building, 1928); The Exchange area (old CBD); and Queens Gardens and the warehouse district to the south.

I mention this unique ‘cultural heritage landscape’ of buildings and green space because the impressive large-screen video flyover provided at the museum, as I understand, by Animation Research Ltd (ARL), shows exactly where the proposed 27-storey hotel and apartment block at 41 Wharf Street, if consented and constructed, will deliver significant irreversible adverse effects in the neighbourhood context – including for the Steamer Basin (see cruise operations by MV Tiakina and MV Monarch) and Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area (registered by New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 2008); and the Burlington Street Historic Area (registered in 1994), comprising Burlington St between High St and Moray Place (captures First Church, Burns Hall, Commerce Building, RSA Building, and Garrison Hall).

The adverse effects would be entirely due to the unwarranted height and overbearing design of the proposed hotel and apartment block.

The effects cannot be mitigated.
ARL should be asked to ‘insert’ the offending tower proposal into the museum flyover to gauge public reaction.

Alternatively, for no cost, Dunedin residents can walk or drive into the closed-off section of lower Rattray St beside the old level crossing and the Chinese Garden and take a look at the railway lighting tower.

This structure is approximately 35 metres in height. Imagine, at this street location, the hotel bearing down on you from 97 metres above.

With this height comparison think what happens to your enjoyment of the views, buildings and surroundings, together with your experience of sun and wind (microclimate)… and why for so many years Queen Elizabeth II Square in downtown Auckland was unalterably inhospitable, it was a rare day if anyone enjoyed lingering there before the Britomart Transport Centre was developed.

We’re not going to get a Britomart in Dunedin.

In terms of urban design, the proposed hotel and apartment tower is going to sever and destroy the sense of place – and your connection with the harbour edge, physically, metaphorically, spiritually, tangibly and intangibly.

Without end, without moral or ethical consideration as posed by the application documentation (no footbridge included).

And with the hearing committee taking that disingenuous path of wanting more information from the applicant so to tick boxes for consent to be granted.

The mayor has been lobbied by Betterways Advisory Ltd and friends; the politics is thick with ‘red carpet’ and promissories… as yet, there’s nothing solid, concrete or foundational in the appearance of the application. Is the city council about to bind us with a badly scribbled note worth $100m.

Ode to a mocking tower, at 35 metres. If only it could speak.

ODT Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

13 responses to “Proposed Dunedin Hotel #height

  1. Ro

    Very well said, Elizabeth

    • Elizabeth

      ### December 17, 2012 – 6:51pm
      Hearings panel reconvenes
      The hearings panel considering the controversial 28 storey hotel reconvened today, as the hundreds of submissions drag on.

      • Elizabeth

        ### December 18, 2012 – 5:48pm
        Hotel resource consent hearing continues
        The resource consent hearing for the proposed $100 million, 28 storey hotel on Dunedin’s waterfront continued today.

  2. Peter

    I was at the Hearings this morning and came in before Russell Lund. I heard most of his submission. At one point he criticised Tim Heath, local architect, who is against the hotel. He put up a slide showing 7-8 storey buildings TH was involved with designing around the university – Albany St from memory. He also made the point that TH worked on the eighth floor of some building. His point was that those buildings were out of context from older, smaller scale buildings nearby. Duh! I couldn’t believe RL’s lack of logic where he is supporting a 28 storey building that is even more out of context from its surrounds!
    Also amused at a slide taken – from one angle – of an historic, warehouse area in Portland, Oregon, showing ‘sympathetic’ alignment with more modern buildings. He pointed to the nice, grassy areas and paths in a central square. You kind of looked across and down on the scene from one angle that all but hid most of the historic area. Trouble is the photo was cropped and you couldn’t see the real height of buildings to one side of the photo. No great perspective was achieved. Not even a photo can tell a thousand words, it seems.
    The commissioners seemed relaxed about the identity of the developers not being known till consent is given. It was pointed out to me they don’t have to be identified by law. Maybe, but that doesn’t make it right. I replied that in the interests of openness and transparency they could choose to reveal themselves, come forward, and answer questions themselves instead of through a mouthpiece. It could avert suspicions by being upfront, I added. As it is, we know nothing of their backgrounds or potential ‘abortions’ they have left behind in China. They can’t be thoroughly checked out beforehand. This obviously did not concern Colin Weatherall or Kate Wilson. The process for these submissions is wide open to potential abuse. I don’t think elected people should serve as commissioners – especially with a majority of 3 out of 4. As constituted consent hearings are, from what I can see, full of potholes.

