DCC: Octagon entrée to more spending

Octagon Webcam BW 1.1

From the DCC website:

The Octagon Upgrade

The Octagon is Dunedin’s key central public space. Its form defines the central city and the area has great historic, social, cultural and economic significance. As a consequence, the Octagon has a special place in the heart of Dunedin residents.

Looking to the future, there are a number of challenges and opportunities for managing, protecting and enhancing the Octagon. These include providing enough public space, improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and investigating traffic use.

We also need to look at how to provide a safe environment both day and night, and how to reduce conflicts between different user groups and ensure commercial and non-commercial groups can both benefit from the area. Also to be considered is monitoring the health and future of the plane trees and appropriately recognising the historic and cultural significance of the area and its important heritage buildings. Other issues include improving urban amenity and the role of public art.

An initial concept put forward by consultants proposes a staged approach to the Octagon:
● Stage one would focus on improving pedestrian and public space in the lower Octagon within the road reserve outside existing bars, cafes and nightclubs on the northern side of the Octagon
● Stage two would focus on improving pedestrian and public space in the lower Octagon within the road reserve outside the Regent Theatre and neighbouring cafes, bars, and businesses
● Stage three would focus on the upper Octagon and the reserve area in the lower Octagon. The idea is to better link the two sections of the Octagon, maximise the area of usable public open space and views of significant heritage buildings, and look at traffic flows.

However, at this early stage no design has been chosen for any upgrade to the Octagon. The Council is keen to hear how people see the future of the Octagon and what they would like to see in the area, before launching a formal consultation process to discuss future options.

● To provide an attractive public open space in the central city
● To improve safety in and around the Octagon
● To increase room for pedestrians and make the area more vibrant and people-friendly
● To enhance opportunities for businesses around the Octagon
● To provide opportunities for a range of users, both day and night
● To provide a setting for key city events
● To respect and enhance the historical importance of the Octagon

Proposed improvements may include
● Pavement improvements
● Adjustments to road layouts
● New bins and seating
● Interactive play equipment and/or public art
● Enhanced lighting
● Street trees and planting improvements
● Cycle racks

● Project planning underway
● Consultation to be programmed

Associated initiatives
● Princes Street upgrade
● George Street upgrade
● Pocket parks
● Improvements to Queens Gardens and improved links to neighbouring tourist precinct
● Upgrade of Exchange Square

DCC Link

2011 concept for redevelopment of The Octagon up for debate again at last night’s Dunedin City Council CBD planning workshop:

DCC Octagon upgrade proposal

The plan was not a proposal, and would need to be reconsidered by the council and implemented over time, but “may be able to happen”. –Kobus Mentz, Urbanismplus (Auckland)

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Oct 2014
Reimagined CBD proposals heard
By Chris Morris
Visions of a redeveloped Octagon, a more pedestrian-friendly George St and a buzzing network of free buses took centre stage at a Dunedin City Council workshop last night. The ideas flowed as about 45 people gathered at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery for a second night to share their views on the future of the city’s central business district.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
● 28.9.14 “DCC entitlement” about to ramrod change at CBD #manipulation
24.9.14 Dunedin old boys, councillors & staff collude on 5-star accommodation
● 5.8.14 DCC staff-led CBD projects that impact ratepayers…
4.8.14 Cr Wilson’s integrity ‘in tatters’
23.6.14 DCC Annual Plan 2014/15 + Rugby and Rates
● 22.6.14 Vogel Street Heritage Precinct (TH13)
22.5.14 DCC Transportation Planning —ANOTHER consultation disaster
7.5.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 hearings
6.5.14 Roading network screwed by council staff
● 30.4.14 Octagon mud
21.4.14 Dunedin economic development strategy — low flying Year 1
1.4.14 HOTEL Town Hall… Daaave’s pals from… [April Fool’s?]
14.1.14 DCC: Hospital area parking changes #cyclelanes
24.12.13 Daaave’s $47 million Christmas present to Jinty. We’re paying.
4.12.13 Dunedin cycleways: Calvin Oaten greeted by DCC silence
17.11.13 Dunedin cycleways: Calvin Oaten’s alternative route
11.11.13 DCC: Councillors delegated street furniture decisions to staff
8.11.13 Dunedin Separated Cycle Lane Proposal
5.11.13 DCC, NZTA: Cycle lanes controversy
24.9.13 Mediocrity and lack of critical awareness at DCC
4.9.13 Draft Dunedin City Transport Strategy
8.3.13 Stupid bid for two-way highway ditched for now #DCC
31.10.12 Cull’s council takes business away from retailers

