Tag Archives: Intergenerational debt

Regional council builds Palace, refuses help to dredge Otago boat harbour

The ironies are Most Apparent.

The Otago Regional Council contributed $30m to the stadium roof (an activity beyond its local authority mandate), yet the council has no intention of helping the Otago Yacht Club to maintain the city’s marina, the Otago Boat Harbour.

[click to enlarge]
DCC Webmaps – Otago Boat Harbour at Mouth of Leith JanFeb 2013

Otago Yacht Club’s origin dates back to 1892, making it one of the oldest yacht clubs in Otago. The club caters for a range of sailing interests from keelboats to trailer yachts and centreboarders. The club also operates keeler haul-out facilities and welcomes visiting boats. The club manages a full events programme during summer, including harbour, coastal and ocean races. On Sunday mornings in the season the club runs ‘learn to sail’ and ‘learn to race’ programmes which cater for all ages. The clubhouse is a popular venue for private functions and for local organisations to hold meetings and events. Within walking distance of the city centre, the clubhouse offers showers, laundry facilities, email connections etc. The resident caretaker-manager will usually manage to accommodate requests for berthage for boats up to 50 feet. The alongside mooring facilities consist of several large punts inside a walled boat harbour. Due to silting, access to the boat harbour has only been tenable approximately two hours either side of high tide for boats with 2m draft. The Otago boat harbour was last dredged in 1995.
Source: otagoyachtclub.org.nz

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### ODT Online Thu, 20 Apr 2017
Club gets go-ahead to dredge boat harbour
By David Loughrey
The Otago Boat Harbour is about to get its first dredging in more than 20 years, after the facility reached such a state rescue vessels could not leave the harbour at low tide. The work, expected to start soon, has been described as a major achievement by the Otago Yacht Club, which leases the boat harbour. Club vice-commodore Blair McNab said the cost of the project – more than $300,000 – was being paid for from grants and club membership fees. […] The club recently received resource consent from the Dunedin City Council for the work. The consent allowed the club to deposit dredged sediment and soil on land in Magnet St, behind the club, for drying. Mr McNab said once the dredged material had been dried, which took about two weeks, it would be taken to the nearby Logan Point quarry. The consent said once the work was completed, about 100cu m would remain on the grass area at Magnet St to form a barrier around its perimeter, and provide better drainage. The consent decision said the boat harbour was in such a state that at low tide, craft used for harbour rescues could not get out. […] The club had hoped the Otago Regional Council might help with the cost of the dredging, as alterations to the Water of Leith meant more spoil was coming from the nearby mouth of the stream. Mr McNab said it appeared the council was not going to help.
Read more

The Star April 2014 via Otago Yacht Club. Also at ODT Online 22.4.14

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The Otago Regional Council’s “special consultation” over its Dunedin headquarters is flawed, writes former councillor Gerrard Eckhoff.

### ODT Online Tue, 18 Apr 2017
Review needed in lieu of proper consultation
By Gerrard Eckhoff
The Otago Regional Council’s annual plan is now open for public consultation. Implicit in the word consultation is the opening of a meaningful dialogue with the public. It would be entirely disingenuous for any local authority to enter into discussion on their annual plan by merely informing the public of council intent without showing a willingness to accept “the wisdom of crowds”.
….This year’s ORC annual plan contains four lines on “Dunedin building review” in its feedback document which could easily be missed at first reading. To its credit, the council has finally accepted its statutory obligation for “special consultation” on this $30million major project.
….The last time the council ventured forth on a new building project without any prior special consultation, it cost the ratepayers upwards of $3million for the concept design and drawings alone. The cost of that proposal was well over $30million and it was never built. It is, therefore, hard to reconcile how the new building/s is going to be around the projected $20million mark, unless building costs have halved in Dunedin from eight years or so ago. The potential cost of a new car park building must also be factored in, so the ratepayers could soon be the lucky owners of two new buildings, as well as a difficult-to-sell ORC headquarters building in Stafford St.
Read more

DCC Webmap – Dowling St carpark JanFeb 2013, ORC office site starred

Related Posts and Comments:
9.1.17 ORC $wimming in it —SHOULD afford more Otago environmental…
15.8.16 ORC : Official complaints show integrity
22.6.16 ORC New HQ : Reminder, fiduciary duty and core responsibilities
● 9.6.16 ORC empire building again : Consultants give questionable options…
11.8.12 ODT editorial (spot on!) — ORC temporary headquarters
26.6.09 ORC headquarters [incl news items to present day]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images: Otago Yacht Club except where stated otherwise.