  3. Phil

    The consent process in New Zealand is fatally flawed by having unqualified elected officials on the hearings panels. In Europe consent hearings are presided over by qualified independant persons. The applicant has little chance of covering up a project’s shortcoming with glitter and sparkles, as is the case with this current application. The risk for bias or for conflicts of interest is also dramatically reduced to the point where it is no longer a factor in decisions. We all know, from the Mayor’s repeated media broadcasts of glee, that approval of this hotel is a foregone conclusion.

  4. Phil

    At the very least they should be stopping Colin Weatherall from attending the City Planning consents meetings every week, to “advise” the trained planners on the best approach they should be taking on certain pending applications. No conflict of interest there, right ? Only on this Council could we have the least qualified person telling the most qualified people how to do their jobs and what conclusion to reach.

    • Elizabeth

      If only you could happen on past the hearing to yell that to Mr Weatherall and ‘team’. Today he said again, to a submitter, the commissioners have NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

      I’m dying here.

      • Elizabeth

        Phil Cole’s submission to hearing on Tuesday morning, 18 December

        RESOURCE CONSENT LUC 2012-212

        In the Matter of:
        The Resource Management Act 1991 and the Dunedin City District Plan


        In the Matter of:
        An application by Betterways Advisory Limited to construct a Hotel on 41 Wharf Street, Dunedin



        1. My name is Phillip Cole. I have over 30 years’ experience in Civil and Transportation Engineering in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and have worked on projects around the globe. I have a Post Graduate Certificate in Engineering Transportation from the University of Canterbury and am professionally employed in Dunedin where I have lived for over 10 years. I shall be commenting on some of the documentation submitted by the applicant at this hearing followed by my comments on the proposal.

        2. The Report from the Dunedin City Council Planning Department by Lianne Darby to the Consent Hearing Committee is to be commended for its thoroughness and professionalism. Its Assessment of the relative parts of the Dunedin City District Plan including Sustainability, Manawhenua, Industry, Hazards, Signs, Transportation and Environmental Issues is both salient and comprehensive as are its assessment of the Regional Policy Statement and plans, and I concur with the majority of the findings.

        3. If the proposed hotel is considered to be of ‘good design’ by the backers of this project, what do they actually mean by ‘good design’? Does the building show consideration of scale or proportion to try and make a harmonious relationship with the surrounding buildings? (The suggested model and visualisations would suggest otherwise). Is there anything ‘special’ or ‘unique’ about the detail of the project? (No). Is there a consistency and integrity in the overall concept that will enhance the area into which it will be placed? (Most definitely no!). Do they create new public spaces around their periphery for everyone’s use? (No – unless you include the ‘late addition’ of the footbridge link).

        4. The footbridge link – considered as an after-thought by the development team – is offered as a ‘sweetener’. If the footbridge were to be built as shown in the proposed sketches with the ‘green’ spaces along its length and the minimum height requirement required by KiwiRail, then the construction bill will more than the $1 million dollars mentioned. As we know in the construction business, the landscaping part of the cost estimate is always cut back to the minimum required as it usually comes at the end of the project (by which time most of the money has been spent) so what will actually be built will be nothing like what is shown in the sketches. There is also some concern that the footbridge and other infrastructural improvements will not be paid for by the developer but by the Council and therefore, by extension, the ratepayer.

        5. What is lacking in the detail of the project? Due to time constraints I can only refer to some of these from an Engineering point of view, so here we go.

        6. Visualisation documents. Shadow diagrams of the Hotel have only been provided for the height of summer conditions when the sun is at its highest – and yes, we do have a lot of sun down here in Dunedin despite contrary reports. The Hearing Committee should demand shadow diagrams for all-year round, especially during the winter months, to show the real effect of the shadows that the hotel will cast over the surrounding area, especially on frosty mornings on High Street, Serpentine Avenue and Stafford Street, all roads with reasonably steep inclines.

