Design alternatives to (pre-selected) bridge not canvassed by DCC

GOODBYE to Rattray St VIEW Shaft from Queens Gardens to the waterside.

HELLO to other serious impediments to unique and very significant harbourside cultural heritage and landscape values at the planned city.

Here is another DCC-inspired critically dead PLONK OBJECT.
An overhead rail bridge. Who gains.

Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets [DCC files] 1DCC files: Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets [click to enlarge]

It looks innocuous, nothing to scare the horses. A simple sling over the tracks at an estimated a cost of “about $3 million”.

What’s the fuss? Ahhh well.
The history of political deception through use of loose architectural sketches is tied (here as anywhere) to DCC departmental reports and estimates that hardly ever approximate REAL cost. Multiply by two.

Then the idea that the “hotel” is back on the drawing boards, if not a screw-us invitation to Asian investment for the south side.

By all means let’s escalate this (an idea) – the tame little cheapie bridge (pictured above, significantly downplayed structurally as a pencil mark) is another potential rort in the grand family of Council rorts that includes the Stadium*, Centre for High Performance Sport*, Carisbrook*, Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment*, Citifleet*, City Forests*, Delta investments (severally)*, Cycle Network et al, and very probably the proposed Mosgiel pool if it gains traction for Taieri property speculators. For each, an independent forensic audit isn’t out of the question – for ratepayer ‘information’ that could depose the Council in favour of a Commissioner, presupposing later redress at Court. Visit resort to the *Crimes Act. Now, there’s a ‘visitor strategy’ for Dunedin !!

Meekly, more circumspectly (after all, it was just an idea, a stretch), those of us trained in architectural rendering and graphics as well as contemporary design philosophy of the marketplace know the tricks intimately; we’re not above exploiting them for a quick buck and a further string of new jobs by secret handshake.

Lucky for some, each deal at Dunedin (with links to Queenstown and Auckland if via Christchurch lawyers and accountants) can be sown up by a very small number of predatory boys. The same list we’ve had on our backburner books tracing the Stadium debacle —beginning to rise apparent at the ODT front page of Friday, 22 May 2015. An intriguing warning shot.

But is this right ? Has Dunedin City Council been wowed by just one bridge proposal ? Has DCC in the first place only ever been looking for a bridge —not seeking opportunities for alternatives, such as a designer underpass or an immediately legible automatically controlled crossing at grade, for light vehicle transit as well (shared roads) ?

It’s pretty poor and conflicting if Dunedin City councillors and senior council management have indeed sold out (under a red-carpeted table) to a lone solicited vision of an overhead bridge UNTESTED BY PROFESSIONAL COMPETITION – another signature WHITE model, to augment those other visions in WHITE for ORC sites at the Steamer Basin —nicely, satisfyingly calculated by that little list of club players.

It’s not hard to imagine that this mere slip of a concrete and steel flyover, is an “enlightenment” carrying the City re-brand. A cause célèbre for ego-fired DCC infidels and speculator man-pals. The very people who can’t bear to endure sage, conservative, long-term economic modelling for Dunedin, taking the city and region through 10 to 50 years of solid management to ensure business diversity and job creation. No, they prefer ad hoc spurts and short-term squander plans (how manly, even when couched as the soft-illustrated 2011 Central City Plan FFS).

Where, for this crossing, is the city council’s reasonably time-lined, broadly advertised, professional design competition with clearly expressed intent to utilise open tendering methods for architectural design, engineering and construction ??



The Otago Daily Times has learned the bridge is among only a few New Zealand projects vying for the next allocation from the Urban Cycleway Fund.

### ODT Online Thu, 28 May 2015
Bridge on funding short list
By Chris Morris
A multimillion-dollar bridge linking Dunedin’s inner city and waterfront has been short-listed for Government funds. […] An announcement is expected next month, and, if successful, the bridge could be considered for construction over the next three years.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Carisbrook, Citifleet, Construction, CST, Cycle network, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Highlanders, Hotel, Innovation, Inspiration, KiwiRail, LGNZ, Media, Museums, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, NZTA, OAG, ORFU, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design

32 responses to “Design alternatives to (pre-selected) bridge not canvassed by DCC

  1. Elizabeth

    Oh yeah. Flight of fancy.
    Inflationary madness of the post-writer.
    It’s just a bridge.
    We all like shiny toys right.

    Related Post and Comments:
    18.3.14 Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development
    5.1.14 Norman Foster: SkyCycling utopia above London railways #ThinkBig

    For more, enter the search terms *harbourside*, *hotel*, *betterways* *jing song*, *ballon*, *shane mcgrath* or *loan and mercantile* in the search box at right.

