Author Archives: paullecomtedunedin

Cheers folks it’s been fun

Hi all, this is a goodbye from me of sorts. After starting this site way back in March 2007 & after a staggering 750,000+ views I’ve had to make the decision to step down from all Admin responsibilities and ownership of the site. 

We’ve come a long way, and with Elizabeth at the helm things will still pretty much run along the lines they have been recently. As you know for most of the time we haven’t agreed on many issues & points, and the site made massive advances when I invited Elizabeth as co-contributor, a He Said/She Said kinda thing.

At times this site is ahead of the play on many issues in this amazing city and does a wonderful job. We have been the envy of most cities around the country, driving conversations that simply wouldn’t happen anywhere in the media.

It’s a heck of a lot of work for one person to carry on the site, so I do hope you’d appreciate how much work actually goes into this. Links to update, comments to approve (some to delete) but always putting the city at the forefront.

So play nice ladies & gentlemen, yes by all means keep up the robust debate, but remember that the freedom of speech doesn’t give the freedom to offend or slur.

I of course will continue to read & who knows I may even get time in the future to contribute to the site in ways I simply can’t at the moment.

All the best, it’s been fun, but as the Two Ronnies would say, it’s over to you now Elizabeth.

Thanks, Paul Le Comte



Filed under Stadiums

STV Voter Education

“So, as a voter in an STV election, you can be confident that your vote stands a very good chance of helping to elect a candidate you like.

For example, in the Dunedin Central ward, where eleven councillors will be elected, almost 92% (or 11 out of 12) of the votes cast will help to elect a candidate.

As a proportional voting system, STV also increases the chances that the councils and boards we elect will reflect the diversity in our communities (assuming that the candidates themselves are diverse).

We also know that STV elections in New Zealand have tended to have higher voter turnout than FPP elections, and that STV elections encourage a wider range of people to consider standing for councils and boards.

This is also good for our democracy; the more people turn out to vote in local elections, the more confident we can be that our representatives have a mandate to act on our behalf.”

The second workshop will be held 6:30pm St Andrews Lounge, Cavy Presbyterian Church, Thorn St South Dunedin, Thurs 26th. All welcome


Filed under Democracy, Politics

Are you freaking kidding me?

What the bloody hell was I saying just the other day.

You DO NOT come onto this site & say any vile shit that you think fit.  YOU DO NOT make threats against other people, YOU DO NOT wish people dead (figurative of literally) you DO NOT say shit that will see me in front of the courts.

Calvin you are that freaking close from being banned & your email address published for the would to tell you just how they bloody feel.  I can only guess from your behaviour you are a 10 year old boy discovering the internet for the very first time, sadly I know this not to be true & who should know better.

BTW Calvin, you have not been exactly 100% stellar with the facts & figures when it comes to crunching the sums here, so please for the love of pity sake, refrain from loading a shotgun full of stones and standing in a glasshouse (this place).

I tell you people, this is the last bloody time. Clean your bloody act up or it’s bye bye Whatif & start you own site up.

Paul Le Comte – really f-ing pissed off.


Filed under Stadiums

you may call me God

Hello, God here!

no What If hasn’t been hacked by some higher power and no I’m not drunk or anything, but it’s about time we set some things straight at what-if, because for all intents and purposes I am god here.

You may remember I started this blog to encourage debate about the design, architecture and ‘other’ aspects of what was to become Forsyth Barr Stadium.  This was fine and dandy & almost no one visited the site.  Then the STS imploded and I invited Elizabeth Kerr onto this site as a he said/she said two opposing views of the stadium development.

Things of course took off, and there was some robust debate.  However pretty bloody quickly I got sick of the emails threatening me with legal action over comments on this site.  These were followed by abusive phone calls – yes screaming down the phone to me is abuse, legal phone calls and finally legal documents, all because you bloody fools can’t help yourselves.

You come onto this site, making the most pathetic, outlandish and more often than not slanderous comments, and who’s the bloody mug that has to deal with it all – me!

What’s really bloody disappointing and ultimately annoying is, in among the tin-foil-hat-conspiracy-theory shite that is espoused in the comments section, are some gems of information that worthy of debate and ultimately good for the city.

I am sick and fucking tired of getting legal documents and emails, asking me to remove or edit comments on this site.  You will all appreciate I more or less give you all free reign to say whatever it is that you have on your chests.  

I can tell you now that although I disagree with roughly about 110% of the crap that you all say here, I let it go, because of the weight of the forum as a focus for robust debate on the built, economic and political environment of Dunedin.

But my patience rightly so is about to run out. I DO NOT need to come to ChCh to deal with a terminally ill cancer friend only to have to consider your fucking insulting and slanderous comments.

Let this be a notice to you all. I WILL NOT tolerate any more Slander, conspiracy theories, cheap personal insults bordering on slander, cheap nasty generalisations bordering on slander, or any stupidity that results in me getting calls or legal letters threatening me with legal action.  Quite simply I will close the site down.  I will archive it and hand it to the Hocken as a record of document around a time and place in Dunedin.

