Kiwirail is offering an olive branch to Betterways Advisory
Ltd over concerns it could scupper plans for a $100 million
waterfront hotel in Dunedin.
Betterways counsel Phil Page, during closing arguments at a
hotel consent hearing on Wednesday, suggested KiwiRail could
refuse permission for a bridge over its rail corridor, needed
to link the hotel and central city, to stop the hotel.
KiwiRail had submitted in opposition to the hotel, and ruled
out the use of its land or airspace, over concerns noise from
its nearby rail yard would lead to complaints from hotel
guests and apartment tenants.
However, a KiwiRail spokeswoman, responding to Otago Daily
Times questions yesterday, said it was ''unlikely''
permission for a bridge would be denied, if the hotel was
granted consent and the bridge met KiwiRail's requirements.
''If the consenting process permits such a hotel to be built,
it would be unlikely KiwiRail would unreasonably withhold
consent or support, provided it followed due process,'' she
Betterways would need to obtain a deed of grant to use
airspace over the rail corridor, and KiwiRail approval of the
bridge design, to ensure it did not conflict with any
operational requirements, the spokeswoman said.
However, specific questions about whether KiwiRail had
already received an application for such permission from
Betterways, and, if so, why it had not responded, were not
Mr Page claimed during Wednesday's evidence one had been
filed, but Betterways had not been given ''the dignity of a
The KiwiRail spokeswoman said key staff needed to address
those questions were not available yesterday, but more
information could be provided in the coming days.
KiwiRail's concern at the prospect of a hotel as a neighbour
was based on the hotel's proximity and worries about noise
''We want these issues to be consciously understood as part
of the consenting process,'' the spokeswoman said.
The consent hearing adjourned on Wednesday with no decision
on whether further information or public consultation would
Instead, the Dunedin City Council hearings committee - headed
by chairman Cr Colin Weatherall - was waiting to hear if
Betterways accepted the need to extend the deadline for a
If it did, that would push the deadline out to June 6, but
the committee had the power to extend the deadline itself
anyway. Cr Weatherall said yesterday he was still waiting to
hear from Betterways' representatives, but was hoping for
agreement as the extra time was needed for a ''quality and
In addition, Cr Weatherall and committee members Crs Andrew
Noone, Kate Wilson and independent commissioner John Lumsden
were already discussing the next steps in the process.
They would need to decide what, if any, additional
information and consultation might be needed before a
decision on the hotel could be made, he said.
It was ''unlikely'' the deadline would need to be shifted
beyond June 6 to accommodate that, he said.
A notice confirming the timetable ahead would be made public
once Cr Weatherall heard from Betterways' representatives,
which could be as soon as today, he said.
If the timeframe was extended, and no further information or
consultation was required, the committee would close the
hearing and begin deliberating on its decision, he said.