    • @Elizabeth
      May 29, 2015 at 2:19 am
      The ODT says “A multimillion-dollar bridge linking Dunedin’s inner city and waterfront has been short-listed for Government funds.”

      Who was responsible for shortlisting this for funds? Please don’t tell me that it was Jim Harland.

      And then the ODT says:
      [Ruth Stokes] “The connectivity, and not just for cyclists but for pedestrians from the central city straight through to the harbour – that’s the key benefit.”

      Yes – we all knew (for ages) that stopping this section of Rattray Street diminished this ‘connectivity’.

      Well this matter and the bridge idea had been thoroughly discussed some time ago and there were many disadvantages including serious design problems for such a structure besides costs that were identified that contributed to its rejection as a solution to the problem. As Elizabeth says these few ‘pencil’ marks shown on the sketch hardly convey any information.

      This re emergence after four years hardly legitimises this particular concept nor obviates the need for proper debate.

      It wasn’t Jim Harland was responsible for the shortlisting was it?

      {Moderated. -Eds}

      • Diane Yeldon

        There’s something fishy about the way various people keep proposing this bridge and various locations for it. Am pressed for time at the moment but I wonder if it is linked in some way to land access and re-zoning and possibly even someone who owns nearby land, or has an interest in it, making a fast buck – with as few costs to them as possible, of course. Re-instating the historic link looked like a good idea to me and as if it was without any kind of stacked or secret agendas.

  2. Peter

    It will be interesting to see, in say twenty years time, what parts of the CBD will be thriving and what parts have fallen back. Regeneration vs decay happens in all cities over time as we all know.
    Princes St and Exchange area seems to be on the up now.

  3. The Gresham was a hotel for matelots. When a matelot was asked ‘Would you like a Steak sandwich?’, swift was the riposte ‘No thanks, I’ve just had one’. Back to boats was over the railway line, where the Chinese Garden is now.

    • Peter

      Alanbec. That’s the beauty of old buildings. The history of what’s known and unknown.
      We live in a house built in the early 1870s in a part of town with a raunchy past.
      Who knows what kind of people slept in our bedroom….or whatever!

  4. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Mon, 8 Jun 2015
    Rattray St overbridge would block last view through to harbour
    By Peter Entwisle – Art Beat
    OPINION In my last column I repeated the objections to a proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge at Rattray St over the railway to make a link between the central city and the harbourside. A link would be good but any bridge, even a narrow one for pedestrians and cyclists, would reduce the last remaining view from the central city of the harbour waters and the hills beyond.
    Read more

  5. Elizabeth

    [Cr David Benson Pope] agrees the viewshaft is important and that a level crossing or an underpass would be preferable.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 22 Jun 2O15
    Councillors respond to bridge concerns
    By Peter Entwisle – Art Beat
    OPINION In the last column I named the elected representatives who had replied to my emails raising my concerns about the proposed pedestrian and cycle bridge over the railway tracks at Rattray St. I have had more replies since.
    Read more

  6. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Fri, 26 Jun 2015
    SH88 cycleway plan a ‘win-win’
    By Chris Morris
    New Zealand Transport Agency plans to complete the State Highway 88 cycleway to Port Chalmers include building an elevated pathway on top of a 2.5m-high retaining wall to negotiate the Roseneath cutting. The New Zealand Transport Agency is seeking public input on the designs, which, once built, would see an uninterrupted walking and cycling pathway running 9.5km from the city to Port Chalmers.


    Government splashes out on cycleway funding….

    ODT: $6.6m boost for city cycleways
    […] infrastructure services committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson said a primary focus would be a new bridge linking the harbour and inner-city for cyclists and pedestrians. It would also link future central-city and NEV cycling routes with those being developed on Otago Peninsula and alongside SH88 to Port Chalmers, she said. “The bridge is a big part of that connectivity to each of those other networks.”

    • Elizabeth

      ### June 26, 2015 – 5:47pm
      Single largest cycling investment in NZ history set to benefit locals
      Dunedin’s benefiting from the single biggest cycling investment in New Zealand’s history. The government’s allocating just over $6m to the development of more local cycleways. And that’s got authority figures excited.

