What does 97m look like?

Last night I took another tour of the Settlers Museum, having been through a month ago while exhibition displays were being populated, before the new foyer was completed.

The link to the Chinese Garden has yet to be made at the south end of the old NZR building.

In the museum we have an impressive series of new and refurbished spaces, the reading of which is generally low and long, suited to the narrow site between the railway and State Highway 1, and sympathetic to the immediate historic built environment.

Looking out from the museum's new foyer, which takes evening light amazingly well, across the traffic on SH1, there is old Dunedin Prison (1898), Dunedin Law Courts (1902), Dunbar House (former Dunedin Police Station, c.1895) and Leviathan Hotel (known as 'Leviathan Railway Temperance Hotel' when built in 1884).

This precinct flows into Anzac Square to the north, with Dunedin Railway Station (1906); lower Stuart Street featuring Law Courts Hotel (Auld Scotland Hotel was established on site in 1863), and Allied Press Building (former Evening Star Building, 1928); The Exchange area (old CBD); and Queens Gardens and the warehouse district to the south.

I mention this unique 'cultural heritage landscape' of buildings and green space because the impressive large-screen video flyover provided at the museum, as I understand, by Animation Research Ltd (ARL), shows exactly where the proposed 27-storey hotel and apartment block at 41 Wharf Street, if consented and constructed, will deliver significant irreversible adverse effects in the neighbourhood context - including for the Steamer Basin (see cruise operations by MV Tiakina and MV Monarch) and Dunedin Harbourside Historic Area (registered by New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 2008); and the Burlington Street Historic Area (registered in 1994), comprising Burlington St between High St and Moray Place (captures First Church, Burns Hall, Commerce Building, RSA Building, and Garrison Hall).

The adverse effects would be entirely due to the unwarranted height and overbearing design of the proposed hotel and apartment block.

The effects cannot be mitigated.
ARL should be asked to 'insert' the offending tower proposal into the museum flyover to gauge public reaction.

Alternatively, for no cost, Dunedin residents can walk or drive into the closed-off section of lower Rattray St beside the old level crossing and the Chinese Garden and take a look at the railway lighting tower.

This structure is approximately 35 metres in height. Imagine, at this street location, the hotel bearing down on you from 97 metres above.

With this height comparison think what happens to your enjoyment of the views,buildings and surroundings, together with your experience of sun and wind (microclimate)... and why for so many years Queen Elizabeth II Square in downtown Auckland was unalterably inhospitable, it was a rare day if anyone enjoyed lingering there before the Britomart Transport Centre was developed.

We're not going to get a Britomart in Dunedin.

In terms of urban design, the proposed hotel and apartment tower is going to sever and destroy the sense of place - and your connection with the harbour edge, physically, metaphorically, spiritually, tangibly and intangibly.

Without end, without moral or ethical consideration as posed by the application documentation (no footbridge included).

And with the hearing committee taking that disingenuous path of wanting more information from the applicant so to tick boxes for consent to be granted.

The mayor has been lobbied by Betterways Advisory Ltd and friends; the politics is thick with 'red carpet' and promissories... as yet, there's nothing solid, concrete or foundational in the appearance of the application. Is the city council about to bind us with a badly scribbled note worth $100m.

Ode to a mocking tower, at 35 metres. If only it could speak.

Building height

When the existing built environment isn't anywhere near as high as the "pump the volume" proposed hotel and apartment building, most people will be unclear on the potential effects of a solitary structure posited at the maximum height of 96.300 metres, in the concept drawings. The hearings committee is thinking along similar lines and has therefore requested further information from the applicant Betterways Advisory Limited.

This is why I wrote the item at the top of this thread, and submitted it in attachment to my submission to hearing. An assessment of environmental effects (AEE) is required under the Resource Management Act. To date, the applicant has made a meal of it. More information, with greater accuracy and credibility, makes for enhanced planning outcomes.

Hotel, my take on it

I don't think they want it 97m high but I think it's like a tax take - it's going to be xxx and when it's only x everyone sighs ''it could have been worse''.