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ORC New HQ : Reminder, fiduciary duty and core responsibilities

Land ● Water ● Air ● Coast ● Built Environment ● Biota ● Natural Hazards ● Energy ● Wastes and Hazardous Substances

The core business of the Otago Regional Council is environmental protection, not real estate investment. –Eckhoff

### ODT Online Tue, 21 Jun 2016
Environmental cost to building
By Gerrard Eckhoff
OPINION The decision the Otago Regional Council will have to make on a new administration block sometimes means deciding on the lesser evil. Whatever the decision, councils don’t get much thanks for avoiding one bad choice in favour of another. The option of leasing space in an existing building, thereby leaving a large amount of capital free for the ORC’s primary environmental functions, has been summarily dismissed by the chairman of the ORC. This is despite matters of “significant investment” (such as a new building) requiring special consultation with our ratepayers, who will in turn expect that their or any suggestion will not be so easily dismissed. […] The ORC’s failure to understand that environmental inaction simply transfers cost from this generation to the next and with a multiplier effect is inexcusable. What price must environmental imperatives pay for a new building? That is the real question the ORC must ask of itself.
Read more

● Gerrard Eckhoff, of Central Otago, is an Otago regional councillor.

Otago Regional Council meeting
█ [today] Wednesday, 22 June 2016 at 9:00 a.m.
Council Chamber, 70 Stafford Street, Dunedin
Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Download: Agenda includes minutes and reports (PDF, 2402 KB)

Go to Part C Item 7 (pages 68-70)
Report: ORC Head Office Accommodation Update. DCS, 16/6/16
The report provides an update on the Council and staff workshops held to help inform the next stage of the project.

[extract]

ORC 22.6.16 Council Agenda Part C Item 7 pp68-70

Related Posts and Comments:
● 9.6.16 ORC empire building again : Consultants give questionable options…
11.8.12 ODT editorial (spot on!) — ORC temporary headquarters
26.6.09 ORC headquarters [incl news items to present day]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election year. This post is offered in the public interest.

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DCC Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS)

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Tell Us What You Think!

This item was published on 23 Jun 2015

Letters have been sent this week to 4500 Dunedin residents inviting them to take part in the Dunedin City Council’s annual Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS).

DCC General Manager Services and Development Simon Pickford says, “The ROS provides valuable feedback on what Dunedin residents think of their Council and the services and facilities we provide. It is particularly useful as it allows us to hear from the ‘silent majority’ of residents who are less likely to tell us what they think in other ways, such as the Long Term Plan consultation.”

The 4500 residents, randomly selected from the electoral roll, will be invited to complete the ROS online using a unique code. A hard copy questionnaire will be provided on request.

The survey is also open to other residents, who can fill out the survey at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros.

Everyone who provides feedback will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of five $100 supermarket vouchers.

The survey is open until 17 July 2015. A reminder letter will be sent to those who have not responded about two weeks after the initial letter. This practice has proved successful in increasing the response rate. The survey results are expected to be publicly available by late August.

Mr Pickford says, “We have been using this survey for more than 20 years and it has become a key tool for us to assess how well we are doing and ultimately guide our planning and decision making. ROS focuses on how well we deliver our services and asks questions about residents’ perceptions of our performance. Some of the results are used as official measures of the DCC’s performance for audit purposes. But equally importantly, the feedback is used by staff and the Council to guide our thinking about how we might best deliver services to better meet the needs of Dunedin residents.”

The survey, which costs about $40,000, will be undertaken by independent research company Versus Research.

The results of previous surveys can be viewed at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros.

Contact Simon Pickford, General Manager Services and Development on 03 474 3707.

DCC Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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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 ??

TO SAVE US FROM COI’S AND RORTS.

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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

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Councils “in schtook” —finance & policy analyst Larry Mitchell

Received Sun, 21 Apr 2013 14:45:37 +1200
Topic ring a bell? We are using DCC and Kaipara as the salutary case studies.

Larry N. Mitchell
Finance & Policy Analyst (Local Government)

PO Box 404 103, Puhoi 0951, Auckland, New Zealand
Phone: 09 422 0598 Mobile: 027 479 2328
Email: larry@kauriglen.co.nz

Read here or scroll to end of post to download this paper.

Councils “in stchook”
… their debt is way too high … it matters … so do proper disclosures

Dealing as I do, with matters of New Zealand Council finances, the one area that produces most comment, sometimes heated debate, is Council debt. Public discussion of Council debt is muddled, an often fractious difference of opinion generating more heat than light.