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: Octagon Webcam; DCC Graphic – Artist impression (2011)


Filed under Business, Construction, Cycle network, DCC, Design, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Media, New Zealand, NZTA, ORC, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design, What stadium

24 responses to “DCC: Octagon entrée to more spending

  1. Looks like the Cull McTavish clique have declared war on the motor car and will have them out of the CBD altogether sooner or later. The Octagon proposed makeover would isolate the north from the south absolutely, which, like it or not, will kill CBD retail slowly but surely. That and the reverting of Crawford St back to two way will further add chaos to the transiting of Dunedin by SH1 traffic. All in the cause of progress. No wonder Dunedin is in serious decline both in industrial, commercial, retail and demographically. It will be no place for the elderly, the infirm or the poorer sections of the populace. The land of the young lycra clad physically beautiful people who will all have six figure salaries, designer children and SUVs to take themselves off to the ski fields at their Central hideaways at every opportunity. Where is the leadership?

    • Elizabeth

      Leadership, Calvin? Placed in the hands of one who is unproven and without any urban design qualifications whatsoever, and fully none in regional economics. Like DCC cares (about gentrification….).

    • Mick

      The Octagon Upgrade
      Well, all they are doing at this stage is having a look at The Octagon, nothing wrong with that. But then they really beat it up and go on to say that there are ‘challenges’ and ‘opportunities’ to manage protect and enhance it and to provide ‘enough’ public space and improve ‘safety’ for pedestrians and cyclists day and night and reduce conflicts between user groups. Oower!

      All good stuff you might think. But wait a minute. Aren’t there always challenges and opportunities in every situation, and isn’t it always the council’s job to manage and protect and enhance its property. And isn’t ALL of The Octagon public space – owned by the City. How will they increase its sufficiency? Isn’t it also the council’s job to make things ‘safe’ for all pedestrians and cyclists – always? Also, it was omitted in the blurb by the way, motorists too.

      In all, what they are saying is we want a make work scheme (for the consultants?). They then submit a scheme that trashes, by the way, about half of the plane trees that they say they want to protect, digs up the existing paving and grass then digs up the existing lawn and pave that. It is just a case of musical paving and lawn. For what? Then, for goodness sake, they tell us to disregard the plan they submit. Shame.

      Its main change however seems to be intent upon making a grandiose statement to focus upon the town hall that runs counter intuitively to the basic original plan. Perhaps a bit of psychology? The mayor is bound to like that. The traffic lanes are reduced and rendered more or less dysfunctional and it seems that the parking spaces have all but disappeared.

      They are right, we should disregard the plan. We should also disregard the whole notion right now and concentrate on the debt we have been saddled with.

      We don’t need any new tarting up of The Octagon right now. The city is shrinking along with the rating base. The stuff contained in the council blurb is vacuous nonsense. Sure, planning is a continuing process, no argument there, but planning also includes prioritising, budgeting and planning to overcome debt. We have got a lot of the latter.

  2. Anonymous

    How will the young, lycra-clad designer parents reach the ski fields when they have declared war on the motor car?
    And when they do, will there be any snow?

  3. Peter

    Calvin. The elderly also now wear lycra. Get with the programme. You might like it.

