Images of dirty city unsettle councillors

Dunedin city councillor David Benson-Pope feels sick about street vomit in Dunedin - and now he has the pictures to prove it.

Councillors were left squirming as Cr Benson-Pope presented a barrage of pictures of the Octagon, George St and Princes St to highlight his concerns about street cleanliness at Thursday's infrastructure services committee meeting.

The pictures, depicting blood, urine and vomit stains, piles of cigarette butts and general grime, were flashed up on a big screen at Cr Benson-Pope's instruction.

Not even complaints from Cr Richard Thomson, or threats of a point of order from committee chairwoman Cr Kate Wilson, could dissuade the councillor, who campaigned in part on cleaning up the mess.

''Almost done,'' he intoned, while instructing council staff to display image after image after image.

Eventually he relented, declaring himself ''embarrassed'' to have to bring up the matter but ''more embarrassed'' by the state of the streets.

His confronting presentation came as council staff, responding to concerns about litter, presented a report on the city's street-cleaning arrangements to Thursday's meeting.

The report, by roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring, showed the city was divided into zones, blocks within zones and a detailed list of cleaning activities, carried out to specified frequencies as part of the council's contract.

That included a daily clean and twice-daily litter collection in the Octagon and surrounding streets, as well as a variety of other services, such as a six-monthly search to remove chewing gum.

However, Cr Benson-Pope said the report's details - when compared to his pictures - showed the contract was not being carried out as it should, and the work in some cases ''simply isn't happening''.

He was not criticising the efforts of those doing the work, but believed their task was impossible without more resources.

Council staff should take immediate action to ensure that the performance criteria for the contract were met in future, as results to date were ''completely unacceptable'', he said.

Other councillors appeared impressed by the detailed nature of the existing programme, and the work already required, although Cr John Bezett said he ''couldn't argue against'' Cr Benson-Pope's views.

However, Cr Bezett said the focus should be on those who ''took for granted'' that they could litter the city's streets.

The council could never stop some people vomiting in doorways, but could encourage more people to be ''proud of our city'' and dispose of their rubbish properly, he believed.

''They will be rewarded in having a much cleaner city,'' he said.

Cr Mike Lord was impressed by the work contractors already did but believed an education programme was needed to encourage better behaviour by the public.

Kate Wilson suggested free rubbish bags should be given to volunteers prepared to collect rubbish in their areas, while fines were handed out to those caught littering, who until now ''got away with it scot-free''.

''I think there are abilities to fine, and influence some of the best behaviour we would like to see in the city, and I think that's perhaps an area we have been too lax in,'' she said.

Cr Aaron Hawkins believed the council also needed to ''show some leadership'' by doing more to address the ''general shabbiness'' around the city, but Cr Jinty MacTavish believed the focus should be on the ''real crime, which is making the mess in the first place''.

''In my view, there's no excuse for that. It's pure laziness,'' she said.

Councillors voted to ask council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose to take immediate action to ensure that the contracts were fulfilled.

Council staff would also report back on possible new enforcement measures, as well as education and voluntary initiatives - developed with Keep Dunedin Beautiful - to discourage littering.


One simple solution?

Not really, as this will not solve the vomit problem. Good luck pushing an alcohol free theme.

How will that fix the problem?

How will making Dunedin smokefree fix the problem with vomit etc? Most people who smoke dont go around Dunedin being sick in the doorways.

Not surprising

One simple solution is to make the city smokefree - something the council refuses to consider.

Dunedin's disgraceful roads

It's not just the vomit on Dunedin streets that is an eyesore, it's the state of the roads in Dunedin that are an absolute disgrace. All bumpy and half patched up. It's true the roads are smooth until you reach the outskirts of Dunedin. 

Vomit, littler and burnt couches

What are the answers ? Close the pubs at 11.00pm, consider fining offenders and have them clean up the mess. Fines are used in other parts of the world effectively.

Use time and some of the above to help change attitudes. Clean up the student area, as it has been a concern for many years.

The domestic areas of Dunedin seem OK. Most people would support Cr Benson-Pope putting foward resonable messures to clean up the centre city and student areas.