If it's to be built no more than about 40-60m high max. There must be no ratepayer $$ at all put into it, building it or the surroundings area.

To invest in the city is a good thing if it's all their $$ but I don't believe the standard lines of "this could create more of jobs or tourists etc etc, that's why we rate payers should invest in it''.

The design looks a bit naff but I'm sure they can work on that and to say it's "not Dunedin", what is? As we have so many different building styles from the late 1800s, 1900s to today, we don't have one iconic style we can say this is Dunedin. [abridged]


Ignore the facts at your peril

Take this advice from someone who has seen and heard it all before.

My favourite saying is: Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on. This is closely followed by:  We told you so. 

More hotel


You yourself are just guessing and making things up as you go along. Like it will under utilised 95% of the time, that's simply a stat plucked from thin air. Overseas labour constructing it, again simply plucked from thin air - you don't know that at all. It's not the same circumstances as the Chinese gardens so your assumption is illogical .

Overseas labour working at it? Well you might be right there but simply because NZers are to lazy to work low-wage menial jobs. That said, some locals will work there - anyone who thinks it's going to be 100% staffed by Chinese is living in a dreamland.

Down with progress! Down with developement! Protect our run-down ruins, oops I mean heritage!

Time to rename this city Dontdune, don't come here, it's not worth the trouble. [abridged]

Just guessing indeed!

speadfreak.... you say it is a money wasting venture. So you clearly don't realise this is a private venture by outside investors. And no I'm not completely naive to think there won't be any investment from the ratepayers through cleaning/fixing up the surrounding area and building walkways etc, but the way I see it, is that will be a small price to pay for a badly needed 5 star hotel.

You clearly don't think much of Dunedin as you ask what are these tourists going to do when they get here, implying Dunedin has very little to offer. I wholeheartedly disagree, and consider Dunedin to be a fantastic city, with world class attractions and scenery, that makes a great 2-3 day stopover for travelling tourists. More coach tour companies will almost certainly be attracted to increasing their stops in Dunedin if they had a world class 5 star hotel, and more companies may even start putting Dunedin on their itineraries.

And just to address your numbered points: 1) Business travellers will be attracted to a 5 star hotel, as will visiting sports teams and some school groups, so should keep occupancy rates at an acceptable level throughout the year. 2) I'm sure some of the more negative early settlers said the same about the first church, and look at it now. 3) Who cares? They will still need to employ local people and purchase goods and services from local businesses. 4) This is purely an assumption you make with no credible evidence.

Dunedin needs this hotel. We have a 5 star hotel/apartment complex being handed to us on a plate, at little cost to us the ratepayers. No brainer really.

Just guessing

@Gwscam: Like you claim, you are just guessing and have guessed wrong. I do indeed have a child here and am far from wealthy.

I have spent most of my life here in Dunedin and for the last 21 years have worked for and managed a local business, which saw next to no economic benefit from the rugby world cup - unless you were involved in hospitality, not many did.

Over the last 20 years, I have watched council after council continue to ruin this place with their not so smart ideas and their own agendas. This has to stop.

This hotel, along with the stadium and other money wasting ventures, will not make people come here. Sure, it would be nice to have a flash hotel but that's just accomodation. So, now that they are here in their flash new hotel, what are they going to do? A quick look around at some old buildings, a visit to the penguins, then off somewhere else, that's what.

As for you question re the hotel. 1) A hotel of this size is not required here as it will be under utilised 95% of the time. 2) It's overpowering in size and stature and would not fit in anywhere in Dunedin. Queenstown or CHCH maybe. 3) Said hotel will be built from overseas investment and that's the same place profits will go, overseas. 4) As with the Chinese garden, it's likely to be built with overseas labour and dare I say, staffed mostly by them too. Need I go on? [abridged]

Stick to the Choral Society

DaveM - I don't "make up" percentages, I take a reasonable guess at them.  From the online poll on here (and yes I know they are hardly a highly accurate measurement, but a general guide), and going by the many people I have talked to about this, I would estimate around 70% support the hotel going ahead.