You are of course more than welcome to go to and sign up for a free wordpress blog and start your own site, calling people whatever names you care to, I could suggest some names for this site for you…

but I’d be at risk of breaking my own rules above.


FYI, things off limits from now on are:

personal attacks on members of the public (including elected officials) with even the slightest hit on slander or liable,

Any references to Climate Change or ‘Eco Nazi’s’. Those wishing to deny climate change are more than welcome to visit,

Any so called ‘fact’s & figure’s that you simply decide to pull out of thin air.  There’s nothing I love more than being ridiculed by the accounting/business community when they ask why I allow voodoo maths & economics to stand as fact,

Academic freedom and the right of academics to do their work without slanderous and libellous attacks.  Countries that you and I wouldn’t care for one minute to live in have greater respect for Academic freedom than some of you folk on this site,

And at the risk of being a self righteous prick who contradicts all of my rules above, I couldn’t give a flying F…

This site used to be visited by thousands of people daily/weekly looking to get tasty morsels and robust debate.  It’s slowly eroded into a festering pit of ridicule and shame. 

This site is not ‘public’ property, and it is certainly NOT your playground to espouse any and all comments which time and time again put me in hot water!  Because I know for a fact, that hiding behind your pseudonyms, you are not the ones fielding phone calls from lawyers or replying to their emails – no that would be me – bloody muggins.

You have been warned and yes you may call me god.

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Stadiums

Prophetic 1996 #EQNZ ChCh Doco

Post: Paul Le Comte

1 Comment

Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Heritage, Politics, Urban design

Banks, Barron & Co Building Collapse pics

Early removal of the Parapet of the historic building. Literally brick by brick. They then took the skip down to the ground, I walked around the other side to get a pic and then the remaining section of parapet falls down onto the Dragon Cafe Verandah – my moment of photo journalism genius missed. Argh.

Showing the newly exposed inner of the ceiling cavity.

Destruction of the Verandah with the rest of the double bricked Parapet collapsing to the ground. Sadly imagery very familiar to folk from CHCH post earthquake.

The Council engineers and Historic Places Trust experts examining the Parapet, ceiling cavity and facade of the building. Speaking to experts on the ground, after the collapse of the Parapet onto the verandah new increased structural damage was done, to the extent that the double skinned brick facade was thought to be tentatively holding on to the structure – but little visible sign of actually what was holding the facade on was seen. Also fresh cracks were found on the south wall, large enough to see through the wall onto the Crown Hotel.

[Click for larger image]

After consultation with experts and engineers, it was decided to keep on with the softly softly, brick by brick approach. For this I love the Lund team taking the time and effort to do this. That bloody bush proved to be a pain for them.

[Click to enlarge]

Unfortunately they couldn’t stop everything from crashing down. This pic showed debris falling down as they try to remove a large section of the parapet. The random tree had its roots embedded very deep into the structure of the building. Reports were that there were inches of bird poo, birds nests everywhere and rotten timbers that made up the roof. Thus bricks and mortar work was rotten to the core. You could certainly see the demo team taking only soft hits to the brick with a rubber mallet to remove much of the parapet bricks.

Salvage/Demo Team

Basically the whole of the parapet of the building has gone, some fallen onto the verandah below, but much of it taken down over hours brick by brick. The plan was to go down only as far as they need to. If more damage occurred, more cracking etc, and if the engineers say, then another layer of the upper sections will be removed. They are planning to take away large sections of the Northern Wall tomorrow, as that has a huge lateral crack running the length of the wall.

Back of the building [Click to enlarge]

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Heritage, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

2011 Happy New Year from What If…

First of all a very happy new year to all of the readers and contributors of the site. The past 2 years have been huge for Dunedin and this site. A wee while back we passed the milestone of 200,000 visitors to the site! When I first sat down thinking it would be fun to have a wee blog to discuss the design and architecture of the stadium little did I know what would become of the site. From the fun, serious and bizarre, this site has had it all over the last 2 years, but most of all it’s been one fantastic place for the frank and open discussion about firstly the stadium but latterly the city at large.

For that I am completely indebted to Elizabeth Kerr for her tireless work on updating content here. Little did I know that when I thought it an obvious step to invite prominent anti-stadium campaigner as a he said/she said, or good cop/bad cop (won’t speculate which hats we were wearing) opposing voice on the site, that it would be Elizabeth that would take the site to the next step.

So to Elizabeth on behalf of myself and all the contributors thank you so much. Finally to the contributors & commentators thank you. We’ve covered a lot, from sports to political systems. Without all of your contributions this would not have been possible.

We must be doing something right for 200,000+ reasons for folk to come back and visit the site.

2011 is going to be a massive year for not only the city but the country. I hope you all have a safe and fun New Year.

Posted by Paul Le Comte


Filed under Fun, Inspiration, People