$300,000 spent on dispute

The Dunedin City Council has so far spent $300,000 defending a challenge in the High Court by a Dunedin businessman over a roading dispute, but the true costs are likely to be much higher.

Transport and crane business owner Doug Hall successfully obtained a High Court injunction in August last year after he argued the realigned State Highway 88 near the Forsyth Barr Stadium had created a dangerous access situation to and from his Anzac Ave yard.

The highway realignment was constructed to go around the Forsyth Barr Stadium in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

The council has subsequently accepted it erred by failing to notify Mr Hall, as an affected party, during the original land designation process undertaken before the realignment was constructed.

At a hearing, in late April, the council backed down and came to an agreement with Mr Hall that the temporary arrangement at Anzac Ave remain in place until either a redesignation was complete and Mr Hall had exhausted his appeal rights, or there was a further order from the court in relation to any application for an alternative temporary access arrangement.

The council has started the redesignation process, which is expected to take at least a year.

The judge ordered Mr Hall and the council to file costs submissions in relation to all the court action.

Council general manager, operations, Tony Avery said the council's costs reflected the "extensive" attempts made by it to find an acceptable solution to the issues raised by Mr Hall.

"Unfortunately, those attempts were unsuccessful."

The transportation operations department would bear the $300,000 costs so far incurred from within its own budget, as it would any costs the judge ordered the council to pay Mr Hall.

He said the department had a certain amount of funding for these sorts of contingencies, but not to the full extent of what it had cost, and would just have to manage the costs against other pressures on its budget.

Mr Hall has filed a submission to the court seeking several hundred thousand dollars in costs.

The outcome of that is not expected to be known for several months.

The new designation process was expected to cost slightly more than the original process as it would be fully publicly notified this time, Mr Avery said.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz


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