It does annoy me that people like EJ get their 'argument' published on the site, when their 'argument' is all based on their very old-fashioned bias against tall buildings.  For goodness sake, what next - banning all rock music because that is just way too raunchy for Dunedin?

As I have said - provide arguments for why you are against investment, job creation, new buildings - not just an argument based on "height".

Lastly - I have to laugh at the very few I have met in my work who are against the hotel, in every single case - they didn't actually know where the hotel was going, and believed the council was paying for it.  Sigh. [abridged]

Speaking candidly

GW, I made the comment about your user name. I apologise for getting ad hominem. You will appreciate that ej k is well known and highly regarded. For that reason, I took exception to your comment 'let history record their names', because it was a bit, well, Joe McCarthy. Well done for giving detail about yourself. All that folk know about ffolkes is that he's a Coaster who worked up north, has family here and liked Chinn Wagg.


ffolkes caught the scam(silent p) humming better than 70% of the chorus "better get back to the woods/ well I quit those days and my redneck ways/ and oh the change is gonna do me good"

The hotel

GW_Scam continues to make up percentages and could have another career compiling election results in West Africa. There is no valid evidence that 70% of residents support the hotel. What is known is that the number of submissions against this project were a record for any application in the past two decades.

QsRC's references to the ‘anti anything brigade' are similarly unfounded. I am against the hotel as proposed but didn't protest or submit against the stadium, wind farms, and however many other controversial issues. It is a narrow view that portrays things in such a black and white way.

‘It's too tall' is a simplistic way of summarising the building's lack of sympathy with the scale of other structures and the human scale of our built environment (something being rediscovered in Christchurch), as well as the way it will dominate, obscure, and detract from both urban and natural views in much of the city. If ‘glitzy' is a reference is to an old-fashioned 1980s style then this is worth complaining about, as the building is so large that the wider city will be significantly characterised by it.

The ratio of land value to building value suggests that lower-rise alternatives likewise providing jobs and investment could also be viable. Compromise would be welcome, but in this respect the developers have drawn a line in the sand.

Opponents should move

Speedfreak, I take great exception to your comments that say people arguing for the hotel should just move. It is by far the exact opposite - if you don't want Dunedin to move ahead, if you don't wan't a flash hotel, if you don't want positivity - you move. Dunedin has one big problem - people like you.

The reason I am fighting to support the hotel is because I care about Dunedin surviving and moving ahead. I care about Dunedin's youth who desperately need jobs. I care about putting Dunedin on the international map - no the hotel isn't the only thing needed, but boy will it attract others to invest here!

You, on the other hand, just want things to stay the same. I am guessing you have no children here, so couldn't care less about the youth of Dunedin. I am guessing you are rolling in money, so couldn't care less about struggling businesses who need this possibly huge boost to their future income.

I have sons and daughters here, they need and want a positive future life in Dunedin, and I won't let people like you try and ruin that hope to suit your own means. You still haven't said why you are against the hotel. [abridged]



Honky Chateau

Following the Morgan shock, there are reports from Canterbury of an impending pussy riot. Batoned police are practising their old chant of "Get Back Honky Cat!"

No good reason to oppose?

Despite me asking twice now for the opponents to give valid arguments against the hotel, they have failed to do so.

You are now sinking to smart alec comments about my name, wow - great debating skills.

So on my side (in regards to my, and an estimated minimum of 70% of other Dunedin residents support of the hotel) I have: Job creation in the construction and then servicing of the hotel. Many millions of dollars spent within Dunedin on the construction of and servicing of the hotel. Increase in quality high income visitors to Dunedin. A landmark of height for an otherwise very boring and bland Dunedin skyline.

On the opponents' side they have 'It's too tall, it's glitzy, it's from the Chinese' - and now best of all, we don't like your username.

As they say - I rest my case.

Dreams and aspirations

Seems to me that GW_Scam and Qsrc aren't that happy living in quiet quaint little ole Dunners and are hell bent on changing things for their own agendas.

Here's the thing, most of us still here have been here most of our lives. While some have been away and returned, the point is we are still here. Why is that you may ask? Why we are still here or have left and returned is because we like the place as is.