  4. Peter, when I see you in lycra, I’ll first shield my eyes and then give it serious consideration.

  5. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon, 6 Oct 2014
    Alcohol rule changes: time to have your say
    By Andrew Coster
    As would be expected, the liquor industry is rallying strongly against any tightening of the rules on alcohol in response to the Dunedin City Council’s draft local alcohol policy. The usual commentary is being thrown around about the risked loss of vibrancy in our city’s entertainment quarter. However, when the suggestions are tested against international experience, we can see that vibrancy does not have to mean technicolour. The experience of many international cities that have experimented with extended trading hours before pulling back to more traditional closing times has been that reducing hours does not impact on vibrancy.
    Read more

  6. Elizabeth

    It was not intended the trees be replaced with either small or specimen trees, as there were plans to look at the Octagon’s design.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 29 Jan 2015
    Developments in Octagon design experiment
    By Rebecca Fox
    New seating will be installed temporarily in place of the two plane trees removed from the Octagon this week. The 130 year old trees in the Octagon carriageway were removed for safety reasons by contractors on Monday and Tuesday nights. Council parks recreation and aquatics group manager Mick Reece said the removal went well and there were some ”happy wood turners out there”.
    Read more

    A relatively junior DCC staff member (with a rather poor agenda for EXPENSIVE near totalitarian change in the CBD) has, it seems, almost unstoppable ability to speak on behalf of ‘the council’ and the council’s executive leadership team – why is that ? How does that happen ? Seemingly, ‘cycles between’ the positions of Policy Planner (Heritage) and Acting Team Urban Design Leader (with no professional accreditation or senior peer-reviewed work experience in the field of Urban Design) – which are not one and the same. How does that happen ? With what salary boosts or increments ? Tapping an artery straight to the mayor and [some] councillors, as well as the CE and GCFO (for decisions and rates funds). How does that happen ? How does that minimise risk and liability for the council, or the individual ? Why is one staff member given speaking rights and privileges above their station, in preference to other more senior staff and managers, inter-departmentally. WHY.
    This is not about whether the work is perceived to be “good” or “bad” inside and outside council — is it slip/slidey favouritism (to use a well-known Millers Flat phrase, somebody’s darling); a few other words might apply to this forsaken or was it abandoned council chain of command, professional supervision and accredited expertise.

  7. Elizabeth

    The right question, put by the columnist. 0nce again, DCC is not being led appropriately internally in the matters of urban design and architecture; further, it’s a grave mistake to put faith in out-of-town consultants Urbanismplus with their cookie cutter approach to New Zealand’s CBDs. *snarlingyawnwithblacklaceveil

    ### ODT Online Mon, 2 Feb 2015
    Losing sight of Kettle’s plan
    By Peter Entwisle – Art Beat
    OPINION There was a report that the spaces where two trees were felled in the Octagon would not be replanted but used to experiment with seats (ODT, 29.1.15). This is part of the still a work in progress redesigning of the Octagon. I’m not sure why it needs to be redesigned since the present layout, features and furniture were only put in place in 1989. How often do they redesign Trafalgar Square?
    Read more

    • Mick

      Peter Entwisle is right. There is no need to redesign the Octagon. And what’s more the idea put forward is wrong in about every aspect that one can imagine.

      It is wrong at this time and for that matter any time in the foreseeable future because we can’t afford it with the level of debt the council has already inflicted upon us with other grandiose schemes of questionable value.
      It is wrong because it doesn’t improve the Octagon in any material or functional way.
      It is wrong physically because it contradicts and conflicts with the natural functional performance and repose of the space.
      It is wrong aesthetically because of the conflicting alignments of the elements, not only awkward in both alignment and gradient but also visually confusing.
      It is wrong socially because it pretends to establish a new axial dominance focussed upon, at one end, the Town Hall, and the other somewhere near the Regent theatre. This has no value except perhaps an attempt to ingratiate the designers with the office of the Mayor and Councillors by massaging their egos with a sense of grandeur. This is likely to alienate the public, a patent and signal social failure.

      In short leave it alone. The Octagon has stood the test of time and works quite well as it is.

