There was plenty of heat, but no eruption, as Dunedin
city councillors pointed fingers over a new management approach
for Harbour Cone yesterday.
The rumblings began at yesterday's Dunedin City Council
meeting as councillors debated the proposal for a new trust
or board to assume governance of the council-owned property.
Councillors began trading points of order after Cr Lee
Vandervis criticised council spending on the property,
leading to a stoush that ended when Cr Vandervis was told to
sit down by Mayor Dave Cull.
Councillors at yesterday's full council meeting approved a
transfer of governance responsibilities over the property,
which the council bought for $2.6 million in 2008, to a new
trust or management board, which is yet to be created.
The council would retain ownership of the land and have two
representatives on the board or trust to be formed, which
would then be bolstered by members of the public.
However, the council would also grant the trust $1000 a year
to help cover the property's rates bill, as well as $500 a
year for basic administration costs, councillors decided
And, in a late addition yesterday, council chief executive
Paul Orders would also identify funding for a one-off $5000
grant to be given to the trust.
That move came after councillors, including Cr Richard
Thomson, worried the new trust would otherwise be handed ''a
hospital pass'' if it was established with no money in the
However, Cr Vandervis questioned the wisdom of paying ''such
an enormously high price'' for a property that could not even
generate enough income to cover its own rates bill.
That bill stood at $5777 a year, while the only income
from the property was a grazing lease worth $5000 a year to the
The rates bill, lease income and extra council funding would
all be transferred to the new trust under yesterday's
agreement, but Cr Vandervis was worried the council would be
''throwing more money at a supposed asset''.
''We don't actually have an asset here. We have a severe
Cr Jinty MacTavish fired back with a point of order after
taking exception to Cr Vandervis' suggestion volunteers'
''passion'' for work on the property was diminishing.
Mr Cull also weighed in, describing Cr Vandervis' criticism
of council spending as ''clearly laughable'', while Cr Fliss
Butcher called another point of order for Cr Vandervis'
''The points of order here are the tedious repetition,'' Cr
Vandervis retorted, before being instructed to take his seat
by Mr Cull.
Other councillors supported the proposal, including deputy
mayor Chris Staynes, who insisted the council's earlier
purchase had been to protect the ''outstanding'' landscape
for future public access.
''Not everything that this council spends money on is
expected to be profitable,'' he said.
Mr Cull said the council had responded to community calls
when it bought the property, but the new trust would be the
most economical way to manage the property in future.
''Council doesn't need to minutely control everything we own.
''The community are probably the better people to look after
this,'' he said.
Councillors voted to approve the new arrangement, despite
opposition from Cr Vandervis, who voted against it.