        7. The drawings and ‘fly-by’ video of what the proposed building would look like show ‘artistic license’ at its worst. Regarding the fly-by video, very few buildings near to the proposed site are shown in their true context – the ‘flight’ along Cumberland Street from the Octagon to the Wharf Street site shows what appear to be apartment blocks and buildings that bear no relation to the buildings actually in these locations. The Railway line ceases to exist behind the proposed hotel building and a number of buildings have mysteriously ‘disappeared’ (John Wickliffe House being one notable absentee!). How can one make a judgement based on evidence that does not reflect the current situation – what else in the submission is treated along the same lines by this blasé approach?

        8. The Hotel. Like any form of art, different people have different opinions of what something looks like. Personally, it’s a monstrosity. However, even if it were designed in a ‘hanging gardens of Babylon’ style it would still look completely out of place at this location. The Development team says that it is a ‘five-star’ hotel in a ‘Five-star’ location. However, once built it will be nothing more than a ‘three-star’ carbuncle in a ‘one-star’ location with ‘no-star’ views for most people living in Dunedin. But at least the tourist dollar will be satisfied…according to their fanciful projections.

        9. A quote from a member of the development team… ’The modern structure does not intend to mimic or respond to surrounding architecture’. At last something which we can all agree on!

        10. In the absence of any business feasibility being carried out on this project then surely this should set the alarm bells ringing. We are told a ’$100 million dollar hotel’….but where have they got this figure from? What is it based on? No foundation details, no cost estimates, no specifications, no detail, what type of cladding will be used, how will the cladding be fixed to the structure to resist the wind effects – especially suction…nothing, except conceptual sketches and skewed visualisation drawings and a doctored video fly-by.

        11. The structure of the hotel will have to be designed to satisfy the latest earthquake requirements laid down by both the Government and the Dunedin City Council. I am sure this will present quite a few challenges, not only to the developers but also to the Dunedin City Council itself. The appropriately-qualified building inspectors will have to be employed by the Council to make sure all the requirements and regulations are carried out and complied with – perhaps the developers would be happy to meet the cost of these inspectors as another ‘sweetener’?

        12. In the event of a fire drill – or an actual fire – what will be the time taken for someone on the 27th floor to reach the assembly point outside the hotel, bearing in mind that no lifts should be used in the event of a fire? As a proportion of the guests will no doubt be in their more ‘mature’ years of age advancement, I would hazard a guess and say it would take around 40 minutes to get to the ground floor exit. And if they can’t get past a fire that has spread on one of the lower floors – and with the smoke rising up the escape stairwells – the only way out would be to reach the roof. However, looking at the roof on the video fly-by there is no way a helicopter will be able to land on the roof – even a flat roof might not be of any use due to the likelihood of the strong winds that will be present and the rising smoke and flames. Have, or will, the fire service be consulted on this design to make sure they know what they are facing in the event of a fire and how to deal with it?

        13. The foundations for the structure of the hotel will be critical, both in terms of cost (extremely expensive) and design. We all know the challenges that building on reclaimed land will present – extremely deep piles, ground settlement and constant pumping of groundwater from the deep basements during construction which will also affect the moisture content of the surrounding ground causing further settlement which may affect the railway operations. Discharging of this groundwater would, of course, have to comply with any Otago Regional Council legislation.

        14. Are the developers not aware of Christchurch, a mere 300 kilometres north of Dunedin where high-rise buildings are banned in its redevelopment due to seismic activity? Or are they blinkered into thinking that an earthquake will never happen down here in Dunedin? With a fault line a few kilometres off the coast and the proposed hotel being built on reclaimed land…of course, there will be nothing to worry about.

        15. The developer states that …’a reduction in height will not change any of the visual intrusion issues raised by the submitters but it will compromise the design aesthetics and the economies of the hotel’. I beg to differ. A reduction in height of the rectangular box would indeed change the visual intrusion issues by the shadows cast being less than currently proposed. And… ‘Compromise the design aesthetics’…of a rectangular box?

        16. At least the development team has been kind enough to allow the Hearing Committee an easy way out of the decision making. The quote…’ The application is for 28 stories and from the applicant’s perspective there is no compromise on that…’ makes it very easy to refuse the consent. Call their bluff. Compromise, as the developers know, is very much part of the game.

