Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development

By properly and logically establishing the significance of a historic port, plans can be laid that enhance and build on that significance and that incorporate difficult heritage buildings and structures.
–Simon Thurley, English Heritage

Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area
The New Zealand Historic Places Trust registered the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area on 4 April 2008 (List No. 7767). The historic area takes in properties at 25, 31-33 Thomas Burns Street, Birch Street, Fryatt Street, Fish Street, Willis Street, Cresswell Street, Tewsley Street, Wharf Street, Roberts Street and Mason Street.

nzhpt-dunedin-harbourside-historic-area-2 copyImage: Heritage New Zealand

The Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area is made up of the core of the port operations and associated businesses surrounding the steamer basin at the Upper Harbour in Dunedin which had developed by the first decades of the twentieth century. It includes a major portion of the land in Rattray, Willis and Cresswell Streets which was reclaimed by the end of the nineteenth century. It also includes the Fryatt Street and Cross Wharves, including the wharf sheds on Fryatt Street Wharf, as well as the former Otago Harbour Board Administration Building at the Junction of Birch Street and Cross Wharves, the former British Sailors’ Society Seafarers’ Centre, and the former Briscoe’s Wharf Store and Works on the corner of Birch, Wharf and Roberts Streets [since lost to fire], and the walls and bridge abutment on Roberts Street which are the remnants of the bridge which linked that Street to the city.
Read Registration report here.

Dunedin City Council has refused to list the Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area in the District Plan.

Harbour Basin aerialImage: ODT [screenshot]

### ODT Online Sat, 15 Mar 2014
‘Potential new harbourside developments ‘exciting’
By Chris Morris
Excitement is growing about the potential for fresh development of Dunedin’s harbourside, including a new marine science institute featuring a public aquarium being considered by the University of Otago. The Otago Daily Times understands university staff have already held preliminary talks with Dunedin City Council staff about a possible new marine science institute in the harbourside zone, on the south side of steamer basin. The Otago Regional Council has also met Betterways Advisory Ltd, which wants to build a waterfront hotel in the city, to discuss the ORC’s vacant waterfront site, it has been confirmed.
Read more

Potential for contemporary reuse – Fryatt Street wharfsheds
Dunedin wharf sheds [4.bp.blogspot.com] 1Dunedin wharf sheds [m1.behance.net] 1Images: 4.bp.blogspot.com; m1.behance.net

Historic ports are places that need intelligent interrogation before we start to reinvent them for the future: understanding their heritage significance is the first step.

On the waterfront: culture, heritage and regeneration of port cities

By Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive, English Heritage

I had better come clean at the start. I live in a port. As it happens, it is a port which was, in its time, and on a different scale, as successful as Liverpool was in its heyday. But that time is rather a long time ago now, in fact over four hundred years. In 1600 my home town of King’s Lynn was amongst Britain’s leading ports, bigger than Bristol in numbers of ships and with trading tentacles reaching into the Baltic and far into the Mediterranean. Lynn’s position as a port was destroyed by the railways and although it still has working docks today the tonnage that passes through is very small. Yet anyone visiting it can instantly see that this was once a port; the customs house, the old quays, the merchants houses, the big market places and the fishermen’s houses all add immeasurably to Lynn’s sense of place.

We not only ask developers to build new structures that respect the old, but we also require them to incorporate old ones that have value.

It is this sense of place, this character, that we at English Heritage will always say that needs to be understood. For us the first and most important thing is that any developer and the relevant local authority should have a full understanding of the place in which major change is are planned. Various tools have been invented over the years to try and help that process. These include characterisation, historical studies, view studies, urban analysis and more. But does this actually make any difference? What happens to the richly illustrated historical reports produced by consultants? Are they handed to architects who then use them as their bible? Are they taken up by the planners and turned into supplementary planning guidance? Or do they just get put on a shelf?

There can be a broad consensus about what constitutes successful development that preserves aesthetic values. The trick for planning authorities is finding a way to capture it.

