Hearing for proposed hotel – competencies, conflicts of interest?

Comments received.

Submitted on 2012/12/19 at 12:49 am
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 independent 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.

Submitted on 2012/12/19 at 12:52 am
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.

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Yesterday, chairman of the hearing committee, commissioner Weatherall reiterated that the three elected commissioners have NO conflicts of interest.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

18 responses to “Hearing for proposed hotel – competencies, conflicts of interest?

  1. Elizabeth

    The hearing was adjourned just before lunch and is unlikely to reconvene before 18 February.

    Mr Page (counsel for the applicant) didn’t get to attempt any closing today – that moves to February.

    Today, the caucused report (requested by the hearing committee) from traffic engineers for the applicant and DCC respectively was presented; an Opus wind sheer expert from Wellington gave his brief of evidence on behalf of the applicant (he was fair and reasonable, knew his stuff); then followed Mr Page’s Xmas present to all, a video showing a fully automated vehicle stacker in operation. [if Mr Rodger’s client can afford one….]

    The hearing committee is now off to make site visits at assorted times (night and day) and weather, as well as to decide what sort of further information they require from the applicant. In addition, commissioner Weatherall seeks from Mr Rodgers that he finds a way to demonstrate on site the proposed actual height of the tower. Most amusing.

    The committee is still thinking to replace the council’s consulting architect from Warren and Mahoney (Christchurch) who failed to show at hearing despite repeated requests. The applicant has commented that he wants that particular architect because of his experience in designing (and constructing) hotels.

    I wondered if by this comment DCC had asked the applicant who they would prefer, a little like the DCC selecting its consulting urban planner perhaps to favour the ‘fanciful’ footbridge; and there being an unusual tie-up between the architect’s assessment of the hotel proposal and the urban planner’s insofar as the choice of architectural examples cited.

    Let’s see how quick Colin says Yes! We want a tower, boys! How soon can you get the piles in and the framework up.

  2. Carol

    I asked Colin if he would like this ugly monstrosity built on Brighton Beach but he didn’t reply to me maybe that’s because he’s just another NIMBY

    • Elizabeth

      Hilarious, Carol… he’s treading on lots of thin ice – the man who wrecked Dunedin! And made the city a laughing stock.

  3. Anonymous

    Here’s an image which neatly combines the concepts of “28 storeys high” and “jail”


  4. Anonymous

    Words fail me as to the quality of the “evidence” from the consultant transportation engineer, Mr Carr.

    “Mr Clark said the ”major” challenge remained ensuring guests could safely cross the busy Wharf St to the waterfront, as modelling showed a crossing with signals in the area would not work.

    However, Mr Carr said there was already a crossing just south of the Thomas Burns St roundabout, and more could follow, as the area developed.”

    So Mr Carr’s solution to access to the waterfront is to get guests to walk all the way up to the crossing by the railway overbridge, and then walk all the way back down again…?

    Or, after having been shown that a crossing with signals in the area won’t work (as it conflicts with his already marginal (and that’s being kind) traffic management strategy), he insists that “more crossings could follow”. The thing that we need, that can’t happen, might happen.

    This thing doesn’t pass the laugh test on paper.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 20 Dec 2012
      Site ‘deserves better’ than hotel design
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin deserves better than the design of a 28-storey, $100 million hotel being suggested for the city’s waterfront, a heritage building owner says. The rebuke came from Ted Daniels, owner of two Dunedin heritage buildings, on the seventh day of a resource consent hearing that will decide the fate of the hotel proposed by Betterways Advisory Ltd. Mr Daniels, the last member of the public to address the hearing, yesterday urged the developers to ”think outside the square”. He was not against the hotel at 41 Wharf St, but opposed its design, believing the prominent waterfront location demanded better.

      A council planner’s report – recommending consent be declined – has also suggested the design be referred to an expert panel for approval, should the committee decide to grant consent anyway.

      Opus International Consultants aerodynamics research leader Neil Jamieson, of Wellington, [appeared] for Betterways. The hotel’s bulk would provide “significant shelter” to the hotel entrance and nearby pedestrian areas on the eastern side, but there was likely to be an overall deterioration in wind conditions for pedestrians. Cyclists using the nearby cycleway could also expect “a few surprises” from changing wind speeds as a result of the hotel’s presence, “but [the wind] is not likely to blow them off their bikes”, he said.