        17. As for the economies of the hotel I would hazard a guess and assume the developers have not allowed for a 100% occupancy rate which means, of course, that they would be willing to compromise. If they have allowed a 100% occupancy rate, are they seriously suggesting the 215 hotel rooms and 164 self-contained apartments would be full every evening? The 215 hotel room numbers alone would mean that 156,950 middle-to-high class Chinese visitors (2 per room) would be visiting Dunedin each year, or if they stay for two nights in the hotel, then 78,475 people (2 per room). Is this really likely?

        18. The Hearing Committee need only look across the ditch for two distinct examples. The Sunshine Coast – including Noosa, where no building is allowed to be more than four stories high, and The Gold Coast where, it seems, no building is less than four stories high. Yet the Sunshine Coast attracts just as many visitors. We don’t need to go ‘up’ in Dunedin to attract tourists; we need to develop and encourage what we have – Heritage, the natural environment and a sense of history. A hotel building reflecting those three things I’ve just mentioned would be a much more potent attraction for visitors of all races to stay in.

        19. By focusing on one particular type of tourist the developers are creating a rod for their own backs. Haven’t any lessons been learnt from the not-so-recent global financial crisis? When it started way back in 2008 we were told by the so-called financial and business ‘experts’ it would all be over by the end of 2009, then 2010, then 2011. We haven’t even reached the low point yet. Over the past few years we have been constantly told by these ‘experts’ that India and China are the emerging markets. Recently, however, growth has hit both of these countries. By the time the hotel is built – if it is ever given resource consent – China may well be in recession along with the rest of us. Result – one empty so-called five-star hotel. My assumption is as valid as any of these ‘experts’ as their track record leaves a lot to be desired.

        20. Believe it or not, we are not an unreasonable bunch of people in Dunedin. Most of us are quite aware of how business works and how the tourism market operates. Most of us, whether for or against this particular scheme, want investment in Dunedin – but not at any price, and especially not if it is going to destroy the uniqueness and beauty that is Dunedin. Dunedin’s heritage soul should not be sold to the devil – once lost, you will never get it back. There is no reason why the development team could not construct a building that could be spectacular and act as a real draw-card to attract the clientele that they have ear-marked. Submit an appropriate design that actually reflects the nature of the area and in line with the redevelopment of the Warehouse district – i.e. a building of taste – and you will have very few objectors to that.

        21. This project has no vision, concept or thought as to what the overall effect the proposed glorified rectangular box will have on Dunedin – other than it will be ‘great for the city’. As always, when planning a project, it is usual to have some grasp of the whole concept before you start. I assume that as most of the people working on this project appear to be based in Auckland or other places outside Dunedin then they may not be familiar with the Dunedin City District Plan and what actually makes Dunedin unique. Does Dunedin really want to become a poor relation of Auckland or Wellington by allowing a manifestation of high-rise buildings along its water front? If it does, then that will be one valid reason for people to by-pass Dunedin and go from Christchurch to Queenstown.

        22. I wish to conclude by saying that I wish for the consent for this particular proposed development be declined. What is planned is completely out of context with the Dunedin City District Plan, the immediate area surrounding the site and with Dunedin’s natural beauty and environment. The actual or potential adverse effects that would be created by allowing this development to proceed will be major and cannot be mitigated. The extreme height and bland design of this throwback to unimaginative design will have the completely opposite effect of what the developers purport to be trying to achieve – to attract a certain class of ‘clientele’.

        23. I hope the decision made by the hearing committee for further information from the applicant is not merely so that they can grant consent for the proposal… but to actually reassure themselves of the many reasons why resource consent should not be granted.

        24. Thank you, members of the Hearing Committee, for allowing me the time to make my verbal presentation.

        • Elizabeth

          DCC asked submitters to keep to 10 minutes. Those who did in good faith, like myself (excuse my naivety!), were severely disadvantaged – because ‘supporters’, such as Russell Lund, were given as long as they liked to PERFORM, and !!!! in Mr Lund’s case he was thanked by Commissioner Weatherall who said “that’s how we build knowledge”. Submitter treated as EXPERT for the Applicant but not registered to be that. The committee saw no problem with this.


          My submission to hearing on Monday afternoon

          Consent no. LUC-2012-212

          17 December 2012

          Submitter: Elizabeth Kerr [384]

          1. I oppose the application.

          2. I would like to begin by thanking council planner Liane Darby for her lengthy and considered report, which carries the recommendation that the application should be declined.

