No protection for Dunedin’s DARK Skies —Otago Peninsula subdivision decision #GrievouslySucks

Commissioner Colin Weatherall said the amended application was expected to have fewer adverse effects on the environment. He treated “with caution” some of the evidence received by submitters opposing the consent.
ODT: Peninsula subdivision approved (7.4.17)

Opponents of a plan to allow residential development on land designated an outstanding natural landscape area on the Otago Peninsula have labelled the decision “terrible” and “a travesty”.
ODT: Project by inlets ‘travesty’ (8.4.17)


Dunedin City Council
78 Cape Saunders Road, Portobello, Dunedin (LUC-2006-370881/B)
Letter of decision (PDF, 3.3 MB) 57 pages all inclusive

More about the application at this DCC webpage.

Whatiffers, consider lending support to any organised submitters (opposing the decision on points of law) who decide to take this to Environment Court.

Meanwhile At Twitter:

Related Post and Comments:
8.3.17 Ancestral landscape, natural heritage, dark skies & the district plan #respect ● [more Dunedin dark sky images from the Peninsula]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Geography, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZPI, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Technology, Tourism, Town planning, Travesty, What stadium

11 responses to “No protection for Dunedin’s DARK Skies —Otago Peninsula subdivision decision #GrievouslySucks

  1. Gurglars

    One can sympathise with a passionate night sky watcher who it appears has holes in the clouds more often than the rest of us plebs who Open a bottle of wine at 5 most nights.

    The demise of watching the Aurora Australis from Hoopers Inlet and Papanui inlet because of four houses! Whish.

    Do all the people who now live there (at least 20 houses) turn their lights off for Ian, or is 24 houses a tipping point?

    I say congratulations to Colin Weatherall, seems to me one of the sanest decisions made on development in my history in Dunedin. It was not based on a minority hysteria or a green wish like not allowing a fish to be caught or a car to be driven.

    Maybe we are entering a period of temporary sanity.

  2. Nick

    it does seem a pity to not be listening to someone who has promoted the potential for night sky watching as enthusiastically and actively as Ian Griffin.

    Interest internationally around NZ as a venue for telescope tourism is very high, and the success of Tekapo’s Mt John, both as a destination and their recognition of the importance of limiting stray manmade light, suggests this is something Dunedin too could have had success with, in attracting many visitors. These visitors tend to require better accommodation facilities than the Warrington Domain, and happily pay accordingly.

    Perhaps Dunedin doesnt recognise what a special opportunity it has here, both in terms of venue and expertise.

    Sympathies to Ian for the effort he has gone to so far with sharing his very distant vision with an unappreciative audience at City Hall.

    Seems Aurora Australis takes a distant second place to Aurora Bankruptus for the DCC.

  3. Trev

    Ian needn’t worry. The way Cull and his mob are going, it won’t be long before the last person leaving Dunedin will turn the lights out, and Ian will be in his glory with the night sky all to himself, and no ratepayers left to pay the big salary.

  4. Opponents of a plan to allow residential development on land designated an outstanding natural landscape area on the Otago Peninsula have labelled the decision “terrible” and “a travesty”.

    The decision, released on Thursday, has prompted astronomer Ian Griffin to resign from his role as chairman of the Dunedin City Council’s dark skies advisory panel.

    While opponents would not confirm it yesterday, it appears likely the decision will be appealed.

    Could this by why Nick Smith had this to say on 6 APRIL, 2017 in his speech as introduction to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill: Third Reading Speech

    “This Bill also tackles the problems of those thousands of unnecessary consents that cause so much frustration and cost. I have an example right now in Nelson of the Rutherford St Kindergarten moving just 100m up the road to new premises, and the parents and committee having to fundraise for over $50,000 of resource consent and related costs. I could bore this house for hours with examples of minor projects like decks and carports costing more to consent than they cost to build. This addresses these problems with provisions that give councils the power to waive the need for consents, the new ten day fast-track process for minor issues and the ability to resolve boundary infringement rules, issues with only the immediate neighbours consent.”

    • Elizabeth

      Douglas, National have been first footing RMA amendments for some time. I don’t think Nick’s speech has much to do with the Resource Consent hearing and decision applying to 78 Cape Saunders Road – the most glaring aspect of this was/is the Outstanding Landscape overlay that applies. You will know that the Outstanding Landscape categorisation has substantial effect in QLDC territory.
      Overdevelopment at Otago Peninsula, especially in relation to the Outstanding Landscape overlay is to be avoided. The quest for protection of the subject site so to positively exploit dark sky tourism is very much an RMA matter – to that extent the decision should be appealed.

      The RMA changes proposed will be less egalitarian, reduce public submissions and involvement in RMA processes – they will lead to an unfair, unbalanced and disproportionate weight being given to Unsympathetic development. Councils will of course gain advantage, as ‘economic development’ takes over from the sustainability of natural resources. We already see this happening at our councils in any case – given the vast majority of applications go non notified. And we wonder why stormwater issues are on the increase due to lack of proper vetting of subdivision applications by ‘unqualified’ council planners and the use of their consulting pet-troll engineers.

      • Douglas Field

        Elizabeth as you know I am aware of the outstanding landscape provisions affecting the Otago Peninsula just as I am aware that Nick Smith’s comments weren’t directed at this particular instance. But….this subdivision ..overdevelopment..come on. The RMA is well overdue for this overhaul IMO.

        • Elizabeth

          I don’t quite understand your point, sorry. The original application was Overdevelopment. The amended application – is 4 lots with 4 houses – do they meet the subdivision rules for the Rural Zone, in your view. This is hardly a true exception but ask anyone on the Rural Taieri that is not a greedy housing speculator if small house lots should be allowed. Loss of High Class Soils there is a the elephant in the room, thanks to Sydney and his ilk, and the bloody DCC. So back to the isthmus, when is an outstanding landscape Not an OL… how precious are uninterrupted rural coastal views in a unique cultural heritage environment ?!

          Your graphic is not for publication.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Short term cargo thinkers again. There is no need for extra house sections *there*. Dunedin isn’t squeaking at the margins trying to fit desperately needed housing into available space.
    OTOH stargazers are people of passion. People with a passion for their “thing” go to specific places in pursuit of it – even if there isn’t a 5 star hotel. They’ll sleep in a musterer’s hut if that’s what it takes.
    Dunedin has an advocate in Ian Griffin who knows sky-watchers, knows how they think and what attracts them because he is one of them. This is no short term fad like pokemon, this is sustainable, as long as short term $$$grabbers don’t fsck it up.
    Is there ANYTHING good about plonking McMansions *there*?
    There’s a hell of a lot that’s stupid as usual.

  6. Elizabeth

    Mon, 24 Apr 2017
    ODT: Aurora lights up NZ skies
    Night sky watchers have been treated to a second night of the stunning Southern Lights, Aurora Australis. Sightings were reported in Wellington, Christchurch, rural Canterbury and Central Otago last night. […] It was a weekend of wonders, with the lights spotted as far north as Auckland the previous night.

  7. Elizabeth

    At Twitter:

  8. Elizabeth

    At Twitter:

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