Backers hopeful of 'way forward' for hotel

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.
A major step forward for Dunedin's $100 million waterfront hotel project could be imminent following a marathon meeting of the Dunedin City Council.

The Otago Daily Times understands key parties involved in the controversial project are poised to make a significant announcement about the project's future, possibly as soon as this morning.

That followed a marathon nine-hour council meeting on Monday, which included more than an hour spent debating the proposed waterfront hotel in the non-public section of the meeting.

Steve Rodgers.
Steve Rodgers.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and councillors remained tight-lipped about the discussion when contacted yesterday, but the meeting's agenda listed the ''waterfront hotel'' as an item for discussion in the closed section.

That could suggest councillors were being updated on Mr Cull's talks with the developers, or that a deal was on the table for councillors to approve.

Several parties confirmed an announcement was imminent, but Mr Cull said yesterday he could not divulge details of Monday's discussions.

Dunedin lawyer Steve Rodgers, representing the developer, Betterways Advisory Ltd, also declined to comment, other than to say he remained ''very optimistic''.

Jing Song.
Jing Song.
''I'm still very optimistic that there's a way forward for the city and obviously for my people.''

Hints of progress came after Betterways director Jing Song, of Queenstown, earlier this month voiced her frustration at the slow pace of talks with the council, and described the hotel as ''a long shot''.

She had expected the next few weeks would be a ''very critical time'' for the project, but remained hopeful an agreement could be reached.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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