The fate of Dunedin's proposed $100 million
waterfront hotel hangs in the balance, but a decision on
whether to proceed - or abandon the project - could be just
weeks away, it has been confirmed.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told the Otago Daily Times all
parties were working to address ''complex'' issues but he
could offer no guarantees a way forward could be found.
''I'm keeping all my options open. I don't think there's any
guarantees anywhere,'' he said when contacted yesterday.
Mr Cull's comments came as he confirmed two further meetings
with the developers - Queenstown-based Jing Song and her
husband, Chinese construction company owner Ping Cao - had
taken place in recent months.
The most recent was in Auckland on December 4, when Mr Cull
and the developers had initial talks about the ways traffic,
noise, pedestrian access and other issues arising - if the
hotel was built at 41 Wharf St - could be addressed.
Proposed solutions were also on the table, but no agreement
had been reached, and Mr Cull said he could not elaborate.
''Frankly, we're still working through them because they're
complex and many.''
However, Mr Cull expected the developers would be in a
position to ''come to some conclusions'' within the next
month or so.
That could mean reaching agreement on the process to follow
to advance the project, which could lead to a fresh consent
application, a plan change process or some other mechanism,
Alternatively, the developers could conclude the project was
unworkable at 41 Wharf St, and would then have to decide
whether to consider other sites or to abandon their plans
altogether, he said.
''All of those are possibilities.''
The plans for the 27-storey hotel and apartment tower on the
city's waterfront were unveiled by Betterways Advisory Ltd
director Steve Rodgers, a Dunedin lawyer, in May 2012. The
council's hearings committee opted to decline consent after
considering 507 submissions.
Betterways has since appealed the decision to the Environment
Court, although the parties were continuing to discuss
Ms Song could not be contacted yesterday and Mr Rodgers would
only say there were no new developments to report.
Mr Cull met the developers in Auckland on October 16 to
consider the results of independent planning advice, offered
by the council immediately after the decision was announced.
Yesterday, he said all parties hoped for a speedy conclusion
to the talks.
''I'm pretty sure that Ping and Jing and the developers want
some conclusions too ... they don't want to be still working
through this in six months' or a year's time.''