          3. Impacting on my reading of the planner’s report are difficulties I have with aspects of the assessments by the council’s consulting urban planner Ian Munro and consulting architect(s) Richard McGowan and Jonathan Hewlett from Warren and Mahoney Ltd. I believe that their assessments – as much as the design response to the subject site by Ignite Architects – pay insufficient attention to Dunedin’s heritage resource (from all eras), established urban form, distinctive cultural landscape, and existing amenity.

          4. The following written by Dr Ian Barber (lecturer in anthropology at the University of Otago), I note to all those involved with this application and its assessment:

          “Current thinking amongst archaeologists and historians supports a move from investigating only single sites, objects, and structures to relating to and interpreting history in a broad spatial context, and to thinking thematically. It also highlights the threat to relict cultural landscapes posed by modern development and ignorance. Ignorance is frequently the bigger threat, but is also more readily avoidable. That threat should be a critical concern to those responsible for the care or interpretation of our cultural heritage past in its regional setting.”
          Chapter 7, ‘History at Ground Level: Reading an Archaeological Site’, in Common Ground? Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand (University of Otago Press, 2000) pp107-119

          5. Mr Munro has set out his own urban design framework [Section 4] with which to assess the application. I believe he fails to apply his framework to the application in a holistic way to arrive at an analysis which adequately accounts for historic heritage values and cultural landscape significance; this should have pointed up to him some deficiencies in the application.

          6. Such an analysis normally figures around ‘people in place’, and identifies constants, changes and development in the historic environment (natural and manmade) – from the time of the first peoples; in Dunedin’s case, continuing up to the c.1846 Kettle Plan that goes largely unaltered (this is a planned city, after all); and on to present day conditions, investment and shared expression.

          Cultural heritage value means possessing historical, archaeological, architectural, technological, aesthetic, scientific, spiritual, social, traditional or other special cultural significance, associated with human activity.
          ICOMOS New Zealand Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Heritage Value

          7. Within the timeline of Dunedin’s occupation and growing interconnections, between so many markers along the way, “it is essential to be able to link fabric to the history that has taken place in and around it” and to recognise that “our values as a society can also change”. Here, I’m citing writer Michael Kelly, a freelance historian/heritage consultant, who contributed the eighth chapter, ‘Building a Case: Assessing Significance’, in Common Ground? Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand. Mr Kelly explains how to research historic places to obtain maximum information in a limited time, how to use a range of sources to build up an understanding of a place, and how to prepare a case for its heritage significance.

          8. Like so many others invested in this city, I’m not prepared to have our environment ‘under assessed’ and ‘over burdened’ by the proposal of – for Dunedin – a very tall building stuck at the waterfront.

          9. The applicant has not produced an authorative Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). I think City Planning should have requested this from the applicant; because an HIA carried out by suitably qualified professionals is essential to the overall Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). I’m surprised that Mr Munro has not called for the applicant to produce one, in his recommendations; it is well within his brief as an urban planning professional to do so.

          10. In his conclusions [Section 9], Mr Munro ventures to say:

          [9.1] “Given the heritage and character values within the Central City core, there is a need to provide for contemporary buildings, some of which may be large, in a way that will be as inoffensive as possible to that heritage core.”

          11. It is difficult to know what he means by this, and the physical extent of the “Core”, given there is no HIA available, and in light of the ‘extremity’ of the application for the subject site. I note he hasn’t identified the registered Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area in his assessment.

          12. The architects from Warren and Mahoney, in my opinion, are circumspect where boldness may have helped Ms Darby realise the full irrelevance of the proposed development in the city setting.

          13. I suggest the proposed building height (27 storeys) will produce adverse effects that cannot be mitigated by attempts at ‘good design’ as called for by the architects; they conclude, “we suggest that the landmark nature of the project, both in scale and its overall visibility in the city, requires that a better than average design outcome is achieved”.

          14. If the building is out of scale and, on balanced analysis, highly undesirable as an object in a low-rise city that prides itself on preserving its heritage for long-term economic sustainability (see the Dunedin Heritage Strategy; and advice received on ‘PlaceEconomics’ given by Donovan Rypkema, Washington DC-based heritage and economics specialist, during his visit to Dunedin in 2010) why would contemporary architects not ‘crash’ the proposed development? The answer might be that it’s not in their New Zealand professional training (as I have experienced at the University of Auckland) to be overly concerned with historic building conservation or the conservation of historic city precincts; and possibly there is some collegiality at work in their assessment for this application.