Give Darryl a hand

If Benson-Pope chose to look into this more fully he would realise the council employs one person, Darryl, to clean up the mess. His territory is from up near the uni down to the Exchange area.


Makes me wonder

I have to wonder about a foolishness of the world when I'm going for a walk through town and see either piles of vomit on the footpath or the tell tale marks of vomit being recently washed off. I mean we live in a world where alcohol is sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. It is a legal and widely accepted substance with a big industry group behind it. Meanwhile, if there are any moves made to legalise any other substance there are protests in the streets and politicians can't run for cover and hit the banned button fast enough. I'm sure history will laugh at us for the muddle-headedness of the current status quo.

Dunedin dumping ground

Here is a different example from an overseas visitor. I was driving back from the airport with two friends from the US. Just as we passed the old Carisbrook heading north they exclaimed, "what is all that?!" referring to the mile high pile of twisted, turning, rusting metal piled up at the side of the motorway, a pile that seems to be getting bigger and bigger by the day.

Where they come from you are not allowed to have piles of scrap metal so close to a main thoroughfare in case of extreme weather blowing something dangerous onto the road. Two days later we went on the Taieri Excursion Train. As we set off on our journey toward Middlemarch, we were again treated to this dumping ground of scrap, and it was mentioned that earlier some debris had fallen onto the track and had been removed before the train came through.

Yes, the pictures that Benson Pope presented are unpleasant. So is the drive into Dunedin. Because we see it every day I think people have stopped noticing, others notice. What a dump. 


Dirty Dunedin

After just returning from a month long drive all around the United States one thing was very noticable in both small towns, and many large ones during our trip. The downtown areas were very clean. Some of the highlights was Kansas City. We went for a drive around the city after dinner, and the place was immaculate. One amazing sight was downtown Detroit. Yes Detroit! The downtown city area was very clean, and in fact where we stopped for lunch there was a city worker across the street water blasting the sidewalk. Coming back home to Dunedin after seeing such pristine clean cities in the USA that take obvious pride in their presentation we should be ashamed of our downtown area, and the lack of care that is taken in it's presentation. Mr. Benson-Pope is 100 percent correct, and it is embarrasing. I understand Dunedin does have budget constraints, but Detroit is bankrupt and still has a clean downtown area. Maybe they want to encourage business, and make it a place where people want to come?

Wake-up call required

This city really needs to master the basics before it can progress to the "nice to haves".  Why can't Dunedin be like Napier, Invercargill, Wellington and other town/cities that are right on top of how their city is planned and presented? I am sure these towns face the same challenges as Dunedin, but they are a joy to travel around. The leadership and operational competence shown by their councils is clear.

Benson-Pope is correct to raise this issue in a confronting manner as a wake-up call is required. Duendin should be a clean, tidy and aesthically pleasing place to live and visit. Instead it's become a town of filth and a shambolic mess of poorly executed roadmarking, cyclelanes and signs. It is becoming increasingly difficult to remain proud of this town, and Benson-Pope is showing  leadership  to turn this worrying trend around.

Council have no one to blame but themselves

After reading this article, the problem is glaringly obvious. "Contractors". And now that they have contracted out the water to a Christchurch outfit. Be prepared to watch that fall apart too.

Dunedin: Shabby, not shabby chic

I could add a hundred more vomit, urine, and broken glass pictures to this montage. Thank you Councillor BP for making this a goal. It's not acceptable, and a bad look for our inner city. The vomit/urine/glass issue is especially bad around north George St /Pitt St/ Frederick St. Have a look around the dental school on a Sunday morning. 


People have been vomiting and so-forth in the streets and at various corners for years. Why doesnt he bring the issue up with the streetcleaners (or their bosses) instead of being melodramatic at the council meetings...what can they do?..(chuckle)...except what was in the article.

the cnr of Lower Dowling and Queens Gardens, there is a sign saying 'littering in this city prohibited' (or words to that effect). Go have a look sometime. But, like a lot of other issues in the city, it seems only a minority give a toss. its the '80/20' rule at play again. Gosh, that rule is versatile. 

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Phoenix Services Dunedin LtdDunedinBuilders
Christies NurseryDunedinGardening
The Dessert RoomDunedinCatering
Hatch Fly FishingHaweaOutdoor Activities