Vibrant city should be vital goal for DCC — association

Mike Collins
Mike Collins
Business South is urging the Dunedin City Council to be proactive to ensure the city remains a compelling place to do business.

Tomorrow morning, the business support group’s chief executive Mike Collins is submitting at the council’s 2022-23 annual plan hearing on several topics and issues his group’s members believes will affect businesses over the next 12 months.

Speaking about the group’s submission, Mr Collins said the biggest message the group wanted to convey to the council was that it needed to continue to create a vibrant city to do business in, particularly as labour shortages worsened and cost of doing business kept rising.

The biggest issue for businesses was staffing, both retaining and attracting new labour.

Mr Collins said the council had a role to play in creating a city which attracted and retained people.

It was not just about creating jobs, it was about the "whole ecosystem", he said.

The lack of housing in the city was a big issue and the council needed to make sure resource consenting processes were "simple and quick" to ensure property could be built.

Businesses, particularly those involved in the big infrastructure projects in Dunedin, were buying properties to ensure their staff had short-term accommodation.

Property development companies saw potential in Dunedin, but if the resource consent process was too long they would look elsewhere, Mr Collins said.

"The job is one thing, but you’ve also got to have somewhere to live.

"We have to make sure it is a quick and efficient process," he said.

To make that happen, Mr Collins believed the council needed to work with businesses to understand what they needed.

The council, also in partnership with businesses, should also be looking at ways to promote Dunedin as a great place to live, Mr Collins said.

As the cost of doing business increased in the current inflationary environment, Mr Collins believed the council needed to "pause and think" about the effects of any additional costs it was placing on businesses.

"Look at hospitality and retail, they have been really struggling and we’ve had a lot of businesses hibernate or close up all together ... businesses are struggling with just being able to survive," he said.

Rates increases were an example of what the council could reconsider, Mr Collins said.

Business South’s members also wanted the council to reduce the difference between the commercial rate and residential rate, as the commercial one was 2.46 times greater.

It also wanted the Centre of Digital Excellence and infrastructure opportunities to be included in the economic development plan, Mr Collins said.

Add a Comment