Upgrade hit by shortfall

Glen Hazelton
Glen Hazelton
An upgrade of the main pedestrian thoroughfare linking the chief post office hotel development and central Dunedin might be on hold after the budget could not be stretched far enough.

The work on the north section of Bond St is part of the first stage of general amenity upgrades of the historic warehouse and Exchange area and includes kerbing, pavements, cycle racks, lighting, trees and bespoke seats in some parts of Vogel, Jetty and Bond Sts.

The work is intended to link the warehouse precinct and Exchange and encourage development and revitalisation in those areas.

The council signed off $500,000 for the work last year, but because the lowest tender was higher than expected and there were unforeseen problems during construction, the north Bond St work would not be done unless extra funding was found, acting urban design team leader Glen Hazelton told councillors in a report to be considered on Monday.

The unexpected issues included requirements by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust to protect and re-lay original bluestone kerbing in Vogel St, additional drainage works after concrete was found under the street and extra digging after stormwater pipes were in different locations to what was mapped.

He put forward three options for councillors to consider.

Either do the works on the north Bond St section, which involved at this stage some paving and kerb improvements and cycle racks, at a later date, probably in the 2015-16 financial year; find another $60,000 and do the works as planned; or find up to $115,000 and improve the street lighting and/or plant trees in Bond St, as well.

The last option would have the advantage of improving the area between Rattray St/Queens Gardens to the redeveloped chief post office and the front entrance of the new hotel, on Bond St, which would be the main pedestrian connection between the hotel and the city. It would demonstrate the council's commitment to further amenity improvements in the area.

The first option would risk the warehouse precinct remaining isolated from the exchange area.

His report made no recommendation, but noted the council's transportation operations budget had a favourable variance of $80,000 if an option requiring additional budgets was chosen.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

Groovin' on the tiles, or not

Good heavens, lovedunedin shares the opinion of  Murray4nz that   "Something as simple as a cool, funky streetscape (not asphalt pavements)" is worth the money when Dunedin is up to its 2nd floor windowsills in debt.  It's not as if pavers were cool and/or funky.  They're as funky as milky tea in a durable mug, as cool as a wine biscuit on the side.  It would help if people were allowed to do interesting things on them without a rigmarole of restrictions and permits, buskers sans amplifiers, one per block length on a good day, and sellers of fresh local fruit and produce, and creative people displaying their pendants, pottery and poetry broadsheets. If you want footpaths to be funky try painting hopscotch grids on them and see how many people do a sneaky hop before resuming adult dignity!

Head in the sand

Lovedunedin: No matter we're in debt up to levels that must be a concern to most ratepayers in this city, as long as the extra council spending makes it look good. 

Re good investment

Murray4nz: Great comments.  I've just finished putting in an online submission to DCC Annual Plan- Heritage Re-Use with similar sentiments. Submissions close 5pm tomorrow (Tuesday). Your letter would carry more weight there than here. 




Good investment

There has been some serious investment in the area with the icing on the cake being the Chief Post Office.  It was so pleasing to see the lights on in the building the other night - what a  terrific site.  The city need to do their part and enhance the streetscape.  Attracting businesses and people to the area is vitally important for the city.  Something as simple as a cool, funky streetscape (not asphalt pavements) helps achieve that. The mix of inner-city living with businesses has been shown to bring vitality to towns and cities across the world.  The refurbishment of these heritage areas is not only a good investment it is makes Dunedin stand out from the crowd at very little extra cost.  When you think about it the major cost overruns were no fault of the contractor or the city but unforeseen underground issues that were encountered when replacing the sewer.  Now sewage is important infrastructure and not silly spending.

And of all the silly spending

"Stop spending what you don't have," comes the plaintive cry to the DCC from marious, probably another ordinary ratepayer whose own discretionary spending has had to be cut back and back thanks to, among other things, rates rising faster than incomes.  Being acutely conscious of the shocking state of Dunedin's finances I have been fuming.  Of all the silly spending, what's with tiddling-up functional footpaths by replacing asphalt with tiles now - for no good reason whatsoever.

It's like being unable to keep up one's mortgage and insurance payments, but doing up the kitchen by replacing 100% functional cupboard and drawer handles with imported "designer" ones that cost a small fortune each.  I wouldn't do it, I;ll bet marious wouldn't do it.  Why does the DCC?  More so, after previous street tiles have caused falls from becoming uneven over time so people catch their heels or trip on them.  Fix the potholes, fix uneven street and footpath seal, leave inessential decor till there's more money in the piggybank than is needed for core business and debt repayment.

Do it now

I do hope the DCC go for the best option and finish the job as planned. This is no time to to delay what is such a fantastic development to link the current city centre to the Old Post office, Museum, Warehouse area and create an upgraded Dunedin to be proud of.

More luxury spending

What part of broke, indebted, over extended, poor financial management don't this council understand.

Stop spending what you don't have.

We just can't afford to have all these feel good projects and pay for rugby's stadium.

Is there any chance at all we can get a council that will live within its means?

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