We don't need you telling us what we need here. We have forty years of debt and little cash flow left from the last harebrained schemes that were said to be of benefit to us.

If you two want to live in a go ahead, happening place, I suggest that you shift elsewhere as Dunedin never will be that place, no matter what you build or how much is spent. [abridged]


The Cabal

Let history record their names? Most are noms de plume. You may address ej but ej can only call you Mister Scam.

What Gareth Morgan thinks of cats

Many will save technical debate for Environment Court especially while the applicant delivers such poor information and briefs of evidence at the resource consent hearings. Roll on their manufacture to the council hearings committee for 15 February. Smile.

$100M "investment" a fallacy?

Some people talk of $100M investment in our city . . . that may well be what they are spending but how much of it will be seen locally and how much of it is imported Chinese materials and labour?

Check out what could be landing at Port Chalmers on this video

I don't think so

MikeStk, I think GW_Scam is not referring to himself/herself as a scam, rather Global Warming.

Crane vs balloon

Methinks a certain contributor is a bit out of touch with the reality of costings and transport logistics if they believe the hire of a 100m crane to be a simple cost-effective solution compared with a tethered balloon or (supposedly) "expensive" computer graphics.  Nuff said.

Difficulty reading?

From ej kerr's comments, and another late commenter, it appears they either struggle with the ability to read, or at least comprehend what they have read.

I clearly stated I have absolutely no connection to the hotel, not even indirectly. For the other commenter who said I "have a problem with new cars and cellphone towers" - again, reading problem? I asked if people like yourself have a problem with them, as you seem to have a problem with anything modern or new coming to Dunedin.

I get the feeling the hotel owners are now looking at pulling out with their offer of a $100 million dollar investment because of the negative backward-thinking people as demonstrated on here.

I say let history record these people's names, and as Dunedin dies a slow miserable death over the next decade when any other business investors now shake their heads at Dunedin being a possibility for investment, let the people hold these destroyers of confidence to account.

By the way, still waiting for your debate points against the hotel. [abridged]

Simple . . .

Do you think you can just call Titan and say "gidday mate can I borrow your Demag AC-100 for a couple of days?" The answer: Sure that's $250 an hour, plus $65 an hour for a driver, plus a $2500 security bond, what's your address for the invoice russandbev? Oh and the crane is on site in Christchurch and will be available in September, how's that sound?

Then there is the $120 an hour for photography.

Yes erect a crane on site very very simple.

Or fill a balloon with helium and tie it down, hmmm sounds kinda simple and cheap!

A scam

Elizabeth - GW_Scam describes him or herself as a scam, I think they should be treated as they expect with the appropriate bucket of salt.


During the 1960's I attended an alpine climbing course. As a consequence of that, I was privy to a private discussion in which a concept foreign to me was put across; namely, that in an emergency it was better to risk doing the 'wrong' thing, rather than doing nothing. 

I think we have suffered a decade, at least, of councils and local entrepreneurs who have grasped at all 'opportunities' in seeming desperation, usually as solutions to problems which only they seem capable of perceiving. I live in Dunedin, as an oasis of sanity in an increasingly insane, trivia fixated and impressionable world. That sanity is, or ought to be, assured by the fact that we are less likely to be swayed by every transient fad which sweeps the country. Call it conservatism if you like. I currently have Australian relatives staying in Dunedin, medium term. A constant refrain over-there, is the extent to which Asian investment has bought-up large in their own country. That is not a side-swipe at anyone Asian, it is a recognition that many people do not like the way they do business.

However, the last decade has seen our Council and business community, grasping at entrepreneurial straws, and generally with disastrous results. At the same time navel-gazing, and spectacularly little to arrest the situation has seen much business activity move out of Dunedin. This proposed hotel, will be 'Las Vegas Writ Large' on a cityscape which is patently unsuited to it. Yes, we may emulate those overseas cities which have already capitulated to the lure of Asian capital, and join all the other world centres which have lost their essential identities. By doing that, we give the supposedly affluent Chinese middle class less, not more, reason to visit our city, especially in view of its geographic location.

