Hotel developer unveils link bridge proposal

The man promoting Dunedin's proposed 28-storey hotel has unveiled plans for a "world class" pedestrian and cyclist bridge that could provide a missing link to the city's waterfront.

However, the idea is only the "starting point for a discussion", with key details - including how much the sweeping structure would cost and who would pay for it - yet to be confirmed, Betterways Advisory Ltd director Steve Rodgers said.

He presented the bridge plans to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, saying the project could be a "win-win" for the city and the developers, but was not an attempt to sweeten the hotel deal.

His move came as a DCC hearings committee prepared to consider Betterways' application early next month for resource consent to build the $100 million hotel at 41 Wharf St.

Mr Rodgers said the bridge plans were the work of Ignite Architects, but still needed to be discussed with the council, KiwiRail and the New Zealand Transport Agency staff once a consent decision was made.

The plans showed the bridge cutting a twisting path from the Chinese Garden, across the main trunk railway line and Wharf St to the harbour basin, with glass-covered lifts, stairs and ramps providing access.

A separate spiral ramp and lift part-way across would provide direct access to and from the hotel, if built, on the western side of Wharf St.

The bridge would also pass through three small, decorative gardens, while steel arches helped suspend the structure above the road and railway lines.

The bridge would "solve the problem" of restricted access to and from the waterfront to the Queens Gardens and Chinese Garden area, Mr Rodgers said.

The council last year scrapped plans that could have resulted in a similar "landmark" bridge being built on the same spot, at a cost of up to $3.5 million.

That meant the nearest pedestrian crossing remained a narrow overbridge beside the Dunedin Railway Station, about 150m away, which linked to Thomas Burns St.

However, interest in a new crossing beside the Chinese Garden had re-emerged this year, during consultation on the future of Dunedin's heritage warehouse precinct.

It was anticipated the new bridge would cost "more than $1 million", at least, Mr Rodgers said.

It was not yet known if the bridge would require a separate resource consent, and a detailed costing was yet to be prepared.

That meant all possible funding arrangements - including the developer paying for it all, or a cost-sharing deal involving the council - remained "on the table", and would be discussed after the hotel consent hearing, he said.

"Just like a ratepayer, no-one wants to pay for it, but that's part of the negotiation."

As well as providing a link for hotel guests, the bridge would carry cyclists safely to the waterfront cycleway running along Portsmouth Dr to Otago Peninsula.

"All we are saying is here is something we would like to talk to the council [about].

"This is absolutely ideal for our time, to make us a world-class small city," he said.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Note to developers

You want it?  You pay for it.


The vast majority?

GW_Scam claims the 'vast majority are in favour' of the development. This seems to be based on nothing except GW_Scam wanting it to be true, and perhaps mixing with like-minded individuals.
90% of the submissions were against the hotel. Even if you argue that those against were more likely to make submissions than those for (a big assumption), the number of submissions was more than five times the previous record, which suggests more opposition to this than to any other resource consent in the past twenty years.
Whatever the balance of opinion really is, any claim that the 'vast majority are in favour' is obviously baseless.
By all means build a hotel, and by all means build in a modern style, but build it in some sort of context of scale that shows some understanding of the fundamentals of design.



SpoonNZ There are 118,000 people living in the city but only 56,000 of them are ratepayers, and they are most definitely not paying for this bridge. Put a tollgate on it and let those that use it pay for it. Sound fair? Once they experience the fury of the nor-easters in the harbour basin, most people will not be crossing that bridge twice. As for the outdoor furniture, someone will have to make sure it's well bolted down or it will risk getting being blown into the harbour.

Modelling reality

Spoonz: I see what you did there .... you seem to think that a coffee has a benefit that lasts beyond when it has been drunk and the caffeine buzz has worn off. Of course it doesn't - once you've visited the urinal it's economic benefit to the city has gone.
Otherwise we could just have one employed person to earn just one dollar outside Dunedin and we could all live off of the infinite economic benefit as that dollar whizzes around our city.
In the real world we have things called "consumables", and "taxes" which when used are gone from our economy - you have to subtract them from your equation to get something approaching to reality. This is the same sort of muddy thinking about the stadium's benefit to the economy that neglects to include the money that the likes of the NZRFU and Elton John siphon out of our economy when they use the stadium and most of the patrons are local.

