No-one is against "progress"

I am not "old" or "against progress", I'm 39 and a successful Internet entrepreneur. I moved from Auckland to Dunedin for the amazing heritage vibe and environment. If I wanted to live among giant glass covered Miami cereal boxes I would have moved to Miami where my Sister lives (It's certainly warmer!). I make a living from "progress" in technology so I am no stranger to the concept and execution of progress.

This project is simply not a good fit for Dunedin nor is it progress. In my opinion it's a textbook external developer money dump write off at our expense (hence the secrecy and abysmal design). I spent 12yrs in Auckland where this sort of thing is rife and many of these projects turn to custard, usually the rate payer and those who bought units stuck with the bill and dramas. There are leaky half empty developments all over Auckland.

In my opinion the supporters of this thing are either innocently naive or have a vested interest. They've been caught like deer in headlights with the jazzy presentation and promises of economic boom. No one against this monstrosity is against progress for Dunedin or against 5-star accommodation for Dunedin. Please get it through your head. Your idea of accommodation "progress" for Dunedin is a massive shiny out of place monster over taking the harbour. This thing does not work anymore than large poodles spray painted pink.

My idea of progress for Dunedin accommodation is central city 5-star hotels that are 3-5 stories tall and modelled after the Savoy London. Something that is actually 5-star, central, elegant, modern, classy and compliments the heritage vibe of Dunedin. However, that business model does not provide these secret external developers with a maximum ROI, so they opt for the giant shiny box to maximize profit (somehow you think they are maximizing progress which I find bizarre). So sadly uninspiring this building is.

Funny how none of these developers will have to live with this massive object towering over their city. Also, the artist renderings are a complete sham to the trained eye, very careful not to show how huge and imposing this building is. In most images it is shown from a high angle and made to look transparent.

Remember when Apple released the iPhone and ensured their hand model had big hands making the phone appear more compact? The images and videos of the proposed building are using every marketing trick in the book, to make the structure appear less invasive to the surroundings. Much of the scenery and surrounding buildings changed and manipulated to further reduce the impact.

Please, some of us weren't born yesterday. Don't be so naive and quick to embrace a jazzy power point presentation from strangers. This is your city, expect more for your city than a secret cookie cutter development.


I am not aware that I have ever uttered one word against  hotel development in Dunedin generally, merely, 'not this one, nor on this site'. So much for 'anti-progress'. But then, I'm not grasping for straws and lining up in a lolly-scramble for a share in other people's crumbs, as those of a supposedly more 'progressive' outlook seem prone to doing. On another site and kept to within reasonable limits in keeping with the rest of our city and our, (not overseas), aspirations for it, I would likely support it.

But this scheme is not like that. It is 'big-money-come-to-town', personified and the concept of the building is, beyond a shadow of doubt, meant to dominate, if not the entire city, then at least its surroundings. The flip-side of 'progressive', is 'regressive', and that may be the direction we will find ourselves headed, if this scheme is allowed to gain traction. If Dunedin loses its essential 'character', it's goodbye to much of our tourist appeal. The absence of such edifices as this, is an essential component of the 'points-of-difference' which keep our city unique. Let's keep it that way.  


What he said...

Well said, Ian.  I agree with you, and am not surprised that once again you were given another lashing from the PC paddle!

Apart from my concerns regarding the sheer size of this 'glass covered cereal box' I feel very uneasy as to the true intentions of building it.  This has nothing to do with the race or wealth of the developer.

Some high profile people in Dunedin seem to think that the rest of us should be happy that they 'know' or 'know of' this as yet unnamed developer.  Their own past records are the very reason why some of us are being as sceptical or as hesitant as we are.  

I'm all for developing Dunedin and moving forward, but let's keep it in proportion, whether that be in the size of the buildings or in the scope of the projects.  We cannot afford any more costly mistakes, whether ratepayer funded or through private enterprise.  