  8. Peter

    Peter’s comment,’How often do they redesign Trafalgar Square?’ is apt. I also think the Octagon is fine as it is. I love that little avenue of trees going through the middle. I hope the tree loss isn’t used as an excuse to, say, we may as well pull the lot out and do a redesign while we’re at it.
    We have to be careful with what we do to the heart of our city. When I first came to NZ 35 years ago, I thought Cathedral Square in Christchurch was more attractive than later on pre-earthquake. For one thing, they took out the red colour brickwork paving and put in horrible grey paving. Very sterile. Also some older building were pulled down.The square, in the end, wouldn’t look out of place in Soviet days. (Now it doesn’t really matter there because the rebuild looks ugly, so far. We don’t want to destroy what is already beautiful here, do we.)

  9. Elizabeth

    Well folks, get that message to DCC’s Glen Hazelton before he kills the Octagon with Jinty (and the Generation Zero flower-power), Daaave, Thomson and Benson-Pope’s blessing. I mean, let’s be blunt about what we like so they can understand.

  10. Peter

    Nicolae Ceaușescu, the former dictator of Romania, rebuilt central Bucharest in his own image of grandeur. Monolithic public buildings were built in the Soviet style, where there is no human dignity evident in the buildings created. I understand Bucharest is now one of the most depressing… and boring… capital cities in Europe.
    Likewise, I have visited Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgystan in Central Asia. The central square, at one end, has an arc of ‘grand’ buildings, built like a Hollywood set, where there is no actual depth to the buildings. Bizarre.
    (Mind you, the daily changing of the guard with impeccably uniformed goose stepping soldiers, marching in perfect sequence, was fun to see.)

  11. Calvin Oaten

    Now there’s a thought Peter! How would it be as tourist attraction if there was a noonday ceremony Mondays to Fridays conducted in the Octagon, whereby the Councillors in full formal dress led by the Mayor in his ermine cloak and silly hat paraded from the Town Hall steps anti-clockwise around the perimeter back to the steps. The ‘plebs’ could crowd around in wonder and awe, some might even toss the odd tomato. A sort of trooping of the colour, if you know what I mean. If it set off sharp at 12 noon the clock could strike until the circuit was completed. Ominous thought I know but worth a submission to the Annual Plan? Should appeal to Dave at least, and much better than lycra on a cycle.

  12. Peter

    I think you are onto something here, Calvin. I expect follow through on this in your submission.

  13. Anonymous

    Cr Thomson must go. Road to ruin.

    • Mick

      Anonymous @ February 3, 2015 at 7:48 am
      What would you expect from this ‘geeza’ – from the ‘Urban dictionary’ – Geeza – Old english slang, referring to someone who has either just done something stupid, wrong, or done something to someone. Also spelt geezer, geezar. So Anonymous, I think I have to agree with you. His public life record seems to be a series of cock ups and bad decisions.

  14. Elizabeth

    I SUPPORT this spend, it’s a basic necessity stupidly withheld by successive councils for bloody years while every other bastard wrote strategies, hired more staff, poured money down drains (the wrong drains), and paid over hundreds of millions of dollars to frigging professional rugby interests. A total bitchslap to DCC.


    █ From today, the [Municipal Lane] toilets, staffed by an attendant, will be open 24 hours a day.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 18 Dec 2015
    Council spends hefty penny for 24/7 loos
    By David Loughrey
    The Dunedin City Council has decided to spend a $54,000 penny to open the Municipal Lane toilets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The council announced yesterday it would finally act on discussion about the issue that has been regularly bandied about in meetings and agendas over the past decade.
    Read more

    • Peter

      Elizabeth says,’l support this spend.’ Must be an age thing! Ditto.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        I hope they “splash out” on signs around town informing locals and visitors where the all-night loos are. All locals ought to be able to give information about such a basic necessity. And whether local or visiting, it’s no use trying to find it when you’re in need if you’re not already in the Octagon facing the sign.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Not just age. Pregnancy, large fluid intake, diarrhoea including overdoing the fresh Central Otago ripe fruit!

  15. Gurglars

    Personally I like the new name for the mayor- no not Santa

    Nicolas Ceausescu

    It’s got a nice finality to it.

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