          15. I’m enormously grateful for Clinton Bird’s brief of evidence on urban design issues, submitted on behalf of Capri Enterprises Ltd [434]. The information and images he supplies, in my opinion, are very relevant in countering loose claims made in the application documents.

          16. David Smeaton’s sun-shade diagrams presented on behalf of the Otago Regional Council [418], I believe, offer a more convincing scenario for affected properties than those produced in application.

          17. I read somewhere recently, in the newspaper or online, that dirigibles should be tethered over the subject site at the height of the proposed tower – it’s not a completely silly idea (if with civil aviation clearance) because conceptually, we have nothing else of that height (96.300 metres) to compare it to here. We’re not used to thinking about Dunedin in this ‘heightened’ way; many people are finding it difficult to work out the visual impact of the proposed tower on existing townscape amenity and the city’s outstanding landscape views. (see Appendix 1 for an opinion piece I wrote ‘What does 97m look like?’ for the Friday online edition of the Otago Daily Times; since republished at the What if? Dunedin website)

          18. Mr Munro thinks it’s acceptable to make suggestions and ‘tinker’ (my word – his word is ‘revise’) with the façade design of the proposed building to address its monolithic appearance. The council’s consulting architect(s) arrive at the same conclusion. I strongly disagree that any articulation of the building facades will mitigate the adverse effects of the proposed tower, in terms of its height and bulk form.

          19. [Munro, 7.8] It seems entirely wrong to me to convene a design panel in the attempt to tweak the design of this thing, as a condition of consent, prior to applying for building consent. The building should simply never happen. The subject site is one of the most strategic sites available adjacent to the Steamer Basin – if the tower isn’t built something different will appear there before long, it’s not going to stay a ‘wasteland’.

          20. Returning to Mr Munro’s assessment. Mr Munro has treated 41 Wharf St, the subject site, as an island requiring connection – he makes it his case to argue for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge; a structure not included in the application. Mr Munro’s previous work on the Central City Framework might have some bearing on this ‘visionary’ position. As a submitter, I have no intention of being side-tracked by ‘bridge’ illustrations thrown to the media by the applicant. Fanciful.

          21. Resource management consultant and planner Don Anderson, for the applicant, has not gathered sufficient information to supply a cogent and believable Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). I believe the application should not have been notified until substantially more information – quality information – had been produced by the applicant. As it stands the application is deficient; and some of the reports and renderings are misleading – for example, the simulations produced by Truescape and the perspectives showing building masses over the current railway lines, landscaping shown to be on public road reserve. That no engineering information for the structure has been presented with the application is unusual, post the Christchurch quakes.

          22. The adverse effects of the proposed development are very significant and cannot be mitigated. Towers are a fashion that is ubiquitous worldwide in large commercial centres, it is not welcome in Dunedin. That’s our point of difference to celebrate – NO TOWERS.

          “Most people readily make connections with the bigger picture when they walk through the Kerikeri Basin, Napier’s art deco district, Oamaru’s historic Harbour/Tyne Street precinct or Arrowtown’s goldfields-era main street. In heritage strongholds such as these, visitors will read almost unbroken clusters of similarly aged buildings readily enough as ‘historic’ landscapes . . . however, even in these urban heritage equivalents of game sanctuaries, the spatial boundaries are usually drawn too tightly. Furthermore, the disciplinary boundary-riding by the consultants and administrators (arguments of buildings versus objects versus sites) tends to muddy the bigger picture and short-sell their communities’ heritage. It is a world-wide problem.”
          Ian Barber and Gavin McLean. Chapter 6, ‘Heritage and the Big Picture: Reading a Cultural Landscape’, in Common Ground, pp91-105

          23. I endorse the submissions by Otago Regional Council [418], New Zealand Historic Places Trust [349], Dunedin Amenities Society [259], New Zealand Institute of Architects Southern Branch [360], and Capri Enterprises Ltd [434].

          24. The Dunedin City Council should decline the application in its entirety.

          I thank the committee for the opportunity to be heard.