The answer is that normally it just gets forgotten because for most developers and many local authorities heritage is just a hindrance. If a report on heritage is commissioned they will have ticked off a process that they need to say they have done, but once completed it can be set aside and everyone can get on with the business of making money. Ipswich is an example of this. Like many ports, it has refocused its commercial hub away from the historic centre leaving a lot of land in the historic trading heart for regeneration. The city decided to prepare what it called an Area Action Plan for the redevelopment of the historic port. This included some work on the history, archaeology and development of the area: all very useful. The process was then to take this forward to create a series of planning briefs and master plans to inform individual developments. This would reinforce general points in the action plan about storey heights, vistas and through routes as well as issues about historic character. Regrettably, this latter part was not done and what Ipswich got was lots of poorly designed high-rise flats built on a budget. And they got it with the heritage studies still sitting on a shelf.
Read more

Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock, Liverpool (1903) 1Image: English Heritage – Tobacco Warehouse 1903, Stanley Dock LP

Liverpool World Heritage Site
Liverpool was inscribed as a World Heritage Site as the supreme example of a maritime city and its docks are testimony to that claim. Jesse Hartley’s Albert Dock, opened in 1845, is the finest example of a nineteenth century wet dock in the world while the nearby Canning Graving Docks and Waterloo and Wapping Warehouses are also of note. North of Pier Head with its magnificent ‘Three Graces’, Stanley Dock, Victoria Clock Tower and Salisbury Dock lie derelict, awaiting re-use. Link

Contemporary development — Shed 10 and The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland
Queens Wharf - The Cloud Shed [conventionsnz.co.nz] 1Shed 10, Auckland [queens-wharf.co.nz] 1The Cloud Auckland CBD [queens-wharf.co.nz] 1The Cloud Auckland CBD June 2012 [upload.wikimedia.org] 2Images: (from top) conventionsnz.co.nz; queens_wharf.co.nz; queens_wharf.co.nz; upload.wikimedia.org

█ For more, enter the terms *loan and mercantile* or *harbourside* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Hotel, Innovation, Inspiration, Name, New Zealand, NZHPT, ORC, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

23 responses to “Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development

  1. ### ODT Online Mon, 17 Mar 2014
    Opinion: Your Say
    Waterfront hotel
    By Kuini Scott
    Hotel. Waterfront. Vast ugly box in front of beautiful graceful hills and the rest of a city that tucks itself into the shape of the land.
    Honolulu has boxes. Bondi has boxes. Heaps of cities have boxes, cutting the waterfront from the real people who live, work, love and grow their families there.
    Big boxes don’t fill up with the real people of the land, or enrich the heart of the landscape.
    Big ugly boxes never go away once they’re there, and the hole never heals. Why here? Link

  2. Peter

    A few years ago we spent a few hours in Ipswich in Suffolk, England. The town was depressed and seemed inhabited by bogans in the CBD.
    They had redeveloped the waterfront with a smart marina and high rise apartments. All good you might think….except it felt like The Viaduct in Auckland….and replicated elsewhere.
    If our waterfront is redeveloped it would be nice to be original.

  3. The ODT editor ponders with a little ditty of ‘old and new’ and most likely read the post at the top of this thread before suddenly sharpening his quill and splashing some ink about. Such is the value of social media on a good day, unacknowledged.

    ODT Editorial: Down by the harbourside
    The emergence of proposals for Dunedin’s “harbourside” are intriguing.

    • Copied from another thread.

      More wankery from Cull and COC but let’s add ORC and the University. Boys with itchy bits and no clues about what Dunedin can or should be, apart from China Disney University. The council chief executive is buying into this at a rate of many knots.


      • Woops, forgot to inform all the parties!

        ### ODT Online Wed, 26 Mar 2014
        Chinese offer marine centre help
        By Chris Morris
        A marine science institute – including a public aquarium – that could help transform Dunedin’s waterfront could be built with Chinese assistance. An offer to help the University of Otago build the facility, if it proceeded, was made by a Chinese party in Qingdao earlier this month, during the Dunedin delegation’s trip to Shanghai, China, it has been confirmed. Dunedin City Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said it was one of several potential business joint ventures discussed during the trip, although the offer was yet to be considered in detail.
        Read more

        A council chief executive is a Town Clerk, nothing more. The position should now include defending Dunedin ratepayers and residents against DCC’s past and present injustices, against those in positions of power and influence responsible for massive massive multimillion-dollar losses.

        Sadly, we’re expecting the Stadium Review to deliver a monumental whitewash, one that will put the latest OAG report on Delta firmly in the shadow. That is because DCC is inept, negligent, corrupt and fraudulent. The DCC is NOT independent and cannot “review” itself to make things right with The People.


        Now, CE Bidrose is proposing new jobs and restructuring at DCC, to add fat away from CORE BUSINESS. This is “SO JIM”, “SO TITANIC”.