For example, the most recent (March 2013) Office of the Auditor General’s report of their findings from New Zealand Local Government audits concludes that Councils have their debt levels “within a reasonable range”. Recent New Zealand Local Government Association press releases concur.

Compare these reassuring findings to those of the 2013 NZ LG League Table where the lowest ranked 15% (10 in number) of New Zealand Councils are revealed as exhibiting unfavourable financial sustainability and community affordability issues. Both contradictory positions can’t be right. Unfortunately, the debate over Council debt is complicated by unsatisfactory public reporting-disclosures.

Discussions of Council debt are often compounded by current Council practices. These amount to opaque, imprecise Council debt accounting and “smoke and mirrors” disclosures. It is tempting to suggest that these are deliberate attempts to suppress discussion of Council debt on a “don’t scare the horses” basis.

This is particularly evident for use of the term by Councils of “Internal Borrowing”, a meaningless label, better described as “Robbing Peter”, covering as it does Council treasury management dealings involving a clear misuse (some might say misappropriation) of asset replacement funds.

Add to these sleights of hand a motivation for the more highly indebted Councils to keep their heads down when their debt totals soar, along with a tendency toward misinformation.
Continue reading

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DScene: Dunedin needs “decisive leadership”

Register to read DScene online at
http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

### DScene 28 Nov 2012
Editorial
DCC needs to shape up (page 7)
By Mike Houlahan
Land transactions under investigation, illegal road building, a debt mountain, monumental building projects, possible credit downgrades. No, not some obscure Balkan country or African military dictatorship, but our home town. There is a vociferous body of opinion that Dunedin is going to hell in a hand cart and events of recent weeks have done nothing to persuade them otherwise.

Delta’s land transactions coming under Audit Office investigation, and a damning court verdict – which has seen Dunedin City Council cop a six-figure court costs order over the State Highway 88 realignment – follow an auditor’s report trying to establish the final cost of building the Forsyth Barr Stadium, and a controversial bailout of the Otago Rugby Union.

A “we will fight them on the beaches” opinion piece from Mayor Dave Cull last week sounded desperate. The announcement soon after from Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services that it had revised its outlook of Dunedin City Council from stable to negative made it look desperate, too. A negative outlook means a one-in-three chance of a credit downgrade in the next two years – unwelcome news for a city well in hock before it borrowed millions more to build the stadium.

The agency does offer a ray of hope – if the DCC’s budgets strengthen, as forecast, its rating could revert to stable. But having just stated doubts the DCC could achieve the financial targets in its long-term plan, Standard and Poor’s are going to take a lot of convincing all is well.

In response, Cull – sounding like a rugby captain before a test – said Dunedin “was up to the challenge of continued financial belt-tightening.” Sadly, in this comparison Dunedin is probably Scotland rather than the All Blacks. Quiet reassurance is no longer enough. If ratepayers are to have faith in the DCC as chamberlains of their assets, they will want to see decisive leadership.
#bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Wednesday: Meetings of Council and FSD Committee, read DEBT

UPDATED 16.3.12

The week when everything blows. Tens and tens of millions of dollars lost like so many fluttering autumn leaves. Councillors, the worst of times. You are liable for wrath and accountable for so much more.

Comment received.

BlueBottle
Submitted on 2012/03/14 at 12:19 am

Tomorrow (Wednesday) there are meetings of Council and the FSD. The Council meeting is the one that was postponed from Friday because the draft long term plan failed its audit. It is still not good enough and should not be approved.

The meeting starts off with a secret session to decide how generous the ratepayers will be towards the ORFU. The terms “bail-out” and “blood-sucking leeches” definitely won’t be mentioned in the press release.

The new draft long term plan tells us that there is a report to be presented to a committee about the governance arrangements of DVL and DVML (see LTP page 5).

It turns out that negotiations to sign the stadium “venue hire agreements with major event owners” have failed, but we are told the LTP is written as if the agreements are signed.

The Private Sector Funding is now called (p5) Private Sector Debt. It isn’t “private” but it is “debt”, so that’s an improvement. Thanks to Audit NZ for that.

How they voted
After eight hours of deliberation and with no changes to the ORFU bail-out package put before them, Dunedin City councillors voted in this way:

Aye: Cull, Bezett, Collins, Hudson, Staynes, Thomson, Brown, Noone (8)

No: Butcher, MacTavish, Stevenson, Vandervis, Wilson (5)

Apologies: Acklin, Weatherall (both say they would have supported the package)

(via ODT Online 16.3.12)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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