Dunedin building contractor Russell Lund says ''height is
good'' and plans for a 28-storey waterfront hotel should be
Mr Lund, the managing director of Lund South Ltd, gave a
detailed case yesterday in favour of the $100 million hotel
proposed by Betterways Advisory Ltd for 41 Wharf St .
His comments came as supporters launched something of a
fight-back on the sixth day of the hotel's resource consent
hearing, after days of arguments heavily against the proposed
Others continued to oppose the project, including the New
Zealand Historic Places Trust, which warned against allowing
the ''overbearing'' hotel.
The estimated $100 million cost of the hotel was also
questioned by submitters who suggested it could cost double
Mr Lund told the committee Dunedin needed to seize the
once-in-a-generation chance for foreign investment in a
five-star hotel that would offer views and sun from all
That would give the city a competitive edge over other
centres including Queenstown, where height rules meant the
resort town's four and five-star hotels were built on - and
even into - steep terrain with restricted views from many
Dunedin's proposed hotel site was rare in any city, and the
advantages it offered ''cannot be overstated'', Mr Lund
''This will be, in fact, the best five-star hotel in New
Mr Lund said he spoke for the trust that owned the Loan and
Mercantile heritage building just north of the site, and had
no financial interest in the hotel or any agreement with
Betterways to help build it.
However, he insisted the hotel would make better use of the
vacant site than an ''ugly'' industrial development, which
would be at odds with surrounding tourist attractions,
restaurants and public spaces.
He also disputed the view a 96m-high building on an
industrial site with no height limit was ''fanciful'' and,
therefore, could not be built as of right, saying it was
''utterly, fundamentally wrong''.
Examples included the proposed Holcim cement works in Weston,
which would be 100m high when built, he said.
Other traffic and construction challenges could also be
overcome, but aspects of the design could be improved,
including the hotel's exterior finish, he said.
Customhouse Restaurant owner Barry Timmings also backed the
hotel yesterday, saying it would improve the waterfront and
the city's economy.
''I look forward 100 years and I think we have got to add
more strings to our bow than we have got, and this is part of
Other submitters continued the fight against the hotel,
including Peter Laing, owner of the Leviathan Hotel, who
reiterated concerns about the hotel's impact on its
He also questioned whether it could be built for $100
million, citing figures in the Rawlinsons New Zealand
Construction Handbook that showed it could cost up to $228
That could see it abandoned half-built, like the Sheraton
Hotel site in Rarotonga, he feared.
Committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall it was not for the
committee to justify the figures, but rather Betterways'
solicitor, Phil Page, when summing up the applicant's case.
NZHPT Otago-Southland branch heritage adviser Jane O'Dea also
warned the hotel could damage the appeal of the city's
historic harbourside area, discouraging refurbishment of its
The Resource Management Act provided for the protection of
heritage buildings, areas and surroundings, making the impact
of the hotel's size contrary to the Act, she argued.
KiwiRail acting southern regional manager Neil Campbell also
urged the committee to decline consent or impose a ''no
complaints covenant'', protecting KiwiRail's use of the main
south line from complaints about noise, dust and vibration.
''Our issue, really, with this hotel is it's right smack bang
in the middle on the shunt yard,'' he said.
Steps to protect KiwiRail were already proposed by
Betterways, and Mr Page said the company was happy to add the
covenants KiwiRail - as well as Port Otago - sought.
Other submitters yesterday included civil and transportation
engineer Phillip Cole, who questioned details of the project
and warned against following the Gold Coast's high-rise
''Dunedin's heritage soul should not be sold to the devil.
Once lost, you will never get it back.''
Peter Attwooll also questioned why its Chinese backers would
not yet be identified, suggesting the secrecy ''does raise
Albie Benson backed the hotel, saying it would fill a gap in
high-end accommodation, improve the harbourside area and
create jobs across the city.
''Is there any city in the world that would turn down this
opportunity, particularly in the present economic
The Airways Corporation of New Zealand also wanted conditions
imposed - possibly including an aeronautical study - to
ensure the hotel was not a risk to helicopters using the
Kitchener St and Dunedin Hospital helipads.
The Civil Aviation Authority could also direct Betterways to
install additional lighting on the hotel if required, the
The hearing continues today.