        The existing positions of economic development and property group manager, held at present by Robert Clark, and customer services agency manager Adrian Blair, would be disestablished under the proposed changes. (ODT)

        ### ODT Online Wed, 26 Mar 2014
        Further DCC restructuring proposed
        By Debbie Porteous
        Creating a new city promotion team within the Dunedin City Council looks set to have ramifications for the way the council’s commercial property investments are managed. The Otago Daily Times understands the council is proposing two management positions be disestablished and three new positions created under a new council structure.
        Two new groups with new group managers would be created and the council’s commercial property investment portfolio split off from operational property and moved into the finance team. A commercial property investment manager position would be created with responsibility for overseeing such investments across the whole council family, including by council-owned and controlled companies.
        One of the new groups would include the economic development, city marketing (separate from council marketing) and i-Site teams under a new group manager. The other new group would bring the operational property team and the customer services agency into one group under a new group manager.
        The three new positions would be open to applications.
        Read more

        • Hype O'Thermia

          How much marketing do they need when they’ve got damn-all left to sell? Either it’s what should be core business and definitely not for sale (water) or it’s mortgaged to the hilt – oops, owned by a set of initials funded by another set of initials, I mean – and worth far less than we the ratepayers paid (are paying), not that we’re sure how much exactly that is because of all the smoke and mirrors between ourselves and the DCC’s Mobius Strip accounting system.

        • ### dunedintv.co.nz April 28, 2014 – 6:53pm
          DCC’s Robert Clark steps down
          The man in charge of the Dunedin City Council’s property portfolio is leaving the role he has held for the last six years. Group manager of economic development and property Robert Clark is returning to the commercial sector. The council says the creation of a city marketing agency and proposed structural changes will affect property operations. It says that review provided an opportunity for Clark to return to the commercial property environment, and pursue other interests.
          Ch39 Link [no video available]

          █ See tomorrow’s ODT.


          Dunedin City Council – Media Release
          Manager Economic Development and Property moving on

          This item was published on 28 Apr 2014

          The Dunedin City Council’s Group Manager Economic Development and Property Robert Clark is leaving the organisation after six years to return to the commercial sector. General Manager Infrastructure and Networks Tony Avery says Mr Clark’s last day at the DCC will be on Friday, although he will continue to do transitional consulting work in the coming months on some significant projects.

          Mr Avery says the DCC is currently working on the creation of a City marketing agency and proposed structural changes, some of which may impact on its property operations. “The DCC and Robert have been in discussion around the future of the Property Group within Council. Robert has achieved a number of significant successful property and commercial projects and outcomes for the city. The review of property operations has provided an opportunity for Robert to return to the commercial property environment and pursue other interests. Robert wishes his team and colleagues well and said it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with such a talented group and achieve such positive outcomes for the city. He leaves the DCC with our best wishes and we look forward to an ongoing working relationship with Robert.”

          Mr Avery says the DCC is still in consultation with staff regarding the proposed marketing group and other organisational changes, and an announcement is expected from CEO Sue Bidrose by the end of the week.

          Contact General Manager Infrastructure and Networks on 477 4000.

          DCC Link

  4. Mike

    My marine biologist friend tells me that the water quality in the harbour basin is too poor for research (or for aquariums) the researchers prefer the existing location, the Uni powers that be want a show aquarium that’s close by.

    • The health of the upper harbour is always plagued due to the poor flushing cycle. The university being the Starship Enterprise, as Anonymous touched on at another thread recently (see post on the childcare facilities being built at Castle Street), will bring its academic might and expanded, nearly rates-free conglomeration to the problem of keeping the sides of a new and wondrous harbourside goldfish bowl sparkling clean.

      • Mike

        Another friend, also a marine biologist, suggests we build an underground channel from the harbour to St Kilda beach and install a hydro generator to make use of the tidal differential …. this would both help flush the upper harbour and make power.

  5. Some time ago I postulated an argument that the University should take over the Stadium. I put it by email to the heads of the Departments of Biology, Zoology and Marine Biology. Needless to say, there was no response. I suggested that those departments could take over the Stadium and convert the playing area into a large arboretum and fill it with indigenous flora and fauna. The East area could be fitted out with tanks and laboratories to replace the Portobello Research facilities (which has to happen). Sea water could be pumped from the harbour to the tanks and discharged either into the Leith or piped back to the harbour. (Mike’s friend has scotched that apparently). The corporate boxes and facilities could be converted to admin. and lecture rooms and laboratories. The Arena would be a live flora and fauna laboratory, which could also be a public attraction for paid admissions generating revenue. It would free up existing Zoology and Biology buildings for other university activities, some of which is adjacent to the Dental School which is up for major renewal. A purchase price satisfactory to both the University and the DCC could be negotiated, starting from $1 perhaps. Any offers?