When all points-of-difference have been snuffed out and our skyline gives off an aura of superficial glitziness due to multiple skyscrapers, we will suddenly wake up to the fact that their presence has proved to be of no benefit whatsoever to Joe Public, that the re-routing at ratepayer expense of streets, and other access facilities has not deterred the invaders, who will be clamouring for ever 'more', once we have shown ourselves to be a 'soft-touch'', and that, instead of being better off, we are actually far worse off, while our real opportunities for betterment have winged their ways off elsewhere, due to our stultifying lack of imagination and the fact that we seem to have have an unerring propensity, for backing 'losers'.

Does that answer your question 'GW-Scam'? [abridged]

A simple solution

It took less than a minute to find the solution to what 97m looks like and maybe I can assist the hearing panel.  We don't need expensive computer graphics, we certainly don't need a hovering helicopter, or a tethered balloon.  All that is needed is to hire a crane with an arm that can extend to this height, and from my simple google search I find that a Demag AC-100 which is available apparently in Dunedin from Titan Cranes has a main boom and extension length of 102m.  Park the thing on site for as long as it is needed to take the shots from wherever the panel wants them and take it away again.  Simple?

Knackered at Strangeways

I have never heard of Betterways Ltd, but once worked for Strangeways. Couldn't get out of the place fast enough.

Stick to the point

I remember the debate regarding the stadium turning into a debate about libraries, pools, musems etc. Now this debate is apparantly about "new cars", cell phone tower etc. If GW_Scam has a problem with these what exactly does that have to do with this issue? I think he or she should "stick to the point".


Impersonating naked authority

Maybe GW_Scam is Betterways Advisory Ltd, or in their pay. Or maybe she/he is the CE of the local Chamber of Commerce or that of Tourism Dunedin. No wait, it's the mayor - or the red carpet talking. Either way, exhibits none of the arguments for viable business planning, contemporary architectural design or good urban design in a planned city. Shocking non-comprehension. Scam is right.

Debating with no points?

Ian Smith, the problem I have with your comments is the same I have with other opponents of the hotel.  You are arguing against it with no actual points of reason.

Being "too high" and "too flash" are not valid points.  If they were we could also argue against anything modern - let's stop new cars, broadband, cellphone towers, etc.  After all they are too flash, and in some cases too high - surely?

Speedfreak - "Ian Smith for council"?  Oh boy, shows the mentality of the opponents I guess 'Lets have a council that stops everything - the perfect representatives of the negative residents of Dunedin.'

Anyway - come on Ian, Speed and others - lets have a real debate, you tell me one good reason against the hotel, I will tell you five for it.  Up for the challenge, or is that too modern and 'flash' for you too?

(BTW I have no connection with the hotel, tourism or anything related.  But I am 100% behind moving Dunedin forward).  [abridged]


The voice of sense and reason

Ian Smith for council? I would vote for that.


@GW_Scam: Most of the benefits which you claim would be delivered to Dunedin by this hotel, were also claimed for its disastrous predecessor, by mostly the same people, and for mostly the same reasons . . . and look where that got us; a city in which real enterprise which could have worked to the city's benefit, has been stifled indefinitely, (and don 't think merely in terms of years, think instead, decades). And, to top it all, the same people who were happy to crawl back into the woodwork and avoid undue attention post the Stadium being foisted upon us, preach to us once again their doomsday scenario of a Dunedin deprived of their latest aberrations of the power of rational thought. The plea seems to be 'give-us-another-chance', we'll get it right, next time......Yeah Right!

Most of the tall buildings mentioned by GW_Scam have something going for them. This piece of generic 'architecture of expediency' has nothing whatever to commend it. I also hotly dispute GW_Scam's contention that only a minority is against this latest entrepreneurial brainstorm. There may be a concession by many that a five-star hotel, devoid of 'barbs', in a generally approved of setting which doesn't dominate, but instead complements Dunedin without robbing it of its essential 'points-of-difference' might not be a bad thing. But, please do not re-jig that sentiment to suit your own ends, as blanket approval.