is a choice between buildings and jobs, a panel considering
whether to allow apartments in a heritage building in
Dunedin's waterfront industrial area has been told.
The district plan had already made the choice for them,
lawyer Phil Page also said, because it said there could not
be incompatible activities in the same area.
Previous councillor panels had held fast to the plan's
underlying principles of separating activities, he said,
first in withdrawing most of the proposed harbourside zone
and then in declining consent for a $100 million waterfront
hotel in Wharf St because it was a non-industrial activity in
an industrial zone.
And the hotel's developers had had more hope than the Loan
and Mercantile building's because they already had consent to
use the hotel site for another non-complying activity and it
had a degree of separation from the industrial area the Loan
and Mercantile did not.
Mr Page was representing Kaan's Catering Supplies, Farra
Engineering and the Otago Chamber of Commerce, who all oppose
an application from Russell Lund to redevelop the empty
building, which he believes has no other viable economic use,
into 24 apartments.
His clients agreed it was good to save heritage buildings, Mr
Page said, but the fact the Loan and Mercantile building was
listed was not something the panel of Crs Andrew Noone, David
Benson-Pope and Lee Vandervis could consider, as the district
plan did not treat heritage status as an exemption from
policy to separate incompatible activities.
''There is a major policy confrontation at play here. On the
one hand there is value in the restoration and reuse of
heritage buildings. On the other hand, there is the undoubted
value in vibrant and efficient industrial heart of the city
that is a major employer ...''
The three opponents were members of the ''tight five'' that
lobbied successfully against the proposed harbourside zone in
the late-2000s, over the same concerns industry now has about
Mr Lund's proposal.
The companies and the chamber, which chief executive John
Christie said was representing the interests of companies in
the area that did not want to be named (but he later conceded
he was not acting on the resolution of the entire chamber),
join steel foundry operator Esco in opposing the project
because they believe opening the door to residential activity
in the area would, ultimately, squeeze them out.
The issues they envisage include complaints about noise and
smells, issues with parking and traffic, precedent (there are
17 listed heritage buildings in the area) and gradual
increases in rents and land values.
The relocation of industrial businesses was a documented
expected result of the harbourside zone proposal, they noted.
Although Mr Lund has agreed to noise mitigation measures
including a no-noise covenant for the apartments, which
appeases another neighbour, Port Otago, the companies say
they do not think a covenant would work in practice because
complaints would continue despite it, they would feel morally
obliged to respond, it would not stop visitors complaining
and residents could still oppose future applications for
consent to expand or change emissions levels etc.
That would change their work environment, eventually making
Mr Christie said the proposal was exactly what the chamber
fought in the harbourside proposal. It supported the
waterfront hotel proposal because businesses had less issue
with it and it was a short-stay endeavour, he said.
Farra chief executive John Whitaker said the companies'
concerns were real and serious.
''In cities all over the world, we have watched our
colleagues get squeezed out by the trendy downtown apartment
set, either by their spending power (rent competition) or
through direct conflict. One rational strategy for managing
that risk is to move. After 150 years in Dunedin, we don't
want to do that.''
Kaan's owner Lindsay Kaan said a consented flat beside his
business was ''disastrous''. There was continual conflict
with tenants over the company's ''antisocial'' behaviour (it
operated 24-7), parking, noise and people climbing on the
''In the day-to-day battle of trying to get along with these
people, I doubt nice legal agreements about who can complain
about what would really make any difference.
''Although I could live with just this one, I have got to
draw a line in the sand, or my place will be next.
''That is what the [harbourside proposal] appeals were all
about and why we fought so hard. We let the south side of the
basin go to save the north side. Do we have to have that
fight again?''The hearing will be reconvened at a later date,
when council planners will respond to submissions and Mr Lund
will have right of reply.