    • Would that lucky one dollar price have free rust treatment and structural remedy of the roof trusses thrown in? Daaave is the ratepayers’ used car salesman extraordinaire.

  6. Mike, this was suggested seventy odd years ago by some American engineers, except it was an open canal.

    For years the Otago Yacht Club has battled Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council to find a solution to the silting problems that have prevented full use of the Leith Boat Harbour. Silting at the marina has made access impossible at low tide even for small boats.
    The Otago Regional Council has granted resource consent to dredge and dispose of spoil from the city’s marina – the consent can be used by any of the organisations using the Boat Harbour Recreation Reserve. Dredgings can be added to the spoil from Port Otago, which had consents to dump harbour silt at Aramoana, Heyward Point and Shelley Beach. The yacht club spoil would make up less than one-tenth of 1% of the total Port Otago material.

  8. Robert Clark leaving to move into commercial property. He will be retained in a consultant mode covering current projects. Shades of his predecessor Dave McKenzie. My guess is he got the DCM (don’t come Monday) and the property department is in for a serious shake up. Look for a substantial sell down. That’s what bankrupt businesses do prior to going belly up. In the DCC’s case that won’t happen because the ratepayers underwrite the debt. Still, it will be good sign if it results in divesting of non-strategic properties and paying down some debt. My big worry would be if these muppets see some money the first thing they’ll want to do is blow it on some other nutty schemes.

  9. Dunedin Harbourside

    ### ODT Online Sat, 31 May 2014
    New life for old building
    By Timothy Brown
    More than a decade after its last tenants left, new life will be breathed into the historic New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd building in Dunedin. The exterior of the category two, 1872 building will be restored and the second floor redeveloped into a 24-unit apartment complex if a proposed resource consent application is approved, owner Russell Lund says. “The building is protected so we won’t alter the outside to any great degree,” he said.
    Read more

  10. Anonymous

    Ah, the penny finally drops…

  11. Yes. Only after Mr Lund’s oratory in submission supporting the waterfront hotel application at the Sing Song resource consent hearing – second only to the quite extended OPERA by Francis Whitaker, supportive Dunedin architect.

  12. Anonymous

    I do not come to bury Ms Jing Song, I come to praise her…

  13. Elizabeth

    On the history of the Otago Seafarers Charitable Trust.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 3 Nov 2014
    Seafarers’ welfare well catered for
    By Bruce Munro
    The first Sailors’ Rest in the southern hemisphere is sitting pretty 142 years on. In fact, the earliest expression of what is now the Otago Seafarers Charitable Trust was even earlier. The Bethel Union Society first met in Port Chalmers in 1863 with a view to “provide religious guidance and welfare for visiting seafarers”. The only official Sailors’ Rest south of the equator opened in Port Chalmers in 1872. A Dunedin off-shoot opened in Rattray St five years later, under the auspices of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
    Read more + Photo

    Plato restaurant ex British Sailors Society, 2 Birch St (2002) - EJ Kerr 2014 render1Plato restaurant ex British Sailors Society, 2 Birch St (2002). Render by whatifdunedin.

    “After taking over the assets of the Port Chalmers Merchant Navy Club in 1958, a purpose-built Seafarers Centre was opened in Birch St, Dunedin, in 1962. The building is now Plato restaurant.” (ODT)

  14. Elizabeth

    Papers on waterfront redevelopment —generalities

    University of Pennsylvania | ScholarlyCommons
    Theses (Historic Preservation) Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
    From Dockyard to Esplanade: Leveraging Industrial Heritage in Waterfront Redevelopment
    Jayne O. Spector
    University of Pennsylvania

    [Illustrations, pp138-198]

    15th International Planning History Society Conference, July 15-18, 2012
    ‘Our Harbour… Their Dream’: Heritage, History and Heartache in the Redevelopment of the Port Adelaide Waterfront, South Australia.
    Dr Gertrude E Szili*
    Dr Matthew W Rofe
    *School of the Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia

    Click to access SZILI_ROFE.PDF

    Port Technology International Edition 61: February 2014
    Environment and Sustainability
    Sustainability and community involvement in port redevelopment
    Dr Angela Carpenter, visiting researcher,
    University of Leeds, United Kingdom

    Click to access A._Carpenter.pdf

    Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, June 18-20, 2014
    Sustainable Seaports: Incorporating Sustainable Development in Port Redevelopment Approaches (Working Paper)
    Angela Carpenter


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s