Dunedin deserves better than the design of a 28-storey, $100
million hotel being suggested for the city's waterfront, a
heritage building owner says.
The rebuke came from Ted Daniels, owner of two Dunedin
heritage buildings, on the seventh day of a resource consent
hearing that will decide the fate of the hotel proposed by
Betterways Advisory Ltd.
Mr Daniels, the last member of the public to address the
hearing, yesterday urged the developers to ''think outside
He was not against the hotel at 41 Wharf St, but opposed its
design, believing the prominent waterfront location demanded
The hotel's size and location would make it a landmark
building in the city. He presented the committee images
showing landmark buildings around the world, then criticised
the hotel's glass-box design as ''from the 1950s or 1970s''.
''If we build the wrong building, people will be saying for
the next 100 years, 'how the hell did it get built?'
''I think Dunedin deserves a better building as a landmark
building,'' he said.
There would always be opposition, as shown by the initial
outcry over the Sydney Opera House, but Dunedin's waterfront
hotel design ''I don't think has anything to go for it''.
''It's just a shame,'' he said.
Mr Daniels was among many submitters to criticise the hotel's
design during the public hearing, which spanned four days
from December 3 and continued this week.
However, a council planner's report - recommending consent be
declined - has also suggested the design be referred to an
expert panel for approval, should the committee decide to
grant consent anyway.
The hearing adjourned at the end of yesterday's session and
will resume in February to consider more information and
closing arguments from the applicant, Betterways Advisory
Ltd, and council staff.
Yesterday, the committee also heard technical evidence
confirming the hotel would make the surrounding area windier
in some places, and more sheltered in others, while traffic
issues could be overcome.
Opus International Consultants aerodynamics research leader
Neil Jamieson, of Wellington, appearing for Betterways, said
wind striking a building could accelerate around corners or
That meant more wind for pedestrians in some areas, but a
building's mass could also provide shelter in other areas.
Dunedin's new hotel would be most susceptible to winds from
the northeast or east, or from the southwest or west, he
A southwest wind could turn the southwest corner of the hotel
into a ''very windy area'', with effects from either end of
the hotel extending to the Customhouse Restaurant and Gen-i
buildings and beyond.
The hotel's bulk would provide ''significant shelter'' to the
hotel entrance and nearby pedestrian areas on the eastern
side, but there was likely to be an overall deterioration in
wind conditions for pedestrians.
Cyclists using the nearby cycleway could also expect ''a few
surprises'' from changing wind speeds as a result of the
hotel's presence, ''but [the wind] is not likely to blow them
off their bikes'', he said.
Dunedin's district plan did not set rules for wind from new
buildings, but Mr Jamieson suggested a wind tunnel study
could determine the magnitude of the likely changes.
Betterways could also be instructed to offer glass barriers
or other solutions to neighbours if consent was granted, he
Yesterday's session also heard detailed discussion of
possible traffic issues in the area by Betterways' consultant
transport engineer, Andrew Carr, and the council's consultant
transportation planner, Ian Clark.
The pair prepared a joint statement after disagreeing earlier
in the hearing about traffic problems at the Birch St-Wharf
St intersection and the hotel's proposed vehicle exit to
Yesterday, after fresh traffic modelling, they confirmed
vehicles performing U-turns at the Birch St-Wharf St
intersection - including guests overshooting the hotel from
the north - could cause vehicle queues to form, but only for
Mr Clark said there was room to make the area a two-lane
road, allowing traffic to turn with disruption, but Mr Carr
believed the situation should be monitored and action taken
only if needed.
Vehicle queues could also form at the hotel's exit, but only
for brief periods at peak times, and the exit would
''generally operate satisfactorily''.
There was also enough room for vehicles approaching from the
south to slow and enter the hotel, while following vehicles
passed to their right, Mr Carr said.
Mr Clark said the ''major'' challenge remained ensuring
guests could safely cross the busy Wharf St to the
waterfront, as modelling showed a crossing with signals in
the area would not work.
However, Mr Carr said there was already a crossing just south
of the Thomas Burns St roundabout, and more could follow, as
the area developed.
Committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall adjourned the hearing
yesterday afternoon for a series of site visits, but said it
was due to reconvene on February 18-20 unless another date
In the meantime, committee members would consider ''where to
from here'', including what further information was needed
for a ''quality decision'', he said.