Monthly Archives: January 2013

DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14 – ‘Liability Cull’ and council chasten for election year

“Levels of debt are still high … you cannot say we are in a comfortable position – far from it.” -Orders

### ODT Online Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Tight years ahead for Dunedin
By Chris Morris
A decade of discipline is needed to protect the Dunedin City Council’s fragile finances until debt repayments ease the fiscal squeeze, council chief executive Paul Orders says. The warning came as Mr Orders confirmed the council was set to remain beyond a self-imposed debt ratio limit for at least the next three-year council term. The council’s 2013-14 pre-draft budget – to be considered by councillors later this week – showed the council would begin repaying more debt than it was borrowing for the first time in 10 years.

Mr Orders said the council would still have “little or no” headroom for new spending until 2022.

However, the size of the council’s debt meant it would still be operating beyond its self-imposed limit, which sought to restrict interest as a percentage of total revenue to no more than 8%, until 2016-17, Mr Orders confirmed.
Read more

****

### ODT Online Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Mayor’s rates warning
By Chris Morris
Dunedin city councillors will have to choose between a 2.8% rates rise and extra spending on key priorities – including debt repayment – that will drive up the bill for ratepayers. The choice was presented in the 2013-14 pre-draft annual plan, to be considered by councillors in public for the first time this week. [Chief executive] Paul Orders said the cost-cutting had been achieved in part by reduced staff costs, including not filling all vacancies, absorbing inflation and strictly controlling the council’s capital spending programme.

Overall operational costs had increased by just $500,000 as costs were cut in other areas, while capital spending had been cut in half, from $105 million in 2012-13 to less than $50 million in each of the next three years, Mr Orders said.

Key reports were yet to be made public, including one discussing the financial future of DVML, the stadium and the need for a new events fund. Others would consider options for the Waipori Fund, car park operations in Dunedin and the city’s aquatic facilities, as well as the future of the council’s investment property portfolio.
Read more

****

[On council companies…] The practice of businesses having to borrow to pay dividends is worse than poor.

### ODT Online Tue, 22 Jan 2013
Editorial: Dunedin’s austerity budget
The local government annual plan season is beginning, with councils facing austerity budgets. Some, as in Dunedin or Queenstown Lakes, have gorged on debt, and must face the slow process of digesting it. Others will be aware that communities have had enough of rates increases continually topping annual inflation. The Dunedin City Council, easily Otago’s largest council, has feasted on new projects and on high general costs, and its consolidated debt is peaking beyond the extraordinary figure of $600 million. Although it includes council company debts, it is still an astronomical figure. As projects small and large – like the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, the Town Hall, the water and sewerage system upgrade and the stadium – came up for discussion, the annual interest costs were often the financial focus.

[ODT blondness…] To make the stadium a success and to compete with other centres, the council might have to seriously consider an events fund. This will again cost ratepayers, but could benefit the city overall.

The long-term accumulation of debt and cumulative interest totals could be sidelined behind an unrealistic optimism, leaving a legacy of commitments to years of whopping rates increases. Fortunately, the folly of this course has been recognised, and vigorous efforts are being made to turn to a sustainable direction.
Read more

DCC homepage portrait nightmares 6.1.13 (screenshot)

Related Post:
16.1.13 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14 – Aaron Hawkins on the money

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

240 Comments

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

Defibrillators – where are they?

“There’s no point in people dying when a potential piece of life-saving equipment is 50m away. And that happens regularly. We need to make people aware of where they are.”

AED SharingCommunityResourcesToSaveALife

### ODT Online Sat, 19 Jan 2013
Defibrillators easy to find by phone
By Shawn McAvinue
Life-saving defibrillators are sitting idle as people nearby needlessly die, says the creator of a defibrillator locator. AED Locations founder Gareth Jenkin said he had taught thousands of people how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) when working as a resuscitation co-ordinator at Auckland City Hospital, but could not give his students information on where to find one. Many people died because a defibrillator could not be found, he said.

He had the idea to build a website to locate a defibrillator but had no money or knowledge to build it. But Able Technology heard of his vision and built Mr Jenkin the website at no charge.

At www.aedlocations.co.nz, 2500 defibrillator locations are mapped and a smartphone application can locate the nearest defibrillator using GPS.

In an emergency, people should dial 111 and then use the application on their smartphone, which included a function to speed dial the defibrillator location so it could be rushed to the emergency.