    • Elizabeth

      39 Dunedin Television Published on Sep 14, 2015
      New walking and cycling path to link Port Chalmers to the city

      ### Monday, September 14, 2015
      New walking and cycling path to link Port Chalmers to the city
      The New Zealand Transport Agency is gearing up for a costly project linking Port Chalmers to the city.
      Ch39 Link

      [project worth between $5m and $10m]

  7. McGonigal latterly Gurglars

    Air New Zealand have just announced they have commissioned from Boeing, a plane fitted with 342 cycles. Each passenger wears a bicycle helmet and pedals all the way from Beijing, the plane is able to land at Taieri airport due to its slow landing speed. The DCC have announced a plan to cut a tunnel through from Taeri to Caversham to take the heat from the passengers tired after their long trip. Jim Harland has announced that National roads will contribute $5 to the cost of the tunnel exciting Jinty MacTavish who gushed that Dunedin ratepayers would now only need to find $26 billion to complete the work. The National government citing savings from road accidents offered $15 million as long as the DCC built an overhead flying bridge from Aramoana to Tairoa head as three Chinese following a GPS had cycled into the sea at the Aramoana Mole seeking the Portobello cycleway. Arrow International have agreed to build the flying bridge at their cost which includes holidays for DCC managers in Beijing, Shanghai and Martins Bay. The DCC have approved this kind offer without going to tender.

    Mayor Cull stated, which other construction company would be so generous to the staff!

    The DCC in a press release today said that they had asked Air NZ to purchase another similar plane so that their staff and councillors could enjoy a similar ride to Beijing. Dunedin ratepayers supported this move on the condition all went and it was one way only.

    Stop Press (from the ODT)

    At least 152 staff have gone missing from the DCC. Investigations by the staff of one at the DCC, the manager for cleaning toilets, We-go Ping, an immigrant who explained that she missed the plane to China purposely as she had just arrived and was very tired. The remunerations authority granted Ms Ping $360,000 pa as new leader, and suggested if that was not enough she now apply for the job of CEO at Delta. Her investigations of the loss of 152+ staff have not been completed, but early indications from the police and Deloitte are that the statue in the Octagon, one Robert Burns may have been involved, his surname suggesting arson.

    Further Stop Press (Channel 39)

    Police have arrested Mr Robert Burns, an immigrant from Scotland, and have been interviewing him all day. Senior Detective Schonk of the Dunedin constabulary said that Mr Burns was not cooperating and would be locked up until he gave himself up. Dunedin police are not seeking anyone else in connection to the disappearance of the 152+ staff.

    Stop Stop Press.

    Three Chinese bikers who rode off the Aramoana mole recently were found bedraggled at Murderers
    Beach yesterday. When asked what happened they advised that on recent trip to Scandanavia they had purchased a GPS from a group of lemmings. The DCC has now hushhushed this from the ODT as it may affect the RTA contribution to the flyover. One of the Chinese remarked later that it was a coincidence they had ridden off the mole as it was a lemming GPS, the mole version only went to Caversham.

    • Diane Yeldon

      “Formerly Gurglars”: I think there was a MacGonigal who was famous for writing poetry of a truly monumental awfulness. You seem to be following in his footsteps with ‘news reports’ of the same ilk. So sad that we often see alarmingly similar in the local newspaper, possibly sometimes based on DCC exuberant and enthusiastic press releases. And, then, of course, there’s the NZTA, whose leadership is bound to be doing a good job, especially when there are large sums of money floating about. Although “Formerly Gurglars” may be joking, it seems the others are deadly serious. Deadly indeed, leading ratepayers – and taxpayers – ‘down the gurglar’. Really – it isn’t hard to think of more useful things to do with large amounts of money. For a start, fix the drains!

  8. Elizabeth

    Beautifully encapsulated, McGonigal – no eerie too high to fly, no gulch too deep to wade.

  9. Elizabeth

    The Dunedin City Council has delayed a decision on the future of the South Dunedin cycle network, and it appears the concept of a harbourside bridge could also be in for a setback. ….[The ISC meeting’s adjournment] also meant councillors did not debate a subsequent staff report, by council transportation planning manager Sarah Connolly, indicating changes for central city cycleway funding and a harbourside bridge.

  10. Elizabeth

    The low punch – this isn’t about historic heritage despite the lobbying of convenience by cherry-picked advocates. More bullshit emanating from Urban Design at DCC. Developer special, anyone?