          ICOMOS New Zealand Charter for the Conservation of Places of Historical Value (1993)

          Trapeznik, A (ed.), Common Ground: Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand (Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2000)

          [webpost] ej kerr, ‘What does 97m look like?’ at ODT Online (14.12.12); republished at What if? Dunedin (16.12.12)

        • Elizabeth

          Read Phil Cole’s submission to hearing on Tuesday morning here.


          My Impressions from Tuesday

          Hearing committee VERY dismissive of heritage values/sustainability/cultural landscape today – they’re treating 41 Wharf St as an isolated island where anything can and should happen –

          “ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN” is now something that is entirely personal and subjective, we’re given to believe by the committee – as if it is something that is not measurable or quantifiable – that’s a danger for the architecture profession in the context of this hearing and wider, not helped by DCC having no architectural office or department – Planners and Commissioners don’t know what “we do”, it strongly appears. And they don’t want to, unless “we” design towers that look like economic development…. (because Steve Rodgers, Russell Lund, and Chamber of Commerce say so)

          btw the Commissioners met last night to review ‘progress’ and today they played hard ball like you wouldn’t believe in response to submitters –
          Wilson, Lumsden and Weatherall on the offensive (strangely non neutral), aggressive (in speech and body language); while Noone stayed polite and reflective.

          Right now, unless the heavy hitting opposing submitters want to pursue through the Court, I’d say we have a tower —- because that committee is WAY out of its depth to consider the proposed tower….. you can now see evidence of political pressure going on, especially through phrasing of the questions to submitters who are corporate or organisational

          Weatherall attacked me yesterday when I said the committee’s request for more information from the applicant (in the way things are going down) was a tick box exercise to grant approval – he wanted to me to withdraw that from my submission to hearing and I refused, since it is my published opinion, I said.

          happy happy happy


          I should note:


          As one submitter said to me yesterday, “They” probably paid him to stay away.

          How emblematic.

          This is the problem, isn’t it – very few opposing submitters think they’ll get a fair hearing given DCC past performance on notified applications.


          ### ODT Online Tue, 18 Dec 2012
          Planned hotel ‘architectural arrogance’
          By Chris Morris
          Three brothers who own a collection of heritage buildings in Dunedin’s warehouse precinct say the area risks being ”destroyed” by plans for a waterfront hotel. The warning from Richard, Stephen and Michael Macknight came as a resource consent hearing resumed yesterday to decide whether a $100 million hotel can be built on industrial land at 41 Wharf St. The Macknight brothers were among those to argue the hotel would tower over its surroundings, destroying views – including from some of their buildings – and the character of the warehouse precinct.
          Read more


          I might add, John Christie from the Otago Chamber of Commerce came to submit with no statistics at all to back his claim of economic benefits the hotel would bring to the city. His presentation was weak and, oh god, that word again, INCOMPETENT – for a chief executive, of an organisation representing local businesses.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 19 Dec 2012
          Contractor welcomes hotel
          By Chris Morris
          Dunedin building contractor Russell Lund says ”height is good” and plans for a 28-storey waterfront hotel should be welcomed. Mr Lund, the managing director of Lund South Ltd, gave a detailed case yesterday in favour of the $100 million hotel proposed by Betterways Advisory Ltd for 41 Wharf St. His comments came as supporters launched something of a fight-back on the sixth day of the hotel’s resource consent hearing, after days of arguments heavily against the proposed tower. […] Other submitters continued the fight against the hotel, including Peter Laing, owner of the Leviathan Hotel, who reiterated concerns about the hotel’s impact on its surroundings. He also questioned whether it could be built for $100 million, citing figures in the Rawlinsons New Zealand Construction Handbook that showed it could cost up to $228 million.
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  5. Peter

    There are many excellent submissions from what I gather – like Phil Cole’s – with reasoned arguments and good logic to challenge this hotel proposal in its present form. However, we saw all of that with the stadium. This proposal won’t be based on logic in terms of the ultimate decision made. It will be based on power and influence. The fact that there was an overwhelming number of submissions against the present proposal will count for nothing. Like with the stadium.
    We are ultimately relying on four commissioners to make sound judgement and not to be pressured, if not bullied, into favouring the proposal as it now stands. Are these commissioners capable of withstanding powerful vested interests and their hangers on? I’m not so sure. Two of them are pleasant enough as people, but from previous history seem to be compliant types. One of them has more a measure of independence – at times – but ultimately will not rock the boat. The other I have no feel for, one way, or the other.

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