Any defibrillator owners should contact him with the locations because the larger the database, the more chance a life could be saved.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

17 Comments

Filed under Media, Name, People

When in China… #Architecture @Dunedin

Dunedin usually makes headlines for its couch- burning university antics, but in fact it’s one of the smartest cities in the country… Some two percent of the city has a PhD, which is about five times the national average.

architecturevanbrandenburg screenshot

### idealog.co.nz January 14, 2013 @ 9:37 am
Architecture Van Brandenburg’s ambitious Marisfrolg project
By Vincent Heeringa
From subterranean offices in Dunedin, Architecture Van Brandenburg is designing the headquarters of a Chinese fashion house. The result: a spectacular sculpture that people can work in.
On a side street in Dunedin in a quiet underground office, a couple of young men sit at their desks, fussing with their keyboards. The conspiratorial atmosphere belies the office’s real purpose. It’s the Dunedin branch of Architecture Van Brandenburg, a Queenstown firm that’s responsible for some of New Zealand’s heartland icons: Huka Lodge, Millbrook Resort and Wairarapa’s Wharekauhau. It’s also the design centre for Van Brandenburg’s latest work, a four-year explosion of imagination for international fashion house Marisfrolg (pronounced ‘masifer’), in Shenzen, China.
Consider the scale. The project consists of five buildings on a 90,000m2 site. That’s roughly 22 acres, the size of nine rugby fields or three Te Papas. It’s bigger than New Zealand’s largest building, Auckland Hospital, and possibly the largest commission ever for a New Zealand architect.

architecturevanbrandenburg idealog (detail)14-1-13

And consider the design. Van Brandenburg’s earlier work was more akin to Middle Earth and English hunting parties. This project is fit for a Ridley Scott movie. From the air the construction emulates a flying bird, representing the movement in the Marisfrolg garments and the emergence of this important Chinese brand. Seen from the ground, the buildings grow out of a man-made pond and are clad in a brilliant, glittering, white surface of broken tiles. The roofs are draped in gigantic, gravity-defying leaves.
Read more

Originally published in Idealog #41, page 50

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

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

DCC Draft Annual Plan 2013/14 – Aaron Hawkins on the money

“[Last year] What we didn’t see coming during the annual plan process was the DCC’S move to streamline its marketing budgets across all departments. Instead of the DPAG, for example, having a budget allocated to them for marketing their services, they would have to bid for access to that on a case-by-case basis.”

DPAG 16.1.13

### DScene 16 Jan 2013
Opinion – Aaron Hawkins
Council’s budget tactics queried (page 13)

New process restricts community’s chance to comment on marketing spend

Next week, the great bunfight that is the Dunedin City Council annual plan process begins. Given the DCC’s self-imposed limits on rates increases, as per the Long Term Plan adopted last year, there are always going to be hard decisions to be made. Financial resources are scarce and community demand tends only to increase. Last year in these pages I wrote that I was disappointed that the DCC had chosen to prioritise investment in sports infrastructure (Logan Park) over arts infrastructure (the Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s – DPAG – acquisitions budget). Given that the city’s finances are strained by building a sports stadium, I argued, this wasn’t a particularly good look. It seemed that plenty of people agreed with me and, largely due to the mobilisation of the arts community, the funding cuts to the DPAG were reversed and the Logan Park development was deferred. Glasses were charged and backs were patted but perhaps a little prematurely. What we didn’t see coming during the annual plan process was the DCC’s move to streamline its marketing budgets across all departments. Instead of the DPAG, for example, having a budget allocated to them for marketing their services, they would have to bid for access to that on a case-by-case basis.
{continues} #bookmark

Aaron Hawkins is the breakfast host-music director at Radio One.

Register to read DScene online at
http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

14 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Media, Name, Politics, Project management

Return of High Street cable car

### ODT Online Mon, 14 Jan 2013
Cable car back in 2018?
By Hamish McNeilly
The High St cable car could be resurrected within five years, as the trust behind the project prepares to start a major fundraising drive this year. The original High St to Mornington line opened in 1883 and closed in March 1957, but the Dunedin Cable Car Trust hopes to have a cable car back on the route by 2018. Chairman Phil Cole said the estimated $22 million project would be broken down into three phases, beginning with the construction of a $2 million terminus near Mornington Park.

Mr Cole stressed the trust was not looking for financial support from the Dunedin City Council, but was keeping the council updated on the project.

The Mornington terminus would include a cafe, museum and storage area for the cable car, and could be completed by 2015. ”We want to build this first to generate income for the project”. He said the completion of the terminus would help provide impetus for the project before the start of phase two – raising funds and installing the track and building the cable cars.
Read more

ODT Poll commenced 14.1.13

ODT Poll High St cable car 14.1.13[screenshot as at 12:00am 15.1.13]

Related Posts and Comments:
23.12.11 High Street cable car update
27.8.10 Invitation to ALL #High St Cable Car
25.11.09 High Street cable car
23.11.09 High Street Cable Car a possibility
19.10.09 Cable Car Meeting @Dunedin

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

13 Comments

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

Fresh veggies, a holiday mystery

As many will know, I take a keen interest in who deals in fresh market produce around the city.