      Yesterday’s session also heard detailed discussion of possible traffic issues in the area by Betterways’ consultant transport engineer, Andrew Carr, and the council’s consultant transportation planner, Ian Clark.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ch9.co.nz December 20, 2012 – 7:02pm
        Hotel hearing not to be reconvened until mid-February
        The hearing into the 28 storey hotel project for Dunedin will not be reconvened until at least mid-February.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Fri, 21 Dec 2012
          Waterfront hotel: How big would it be?
          By Chris Morris
          The company bidding to build a 28-storey hotel on Dunedin’s waterfront may have to launch a helicopter or a helium balloon to demonstrate how tall it would be. Betterways Advisory Ltd has applied for resource consent to build the 96m-high apartment and hotel tower on vacant industrial land at 41 Wharf St, prompting a public hearing that adjourned this week without a decision. The height of the proposed hotel has emerged as a major issue for many submitters, some of whom have also criticised montage images presented to the hearing that purported to show what the hotel would look like from city vantage points. Yesterday, Cr Colin Weatherall, chairman of the hearings committee weighing the evidence, confirmed a request to physically demonstrate the hotel’s height at the site was being considered. It would be up to Betterways to find a way of fulfilling the request and pay for it, he said. However, one option was to hover a helicopter above the site, with a steel bar hanging below to indicate the height, he suggested. Another option could be to launch a helium balloon from the site on a calm day, tethered to the ground by a 96m-long wire rope, he said. It was ”not unusual” to make such a request as part of the council’s consent process, Cr Weatherall said, but there were differences this time. ”This [hotel] is a different height than most,” he said.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth


          Comment before abridging by ODT Online:

          Hot desperation
          Submitted by ej kerr on Thu, 20/12/2012 – 9:53pm.
          The learned gentlemen of Dunedin and Queenstown would agree there’s no gift to the city unless it’s truly above being a scam.

          Otago Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Dunedin are so desperate for the hotel they’ve forgotten to provide facts and figures to back their claims the hotel will spark ‘growth and economic development’. They’re naive, perhaps well intended, but hot air is cheap.

          Lucky for us, national media have simultaneously published on the lack of Chinese visitor spend via fleeting touchdown at Aotearoa.

          A pin is needed to the hotel plan, burst it – save people from themselves and those out for a quick buck at others’ expense.

          The city council should stop being cavalier, stop holding the community to ransom, look the Trojan gift horse in the mouth. The hotel of dated design, at the low end of five star (see concept plans), if poised to stand empty beside a railway marshalling yard doesn’t inspire business confidence in the southern region.

          Meanwhile, in recent days a deputation of two elected council representatives went to Minister Bill English seeking a handout to reduce stadium debt. A disgraceful self-serving act on their part. He rightly said NO. What about some hard honest toil and production to see the city right, councillors?

          “Desperation” writ large, the sentiment clouding every facet of the proposed holiday inn. This when New Zealand finance companies and investment firms are being hoovered up and exposed for white collar crime.

  5. Peter

    Sounds like Mr Carr has already got his turkey for Christmas. Himself. Where did he get his qualifications from?

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Last year they bought cheap Christmas crackers. You get what you pay for, with crackers, unlike consultants.

  7. Anonymous

    Oh well. Sure they’ve got their wee agenda. But one positive it is closer to the next election. Colin Weatherall and Andrew Noone, along with the other Stadium Councillors, will be working hard to process the many wants for asset sales, rugby, oil, hotels and the Eion Edgar-Michael Hill coupling before then.

    I saw Paul Hudson checking messages on his phone outside council this week – wonder what instruction he was receiving? Isn’t technology wonderful.

  8. Elizabeth

    [aside] Stadium debt relief…
    There is now some mystery pertaining to a council deputation to Bill English’s office at Wellington, briefed in the hope of channeling funds from central government to DCC’s bottomless soakhole, off Anzac Avenue.

    Chris Staynes has been noted by a contact as definitely having gone to see Bill – Syd Brown denies all knowledge. Several hunting parties are on the lookout for verifiable facts.

    The Minister’s office says no such meeting took place, and Cr Staynes is momentarily out of town. A message (or three) has been left on his cell phone.

    Remember the kerfuffle when former mayor Chin offered the government our social housing in return for cash to the stadium… that bravura of approach didn’t happen either, until the paperwork surfaced. We’re not completely foolish then, wondering how the latest ‘rumour’ began. Our sleuths expect this one to bear fruit.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    The subdivision of a 4ha slice of rural Strath-Taieri for commercial residential activity has been approved by the Dunedin City Council, despite planners’ concerns it will set an undesirable precedent.

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    For once it looks as if an exception has been made on reasonable grounds for something that was already occurring at a smaller scale, on land that was not being farmed, and that should be of net benefit to others in the region – local merchants, local tours, local hospitality staff. Well, that’s the way I see it. Hoping for a change it really is an intelligent council decision not a transfer of privilege from our pockets to …………

    • Elizabeth

      [wrong thread] I would think the planner is correct. Since when has a true exception stopped anything. Would rather the council took a conservative position on the operative district plan…. Then we wouldn’t have the Prista Apartments application (Princes and Stafford Sts) blowing out on appeal…… commenced late 2008, still awaiting hearing at Environment Court which got re-timetabled just last week to mid 2013. Crazy, all because DCC has failed to maintain the integrity of the community-owned and consulted district plan.

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