    Message: It’s all out war.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 17 Jan 2016
    Waterfront bridge: in with the old?
    By Chris Morris If Dunedin is serious about a new bridge to open up its waterfront, two old bluestone abutments just south of Queens Gardens could be part of the missing link, heritage advocates say. The structures, on either side of Cumberland St, are all that remain of an old vehicle bridge that once spanned the gap from the warehouse precinct to the harbourside.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Hey, great idea! It’s a real hassle getting to the would-be harbour cafes and hotel, and cyclists will the thrilled if it can be made with ramps – which it surely must, because cycling is so vital to Dunedin being branded Planet-Saving City.
      South Dunedin can wait, there’s no point in making it liveable when the sea is rising so fast these days. Right? Of course we are, Mayor Cull and I!
      I wonder what effect this sea level rise will have on the reclamation areas down by the harbour…………

      And I wonder if the words “Core” and “Business” spend much time paired in the thoughts of councillors and DCC visionaries. Probably not, where’s the fun in using up lovely money on dismal stuff like pipes and drains and supervising mudtank cleaners to see if they perform the other part of their contract, the half that isn’t “just collect the money”.

    • Diane Yeldon

      I just wish I understood what the war was about. Am lacking in local (or any knowledge) about this area. Could someone, who knows, please explain the strategic implications? Who has got what to gain from building what where? And what is wrong with leaving it all as it is – the (usually) wonderfully affordable status quo?

      • Hype O'Thermia

        It’s (personal gains aside) about Waterfront. Used to be the best place for industries sending and receiving goods by ship. Now since the death of coastal and international (pre container) shipping of a scale that could use the harbour, and the rise of leisure-as-business, it’s for pleasure craft, luxury yachts, wind-surfing and sitting in the sun watching and being seen – just like Auckland. Difference is ignored, especially by those who never spent much time down there and felt the wind make its way through the seams of clothing to turn bone marrow to ice, It’s a much more appealing idea when working with computer models.
        Another thing that’s different from Auckland is that businesses relocate to there, relocate to almost anywhere from here. Demand the ones in the across-the-rails area bugger off so we can have a vibrant cafe and apartment “precinct” (zoning is yesterday-as and conjures heavy handedness and keeping people out of schools, health services) and they’ll look at relocating to DCC’s choice or almost anywhere in NZ except there. They’ll also look at whether it’s worth setting up again, what with compliance all over them, and the way goods and services are sourced from anywhere except here, and how about just closing and doing a bit of small-scale work out of the basement garage at home?
        Pity about the staff, but they can retrain as baristas, learn to make flywheel designs on the top of coffees.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Thanks, Hype O”Thermia: I see. Visionary urban designers’ cool ink and coloured wash drawings of people buzzing around a proposed built environment and drinking cappuccinos and eating quiche and doing other trendy things to make others envious of them. A kind of commercial hallucination. I already wonder about the pavement tables of the Octagon cafes as being a bit chilly (but I suppose these patrons want to be seen should their friends pass by). But the icy wind off the sea makes these visions hallucinations. The very serious problem is the pushing out (perhaps to Mosgiel) of well-placed industrial zoned sites, including trucking businesses, which benefit the city by being both central and not far from the port. I remember the Otago Chamber of Commerce hired a planner to protest on these zone changes. The planner’s report was online. I wonder if that report is still around. Because it mentioned many, er, um, anomalies in the planning process used. Happened on DCC ex-CEO Jim Harland’s watch. Because he was publicly very much in favour of this ‘harbourside vision’ (archived ODT articles about his enthusiasm), whereas I believed (and still do believe) that a Chief Executive Officer’s role is to ‘execute’, ie carry out or implement the decisions of the elected reps. And not to make the decisions themselves.

  11. Elizabeth

    SOLD. To the man in the front row.

    • Tom

      Question. Why is Port Otago spending Millions on deepening the harbour. When according to he who knows, Cunning Cull, that climate change and rising sea levels will increase the water depth of the harbour at no cost at all.

      • Elizabeth

        His Worship gets round on a pinhead. Whereas Port Otago contemplates business travel at greater than 4000 TEU. (old news)

      • Gurglars

        Tom, that post has made me laugh out loud for the first time this year!

        Dave Cull has ordered deeper ships, so that the dredgers work can add to the 10,000 extra jobs.

        I have also figured out why the DCC staff have not administered the mud trap cleaning contract.

        All that water which ponded in South Dunedin would have raised the sea level so it was more prudent to keep it on the land and thus save South Dunedin for a couple of extra weeks.

        • Tom

          That was clever thinking by Davey boy. Don’t clean the mud tanks, and by holding the water back in the South Dunedin retention pond reduce the anticipated sea level rise till after April 1. Now that should get the mud tank cleaner a bonus and the green award of the year for helping to save the planet.