Years ago, a tiny group of us set up Otago Farmers Market at Dunedin Railway Station (opened March 2003) to ensure local market gardeners and food producers had at least a fighting chance to survive against the duopoly supermarkets trucking in old (no longer fresh) fruit and vegetables from the North Island; and to provide a market alternative to export given the high compliance costs besetting small orchards.

Otago Farmers Market logo download(1)We aimed to get the city’s ‘urbanistas’ to talk to Otago’s rural folk by adopting a Saturday market ritual – prior to opening we researched our business model to death (given the exact nature of Dunedin food retailing and the customer base, and the availability of suitable vendors) in the attempt to keep overheads down so small local producers could make the real profits. And that is what happened.

The farmers market has spawned new businesses and new employment. We always envisioned the market as a business incubator. We also hoped our hard work – in just a couple of years it became a multimillion dollar enterprise (for the vendors) – would eventually spur other small independent farmers markets to set up in the region to give vendors more chances of selling – and so they have, with varying degrees of success and failure.

While we know Otago Farmers Market has the numbers, the solid customer base at Dunedin – there is absolutely no room for organiser complacency. Some of that, I believe, and a lack of strategic business thinking, timing and network connections on the part of the organisers was responsible for the failure of the trial market venue in South Dunedin. They may have misread the location as much as the trading climate, more diligence was required.

At the Railway Station we saw every trick in the book committed by vendors (not the majority of vendors, I note) to earn cash by means not covered in the vendor contract they sign. That is the nature of a cash economy, the cowboys and cowgirls try it on. Behind scenes, we met mid-week with our accountant to look over business and enforce contracts, measuring these against what happened on site on Saturdays – we attended all Saturday markets checking the ‘pump’ as well as greeting customers at the gate, year in year out, rain hail or shine. Were we over-possessive? – No. We were learning the whole dynamic, firming systems for the avoidance of kinks. A farmers market will never be perfect, but it has to try!

Those who now run Otago Farmers Market continue to be vigilant – the need to focus on quality control was never more relevant – this is what we the initiators and founding trustees set great store by (to use a phrase), we rigorously policed things as the market evolved. When we each handed over to new management on pursuit of other projects about town we expected our long-view objectives to be followed and maintained as best business practice.

http://www.otagofarmersmarket.org.nz/

I called into Veggie Boys in Albany Street before Christmas, it’s near where I live, fresh flowers posed at the door for sale is a bonanza for the apartment dweller. The ‘boys’ Barry Gazeley and Marty Hay opened a store in Cumberland St in late 2011; their Albany St store opened in July 2012. They claim they’re meeting a gap in the market for locally grown produce (Otago Southland). Good on them I thought, after reading this profile: Dream comes true for Veggie Boys (ODT 26.4.12).

Google tells me Anderson & Co Resource Management has worked on planning matters for Veggie Boys.

http://www.facebook.com/veggieboys

After much delay I finally got out to Wal’s Plant Land at Mosgiel, run by Clive Wallis, to check into the new Topiary Cafe there. We’ve been great fans of Richard and Michelle Denhardt’s last venture, ‘No. 8 Cafe w Herbs’ at Outram (now closed); the two of us were keen to sample their food and coffee, again.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours at Wal’s, and had a good look around the site – it’s a really nice place to visit. There were couples and families about. We were surprised to see a new Veggie Boys outlet. Their third outlet? They must be doing well. We made some plant purchases, and left feeling very pleased with ourselves.

When we got back to town I was a bit curious. Towards the end of last year I was in and out of DCC’s online consents records following progress on Outram subdivisions and what not, I hadn’t noticed an application for Veggie Boys (109 Bush Road). Anything commercial in the rural zone sparks my interest, being a country girl averse to life-stylers carving up the countryside. Bane of the earth!

Anyway, I checked non-notified decisions, public notices and notified decisions. I might’ve missed something, I couldn’t find a resource consent for Veggie Boys to trade from Wal’s site.

I’m mystified – when I think about it, given all the activities going on at Wal’s, and what I can’t see on the council record, online at least, there appears to be more to look into consents-wise. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed. Maybe council staff have overlooked loading up the website. I’ll have to check the paperwork at City Planning when I get time.

Nurseryman turns dreams into reality (ODT 3.11.12)
Veggie Boys profile picture

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

62 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Fun, Media, Name, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning