The man acting as the public face for a proposed 28-storey
waterfront hotel in Dunedin says the project remains "full
steam ahead" despite a public outcry.
However, Dunedin lawyer Steve Rodgers - the director of
Betterways Advisory Ltd, the company fronting the development
- would not rule out changes to the hotel's design, but hoped
a fight through the Environment Court could be avoided.
Mr Rodgers said he remained convinced the hotel would be a
"game-changer" for Dunedin and was "98.2%" confident it would
win approval at next month's resource consent hearing.
That was despite a flood of 508 public submissions to the
Dunedin City Council - easily a record for a notified consent
application - including 457 opposed to the hotel project.
Most worried the hotel's size and waterfront location made it
inappropriate for its surroundings, including nearby heritage
Mr Rodgers said yesterday he was not surprised by the volume
or contents of the submissions, and said it was "a good
thing" the city's residents had a chance to express their
However, nothing had changed despite the extent of the
opposition, he said.
"There's nothing that's come up in the submissions that we
hadn't anticipated ... we are still convinced it [the hotel]
is in the best interests of this city.
"Resource management law isn't a matter of who gets the most
votes. It's a matter of complying with the law - and we think
Some submissions called for the project to be scrapped
completely, while others wanted it to be redesigned -
including reducing the hotel's height - or moved to another
part of the city.
Mr Rodgers would not comment when asked if a smaller building
could be considered, saying that would be a matter for the
Asked if the hotel could be built elsewhere in the city, Mr
Rodgers would only say the waterfront site had been
"specifically chosen" and there were no others in the city
that were better.
Mr Rodgers said opposition from larger organisations,
including KiwiRail, was to be expected, but noise issues
would be addressed as part of the hotel's design and
Claims by the Otago Regional Council, in its submission, the
developers would need to seek ORC consents, on top of city
council consents, would also be dealt with after the December
hearing, Mr Rodgers said.
It was a "chicken and egg" situation, as there was little
point seeking both at the same time, at extra cost, only for
one council to say yes and the other to say no, he believed.
It was hoped ORC staff would be able to grant any necessary
consents - including for water discharges during construction
- without more public hearings and submissions.
Asked if the project was destined to end up in the
Environment Court - if any city council decision to grant
consent was appealed - Mr Rodgers said he hoped it could be
"From Dunedin's point of view, I certainly hope that the
decision's in favour and we can get on and get it built.
That's just spending money that could be better spent on
Dunedin people, rather than lawyers ... dare I be quoted
"I think, if the council gives a decision in favour of us,
that no-one will appeal. I'm an optimistic person."
• A council hearings committee chaired by Cr Colin Weatherall
would consider Betterways' application for resource consent
in public from December 3 to December 6, with reserve days
available later in the month if needed.