Not at all

Leewee: There seems to be a school of thought in Dunedin that any piece of entrepreneurship which comes to town is necessarily good or the city and its people. We have two spectacular examples of recent years - the stadium and the Chinese garden. The first was opposed by a majority of the city's ratepayers, and the second was supported by some on the basis that they thought the city stood to gain something for nothing.
Now we are being offered yet another carrot, and I think it is high time, we wised up to 'Greeks bearing gifts' and created initiatives of our own to assure our city's future prosperity.
Despite what you might think, if your offsprings' achievements have been as you have stated, and especially if they took part in menial employment to bring that state of affairs about, then I commend them. However, the hard fact is that possibly with the exception of one or two executive positions, the work which would have kept your family members in Dunedin will not be on offer from this hotel. Therefore, the fact that your graduate family-members were forced to seek employment elsewhere, is irrelevant as far as the building of this hotel is concerned.
So any notion that the building (or as I hope, otherwise) of this edifice has anything to do with your progeny's' future employment prospects is a red-herring. Prosperity for such as they will only be assured by people being prepared to invest in Dunedin's prosperity in a way which assures a beneficial return to the city. Unfortunately, we have a penchant for 'backing-the-wrong horses'. [Abridged]

Re; 'Contradictions' ?

Mr Smith: I am someone taken aback in regards to your attitude to 'progress' and somewhat offended that you presume to judge me by stating 'my attitude is common enough' in regards to you inferring that 'low paid work' is fine for other people's children (not ours).
I am somewhat astounded that your comments sound like a 'class system' of yesteryear. Sir, I appreciate the 'service' that is given in all of our 'service industry areas' and would never 'label' them as or anyone else as 'common'.
To do nothing within our local economy to create jobs would be criminal, as we all have had our lives enriched by the 'forward-thinking forefathers' that built this city. You advocate 'not for us' - I say let's go forward, identify the opportunities and go for it. This city is our children's and grandchildren's future, and they deserve it. I am behind this project.
Finally, my offspring took advantage of the education system and the advantages of attending the University of Otago. Through the hard work of our family they achieved in their chosen fields. I might add they also worked their way through varsity in, as you term it, 'lowly paid employment' in their weekends and holidays, and were so very grateful for the work that business people offered. [Abridged]


Leewee: You state that this hotel, if built, would provide more jobs. I believe 200 is a number that has been bandied about, but don't be surprised if the reality is about half that number.
However, you also point out the difficulty of your 'top graduate' family finding employment and having to leave the city.
Unless your offspring are going to willingly accept domestic work as their lot in life - which I doubt - it was inevitable that they would leave town anyway. The presence of the 'behemoth' in our midst would not have made one scrap of difference.
From that I take the inference that low paid 'hotel' work is fine for other people's children but not your own. It's a common enough attitude. [Abridged]


Hope for more for your children

Lewee writes: "We have watched our children and our friends children leave Dunedin due to lack of opportunities in employment" and I feel compassion.
However, don't mistake a big hotel's jobs for the kind of work that is worth lowering one's sights for. There is nothing wrong with minimum wage work, it is not shameful and it is better than no job, but even over the ditch it is paid better. Ands parents should have higher ambitions for any kid with initiative and ability.
We NZers deserve better than being a cheap servant class making money for the few from tourism. True, it is the only work that cannot be sent offshore to countries where there is no minimum wage.
However, we should not open our arms and cry Hallelujah at the promise of more jobs unless we get a firm commitment that the jobs are full-time, not casual, give workers the opportunity to advance in their careers, and are paid at well above the minimum wage. [Abridged]

Not progress

I couldn't agree more, I can't understand why council would allow a new multistorey building while trying to rejuvenate the warehouse district at the same time.

Experience does count

Cityrise, you state that you are 39 and a sucessful entrepreneur, you lived in Auckland for 12 years and decided that with all the experience gained from living in the 'Big City' you would move south and decide that this is what you want for Dunedin!

I remind you that you chose to come live here amongst us - we welcome people like you but now you are of the opinion that we cannot hold a differing opinion of yours as you know best.

I was born in Dunedin, educated, worked and with my husband raised a family who attended Otago University, obtaining top degrees. My husband was self-employed and we never thought to leave Dunedin as we have always been content with what this city has to offer.

The saddest thing is that we have watched our children and our friends children leave Dunedin due to lack of opportunites in employment and they really miss, 'Home' Dunedin.

Having recently returned from Singapore from visiting family I rest my case and suggest if you want a London-type 'Savoy', why not try there for your idea of the perfect building development. I suspect that your vision for the future is rather short-sighted, with respect. I am for progress and jobs for this city's young families because without developments we are destined to become a tired 'Old' city. [abridged]