Accusations as extension for plan approved

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
Accusations of political manipulation and incompetence have been strongly countered during a debate on the delay of Dunedin's new district plan.

Councillors voted to extend the deadline on the Dunedin City Council's second generation plan at a full council meeting yesterday.

The final plan will now be released some time before November 16, but likely before November 7, so the appeal period would be completed by the end of the working year.

Only Cr Lee Vandervis voted against extending the deadline.

Cr Vandervis said there was no justification for the extra time, given councillors had already approved a 12-month extension last year.

He also suggested the new date was a political decision and ratepayers would be too busy and preoccupied with Christmas to fully engage with the appeal process.

''I'm not claiming its been deliberate, but I am saying in terms of us being transparent and in terms of us as an organisation giving the public fair notice, that this timing is really really unfair.''

His criticism of the process was fiercely rejected by Mayor Dave Cull.

Assuming the delay was caused by incompetence or laziness was profoundly ignorant, Mr Cull said.

''I happen to know that both the commissioners and the staff involved in this have been doing horrendous hours, 60 hours a week right through weekends for weeks to get this done.''

It would be ''idiotic'' to cut short the process just so it could fit within a timeline which was predicted a year ago, he said.

Earlier in the meeting, acting chief executive Sandy Graham told Cr Vandervis the delay was due to the commissioners still finalising their deliberations.

Any questions about the delay needed to be answered by David Collins, Ms Graham said.

Otago property developer Alan Dippie, who has been critical of the plan and the process, said he was disappointed the council had voted to allow the extension but the timing of its release was not all that important.

''The reality is for most people this goes over their heads a bit so whether it goes public before Christmas or whenever isn't too much of an issue.''

While Mr Dippie said he was not ''holding his breath'' on the release of the final plan he would approach it with an open mind.

Council city development manager Anna Johnson said any part of the plan which were not appealed technically became operative and replaced the corresponding rules in the current plan.

Comments

If the DCC are blaming David Collins maybe you should ask him about the delay!
It would also be nice to know how much money has been spent so far on this plan and what benefits can the rate payers expect from it. I personally would like to see rate payers money spent on services and infrastructure not on meetings, consultations, reports, plans, marketing and paper pushing. If legal obligations need to be met then get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible then get on with the job of trying to improve the lives of the people of Dunedin.

Yet again Cull is out to undermine fair comments/criticisms from an elected official, all because he has a personality clash with Lee.