More lessons

You fall into the same trap that those pushing voodoo stadium economics did - this magical "economic multiplier effect". People on minimum wage don't go across the road after work for a leisurely $10 coffee to start with. 40 hours on the minimum wage in NZ makes about $500 per week. That's borderline poverty.
As soon as someone along the chain stops spending money, your economic trickle down effect breaks, and remains broken. If people don't buy coffee, the cafe doesn't take on as many staff, the coffee roaster doesn't sell as much product, and so on. Here's the old counter to your argument. It isn't a multiplier of money, it is a circle of money. Get that economics lesson right and you will understand how this town works. Peter, meet Paul.
The 14.5deg slope exceeds the maximum gradient in TransitNZ's recommendations. That's why they have to include the elevator for disabled access. You can't build a spiral ramp on a public access in NZ. The only way they will get away with it for the hotel access is to call that private use.  The guidelines are here  You need 120m of ramp for a 6m clearance, on both sides. There's enough room on the harbour side if you go back as far as Jade Quay. There isn't enough room on the City side for the appropriate ramp. The designers have realised this and shortened the ramp on that side.
The DCC proposed a variety of solutions for the overbridge. They all ran into the same problem. To extend the ramp on the City side requires purchasing land from the rail corridor, or leasing it. An underpass is a better solution, but it is more expensive in the short-term and less glamorous in the long-term. [Abridged]


Nice design

Build a bridge so we can all get over it! It looks fantastic and would be yet another feature that would appeal to certain people around the world.

An economics lesson

You say there's $6 million annually. You've gotten that number by multiplying the $13 by however many hours. That's not very accurate.
Let's say someone working there finishes up for the day, and meets their partner at Customhouse for a coffee. The $13 less tax is about $10. This tidily pays for two coffees (with change). Suddenly the $13 is $21 of economic benefit. Customhouse then take the $8 (along with a bunch of other $8s) and pay their own staff wages ($3 worth), and also purchase coffee beans from a local roaster ($3 worth). Now our $13 has become $27.
But ready to have your mind totally blown? The coffee roaster also pays their staff wages. And the people who work at Customhouse or the roaster and earn wages also buy stuff. That $13 has already doubled, but it could easily triple, or quadruple, or more.
You're also assuming that nobody will actually stay in the hotel and spend money elsewhere (a taxi into the city, a few meals at restaurants and cafes, and a taxi back to the airport will easily pump a few hundred more into the local economy).
Regarding the technical issues, the diagram specifies a 14.5º slope (with an elevator for disabled users). For 6 metres clearance the ramp requires a mere 21 metres of length. [Abridged]


Agree with Samvandamn

Totally support what you said and I made a similar point last week.

Fuddy duddy wisdom

Whilst I don't consider myself a "fuddy duddy", what must be taken into account is that these people have been around for a long time and have accumulated a lot of experience of the world and its doings.  This hotel development with its walkway and cycleway features is all well and good.  However, the 28-story hotel will block most of the afternoon sun from the very area that the developer hopes to rejuvenate.  I have first hand experience of a seaside city that allowed these high rise structures to proliferate almost to the seashore. 

The city in question has fantastic beaches.  Unfortunately, these high rises block the afternoon sun from the beaches and in winter the shadows are cast soon after lunch, making it a very cold place to be. Its city council have since voiced their regret that limiting the height would have been the correct thing to do.  Sadly, once these structures have been built, it is not economically viable to tear them down.  So please, city elders, take this into account when making your final decision.  We are not against development.  We are against unconsidered and uncontrolled development.

Looks fantastic

This is really great to see. Dunedin should be embracing this, and looking to expand on it in the future. This is the first logical step. The Settlers Museum, Chinese Gardens and waterfront, along with the great restaurants there (Customhouse and Plato) are all great attractions - it makes sense to draw them all together to tourists (and locals) can make a day of it. Obviously the hotel would make it more viable, but I think it's a great idea irrespective of the hotel.
I like the bridge too. Cities like Melbourne, Sydney and London all have memorable pedestrian/cyclist bridges, and I think this design is right up there with their ones. I also love the contrast of having the old one a few hundred metres up the tracks (just like the Millennium and Tower Bridges on the Thames in London). Dunedin is a city of new and old combined, and we need to embrace the new instead of living in the past and resisting any change.
The cost of "more than $1m" is a very open-ended number. Let's call it $3 million. With 100,000 people in the city, and the cost spread over five years, you're looking at $6 per person, per year. Cheap as chips. I'd be more than happy to pay my household's $18 - this is far less than I pay for the botanic garden, libraries, museums, etc, and this is mostly a one-off cost. After the initial expense the ongoing cost will be minimal, but it will absolutely contribute to tourism in the city (along with personal enjoyment).
There's also another benefit there (and a very timely one) for cyclists. From Plato down Portsmouth Dr the footpath is a combined cycleway/footpath, well spaced from the road. This would allow cyclists to get from Queens Gardens out towards South Dunedin much more safely than riding down the 60kmh section on the one-way. Similarly, it's much safer to ride across the bridge to go into town than it is to cross Portsmouth Dr at rush hour. [Abridged]



A hotel is not infrastructure.

