As a professional couple living in London considering moving
back to our home town of Dunedin, it really worries us to see
the attitude people in the city display towards development.
Our hope was to move back to Dunedin to continue to grow an
existing business that could create jobs in the area.
Unfortunately, however, we are constantly being made to feel
very nervous at the prospect of doing this due to an
apparently anti-development attitude in the community.
Many residents seem to have this romantic notion that they
can pick and choose who invests in their town, and then tell
those investors what they are going to do with their money.
The reality is if you say no to private investment Dunedin is
on the fast track to dropping off the map completely.
Investors will go to another city in a heartbeat.
Don't get me wrong - I don't feel particularly strongly for
or against this hotel.
However, it seems to me too many people in Dunedin look at
how development will affect them personally rather than what
is best for the city as a whole.
Numerous opinions I've read from residents highlight that too
many people are opposed to this hotel because it blocks their
personal view of the harbour (which I doubt it will do) or
because it will create shade for them in their nearby office.
The answer to this simple: that's of no consequence.
You live in a city, and in cities buildings get built and
things change and grow.
Developers cannot take into account the sensitivities of
every citizen who lives in the area.
If a proposal creates good outcomes for the city, such as
improving its status amongst travellers and creating jobs for
locals, that overrides the personal inconvenience of some
If it does not provide good outcomes for the city, there is a
basis to resisting the development.
The irony is the economic strategy recently completed by the
DCC continually points out that for Dunedin to survive
commercially it must welcome and embrace foreign investment
and new businesses, yet the first major one that comes along
sees the city push them away again.
The reality is the town needs to open its mind to these sorts
of things, stop resisting every new development and stop
seeing them as somehow diminishing the history of the place.
I've travelled all over the world, and wherever you go the
best cities are those with a mixture of old and new
Cities with true heritage going back hundreds and hundreds of
years embrace change and development. Why do some in Dunedin
think their heritage is somehow superior and we must never
have anything built around these heritage buildings?
Please, remember the bigger picture here, Dunedin. This isn't
just about this hotel. It's about the message we are giving
to other potential developers.
Do you want Dunedin to be the only place in NZ which has
closed its door to this sort of thing, and slowly but surely
loses further ground to other centres?
Or do you want to embrace change and start moving forwards
again, the way those who originally built the city did?