  12. Calvin Oaten

    Hype, “And I wonder if the words “Core” and “business” spend much time paired.” Not as much as “Core” and “Blimey” which in this case amounts to the same thing.

  13. Elizabeth


    Firstly, there was this bridge schema to cross the rail corridor at Rattray/Fryatt Sts, to set off the dreadful Betterways’ proposed “high rise” waterfront apartment building and hotel. Drawings presented to hearing via Ignite Architects (Auckland):

    bridge 5 screenshot (1)bridge 1 screenshot (1)bridge 3 screenshot (1)bridge 4 screenshot (1)bridge 2 screenshot (1)

    Secondly, the indicative (unreadable) ‘worm’ via the Central City Plan via Urbanismplus:

    Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets [DCC files] 1DCC files: Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets

    Thirdly, the recent idea to reinstate the former vehicle bridge between a set of remnant archaeologically listed stone-built abutments at Cumberland St and Roberts St. See historical photos at ODT (17.1.16) Waterfront bridge: in with the old?

    Looking around at international examples of good landscape architecture – for pedestrian/cycle overbridges – I found this proposal for Fatih Vatan Street, Istanbul (2011). Attractive, shades of the High Line at NY, something to bounce off if we’re serious about interconnecting Queens Gardens:

    LEA Invent with Burcak Pekin - winner, Pedestrian Footbridge Design Competition in Fatih Vatan Street, Istanbul (2011)New Visions for Pedestrian Footbridge Design Competition winner / LEA Invent & Burcak Pekin. Courtesy of LEA Invent. Link to ArchDaily


    Related Posts:

    7.9.15 Harbourside: Official information request to Dunedin City Council
    6.9.15 Piss-take (?!) | DCC non comprende ORC and POL
    29.5.15 Design alternatives to (pre-selected) bridge not canvassed by DCC
    18.3.14 Dunedin Harbourside: English Heritage on portside development
    21.10.13 Harbourside: Access to a revamped Steamer Basin has public backing
    20.11.12 City planner’s report recommends against consent for hotel
    27.7.11 City to harbour connectivity


    ### ODT Online Thu, 28 May 2015
    Bridge on funding short list
    By Chris Morris
    A multimillion-dollar bridge linking Dunedin’s inner city and waterfront has been short-listed for Government funds. The Otago Daily Times has learned the bridge is among only a few New Zealand projects vying for the next allocation from the Urban Cycleway Fund. An announcement is expected next month, and, if successful, the bridge could be considered for construction over the next three years.
    Read more

    █ The funding opportunity was later squandered by DCC.

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    That swirly loop-boop-de-doop thing delivering client units to the Bettabhorence is a full-blown ghastliness in its own right. A marriage made in the Chapel de Naff, violins playing the theme from Dynasty.

  15. Elizabeth

    It will happen.
    What does the latest Architecture Van Brandenburg white model show ?!

    Fri, 9 Jun 2017
    ODT: Waterfront bridge on council’s list
    By Chris Morris
    A bridge to Dunedin’s waterfront is likely to be up for discussion during the Dunedin City Council’s budget hearings next year, after a fresh call to end long-running “inertia” over the area’s development. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said  yesterday he remained in favour of a pedestrian/cycleway bridge to the waterfront as a way of encouraging redevelopment of the harbourside. And while long-running talk of development had amounted to nothing, Mr Cull suggested progress could be just around the corner. The DCC and Otago Regional Council planned to hold a series of meetings beginning later this month, and the bridge project had “a fairly good chance” of being considered during the council’s long-term plan budget hearings next year, Mr Cull said. Cont/

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    “Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said yesterday he remained in favour of a pedestrian/cycleway bridge to the waterfront as a way of encouraging redevelopment of the harbourside” – of course he’s in favour. There’s always plenty of money. Walkways, cycleways, replacement cars, ersatz grass for playing grounds….
    Oh but wait! What’s that, Aurora is short of the readies? Aurora will be squeezing its victims, oops customers, because for years and years it spent their infrastructure payments on speculation and “dividends” to DCC so they could add that money to the infrastructure money component of rates and spend it on gorgeous shiny things. Gorgeous put Dunedin on the map glossy things, glossily designed (and rather less glossily amended/rebuilt/remediated) by a growing list of employees, consultants and contractors none of whom can be criticised, nor even named.
    Hush, hush, whisper who dares,
    Debt after debt, the cupboard is bare.

  17. Elizabeth

    “There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.” –Frank Lloyd Wright

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