Costs to DCC exceed $200,000

Trying to help Betterways Advisory Ltd build a five-star hotel has so far cost the Dunedin City Council more than $200,000, it has been confirmed.

The spending - including the cost of consultants, lawyers and a discount on consent fees - covered the period since resource consent for Betterways' proposed $100 million, five-star hotel was declined last year.

The total was confirmed by council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery in response to Otago Daily Times questions yesterday.

The council had spent $140,000 on consultant and planning advice and other costs, including on free planning advice offered to Betterways by Mayor Dave Cull following last year's decision to decline consent.

Betterways' bill for the consent application and hearing process, which totalled about $128,000, had also been discounted by $58,541 after the hearing ended, he said.

That decision was made by then chief executive Paul Orders to show ''support'' and ''good faith'' to the hotel's developers, Mr Avery said.

''It was also recognising that we wanted to try and work with them to ...get a $100 million five-star hotel built,'' he said.

In addition, the council had spent about $11,000 on initial preparations for a possible Environment Court hearing, after Betterways appealed last year's decision to decline consent, before a memorandum of understanding was signed last month.

That brought the total cost to the council to nearly $210,000, but Mr Avery said it still compared favourably with the $300,000 estimated cost to the council of an Environment Court hearing.

It was done in an effort to negate the need for an appeal, he said. However, with the hotel project scrapped on Monday and Betterways' appeal still live - while Ms Song refused to say what her next legal move would be - Mr Avery would not say it was money well spent.

''Obviously, it was money to help Betterways identify a hotel option that would work. Clearly, that's not achieved its outcome.''

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