An artist's drawing of the planned cube.
Plans for a $45 million revamp of the Dunedin Town Hall
and Dunedin Centre, with a centrepiece cube-shaped glass
entrance, received almost unanimous support from the Dunedin
City Council yesterday.
A full council meeting voted in favour of the revised
proposal, despite the last-minute arguments of Cr Neil
Collins, who believed the project should be "parked".
The project was announced last Wednesday, after six years of
The latest design follows public consultation that heard
opposition to a previous design that included an atrium over
Cr Collins told the meeting he would support the project once
the decision was made, but still believed its cost - between
$45 million and $47 million - meant it should be
He believed the project was one that could be deferred for a
few years, to ease the financial burden at a time of economic
"This is a big-ticket item - a really big-ticket item.
"With so much money involved at this time, this is one
project which could well have been parked for a few years,
and come back to," Cr Collins said.
He also questioned the "visually unattractive" design for the
town-hall redevelopment, arguing there were "better
opportunities for this amount of money for the city".
The cost of the project had risen from as little as $7
million when first suggested, to at least $45 million now, he
Another option was to find a new home for the city's central
library, and use the old library building as a conference
centre, he said.
Supporting the proposal, Kate Wilson said: "I think it's
going to be a huge asset for the city."
Cr Chris Staynes said his only concerns were ratepayers'
ability to fund it.
He had asked whether the project could be done in stages, so
safety work required by government legislation could be done
first, and the rebuilding of the Glenroy Auditorium later, to
He had been assured, however, that was not possible, and
would end up costing more.
Cr Staynes also noted with the stadium under way, and the
council facing the essential town hall work, the result
"perhaps" would be unaffordable for some ratepayers.
Cr Bill Acklin said the design would not affect the
building's facade, a clear wish of the community.
"That has been achieved," he said.
Cr Fliss Butcher said it was a "really exciting project" that
demonstrated the council's commitment to the city's heritage,
and had the support of many ratepayers.
"Let's just get on with it," she said.
The meeting voted to approve the plan and endorse a timetable
that involved seeking tenders for construction by the end of
Cr Collins voted against, and Cr Paul Hudson abstained.
Town hall: Existing entrance removed and replaced with
cube-shaped glass entrance, refurbished or replaced seating
in auditorium, safety work for fire and other regulations,
infrastructure overhaul, air conditioning.
Dunedin Centre: Extended into Municipal Chambers to add
Glenroy Auditorium: Gutted and retro-fitted, new lifts,
stairs, performance and conference areas, movable stage, air
Harrop St: Car-park area to be turned into public space,
street closed to through traffic, taxi waiting area to move
to upper Stuart St.
Budget: Within $45 million.
Timing: Expected to begin early next year and hoped to be
finished within two years.