City's industrial land needs to fore

Industrially zoned land in Dunedin is due for some changes.  Pictured is the harbourside...
Industrially zoned land in Dunedin is due for some changes. Pictured is the harbourside industrial area. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Industrially zoned land around Dunedin - and specifically in the central business district - could be in for some radical changes.

Industrially zoned land has been an ongoing issue for decades, and following recent site-specific changes to some former industrial zones, there is rising concern industrial development opportunities could be lost.

In the months ahead, the Dunedin City Council will host a series of consultative workshops to identify issues, ranging from land availability, height restrictions, the controversial ''reverse sensitivity'' element and the potential for introduction of a new ''light industry'' zoning.

Both the DCC and the Otago Chamber of Commerce are aligning on the issue, and are inviting large land-holders, including Port Otago's subsidiary Chalmers Properties, to take part in consultation, alongside communities, businesses and developers.

The trio, largely the chamber and DCC, were pitted against each other during a separate harbourside rezoning plan which prompted lengthy mediation and eventual compromise. The DCC's district plan is 18 years old and the review process is being mooted as a ''second-generation'' district plan, which could have far-reaching implications for decades.

DCC city development manager Dr Anna Johnson said the council wanted stakeholder input on the management of industrial activities, as well as other activities within the industrial zone.

''Some of the issues are general and may be of interest to a range of people, while others are location-specific so may only be of interest to those with property or businesses in these areas,'' Dr Johnson said.

The planning department's ''Industrial Land Needs Study'' final report, of March 2011, identifies in a medium-growth scenario for Dunedin, food and wood product manufacturing, along with support services, would most likely occupy larger allotments. Wood was likely to prefer a rural area.

There was a likelihood petroleum, coal, metal, equipment manufacturing and non-metal products would require less than 1ha allotments near the CBD, while building construction and services - with ''modest'' growth projections - would prefer less than 0.5ha around the CBD and may be expected to locate to Mosgiel or suburbs adjacent to State Highway 1.

''Overall, the conclusions indicate a need for more industrial land, especially around the central city and harbour basin,'' the report said.

Employment data reflects some of the changing uses which Dunedin faces.

Between 2000 and 2009, a total of 1090 people employees were lost in manufacturing; textile, clothing and footwear lost 530; machinery and equipment manufacturing were down 540; and printing lost 270. Total district earnings from manufacturing were down from 15% to 12% of the total.

Food manufacturers now account for 2050, or 39% of the 5150 people in the manufacturing sector, while 1580 metal workers make up 23% of the manufacturing sector.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said it was ''arguable''

the amount of industrially zoned land around Dunedin was shrinking, but noted land for bulk retail in Andersons Bay had been (site-specific) rezoned from industrial.

While there was 216ha of industrially zoned land identified in the 2009 report, he emphasised Middlemarch and Waikouaiti would likely suit few newcomers to Dunedin, and while Mosgiel had a 88ha swathe of land, it too could be unattractive for smaller businesses whose customer base may be around Dunedin's CBD.

''There's just once chance to get this right, which is why we want developers, communities and land-owners involved from an early stage,'' Mr Christie said.

Between an earlier report in 2006 to the latest in 2009, the airport zone had been increased by 270ha, of which 64.5ha is vacant, while construction of the Forsyth Barr Stadium reduced industrial 1 zone land by 5.8ha.

The DCC's industrial land use 2009 report notes

of all the land area zoned industrial, 16% is unusable because of roading and rail networks.

Dr Johnson said issues to be canvassed included whether there was sufficient land available for industrial activities, and if not, where it should be provided.

''Another is whether light industry should be distinguished from heavy industry and be able to operate in `mixed use' zones, for example in parts of the CBD or in the warehouse precinct,'' she said.

Rezoning issues around the CBD were aired in a controversial harbourside plan in recent years, which began almost a decade earlier and ended up in mediation, and a determination by the Environment Court.

A DCC ''vision'' for a 50-year harbourside regeneration plan, on land mainly owned by Chalmers Properties, to attract cafes, bars and apartments was eventually scaled back in late 2011, following heated criticism from some businesses in the area.

The DCC decided to withdraw the part of the controversial harbourside zone, introduced in 2009 after hearings the year before, in blocks north of Fryatt St.

The zone on the southern side of the Steamer Basin, which contracted in size, was retained to allow a mixed-use environment to provide a platform for developers.

Mr Christie understood there remained interest in new enterprises going into the harbourside area, emphasising it was not the oil and gas exploration sector, as many had been speculating.

Available land
Industrially zoned land available around Dunedin at November 2010:

Airport 64.5ha
Dunedin 7.9ha
Fairfield 0.7ha
Green Island 30.1ha
Kaikorai Valley 3ha
Middlemarch 3.3ha
Mosgiel 88.3ha
Port Chalmers 3.9ha
Waikouaiti 2ha

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