But let's say it created 200 jobs.  The majority of these would be minimum wage.  That's $6 million annually.  That's all.  It's not a cash cow for the city like the stadium is (stop laughing).

Anyway, the architects on this job should be given a stern talking-to.  You can't build a bridge there with it looking anything like their concept drawings.  You need a 6m clearance with a 5% ramp, which would be 120m long.  Not their fancy twisting to-and-fro device and their shameful blurring out of the railway tracks.

It's rare to see a project such as this where the lipstick has been applied to the pig first. 

Ever decreasing circles

@ GW_Scam and Sam Enough of the half cup full or empty mentality. Economic decisions should be based upon valid data and models. Emotions are suited for motivation, not for the decision process.

I myself like the idea of the bridge as long as it does not involve the ratepayer. The tactic of leveraging the ratepayer economically by the private sector has to stop as it is creates inefficient business models.

As I have said before I could care less whether the hotel is built or not. Economically its contribution will be negligible and will not save Dunedin from its deepening recession. The city is losing small business at a disturbing rate, is burdened with unsustainable debt, has a severe lack of liquidity and wealth distribution and is led by people who favour self-interest over community building.

Where are the railway tracks?

There are three railway tracks there. Why are they never included in the architect's plans for the hotel and this bridge?

Where are the railway tracks?

There are three railway tracks there. Why are they never included in the architects plans for the hotel and this bridge?

Free hotel

Mr Rogers from Queenstown, who is pushing this hotel, previously said this to the ODT: "However, he had been concerned by comments this week that Dunedin ratepayers would be contributing to the hotel development. The Dunedin City Council is not providing any assistance, nor has it been asked to."
Now it seems that not only are the ratepayers going to be hit with bills for some sort of a crossing, but the Chinese Garden seems to be becoming part of the hotel. Terms like "cost sharing" and "negotiating cost with council" are being used.
The ratepayers spent millions developing the waterfront and building a Chinese garden only to have loaded people from out of town to take advantage of our hard earned cash. To make matters worse, we have sent a delegation to China to beg for funds for this investment. Who asked our council to do this?
This is beginning to look more and more like the stadium and all the rhetoric of "build it and they will come". How about: build it and they will come to Arrowtown and Queenstown? [Abridged]




What blows my mind is that people are all up in arms about the culling of Hillside jobs and today we hear PGG Wrightsons is also shedding jobs along with the local timbermill.

But when a business owner tries to bring a new structure to Dunedin which will provide hundreds of jobs, people complain and do everything they can to stop it just because it might block a wee bit of a view of the Harbour from the city.

We should be rolling out the red carpet for new infustructure in Dunedin not fighting it.

Fantastic to see positive proposals for Dunedin

This bridge will be needed one day either way if Dunedin is to ever really encourage more tourists and residents to really utilise the waterfront area, Chinese Gardens and the Settlers Museum.  Fantastic to see a developer actually helping move the city forwards.

I say 'Good on ya' Mr Rodgers and hotel investors, you are trying to do something for the city that a minority of long term residents of Dunedin will do their best to stop - bring progress and hope.

Ignore the naysayers, every city has them.  They are the ones who are only ever happy when something fails.  I can assure you the vast majority of Dunedin residents are in favour with your proposals, and will be very proud to see the hotel built.

Soldier on, and do what I do to the handful of Fuddy Duddies who you sometimes see on our streets who are negative about most things in life - smile and walk on past towards your goals. 

We are not stupid

This was obvious from the outset, that there would have to be a bridge, since the site has access limitations.

Why not front up with this from the start?  Do you think people in this town are stupid?

Why not front up with the names of the developers now too?  What do they have to hide?

Message to developer: you are the one that will have to pay for the bridge.  Do not even attempt to "negotiate" money out of the ratepayer for your own vanity projects.

Message to the planning committee: this application fo the hotel should be declined in its entirety. 

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