Backlash delays sale of car park

Tony Avery
Tony Avery
A South Dunedin community backlash has forced the Dunedin City Council to delay its decision on the sale of a public car park, after the bungled process infuriated both a theatre and the area's business association.

Council acting chief executive Tony Avery said while tenders for the property closed yesterday, no decision would be made ''for a week or two''.

Southern Wide Real Estate, tasked with selling the property, has admitted making a mistake in not notifying those affected, and apologised.

The Mayfair Theatre learnt on Monday a neighbouring public car park on the corner of King Edward St and Cameron St used by patrons was for sale, with tenders closing in four days.

The issue followed anger from Caledonian Bowling Club members, who last Friday learnt the council is to sell the Andersons Bay Rd land on which the 135-year-old club sits.

The council plans to sell up to 150 plots of surplus land and property over the next two to three years in a move expected to raise about $10 million, targeted for paying off debt.

South Dunedin Business Association president Jane Orbell said the organisation had ''considerable concern'' about the issue.

At council annual plan submission hearings for several years, the association had raised concerns parking was becoming ''an increasing problem'' in South Dunedin, and had urged a more strategic approach to developing longer-term parking options.

''The loss of any council-owned land in South Dunedin, albeit not optimally located in relation to retail activity at present, is short-sighted in the extreme,'' Ms Orbell said.

Business people in the area could not understand why the council was selling the land.

''The council has been talking about if and when we get our library, and there is a continuous problem with parking out here,'' Ms Orbell said.

When the council made alterations to beautify the main street, the association had asked for more policing of parking.

''That hasn't been happening regularly enough to stop people parking all day on 120-minute parks.''

The association ''wants some consultation'', she said.

Mr Avery said he had received the concerns of the Mayfair.

The council had also received ''other emails and comments from people'', including from the business association.

''What I've said is we won't make any decision on whether to proceed with the sale or not till we've properly considered those, which will take a week or two.''

The sale had been delegated to chief executive Sue Bidrose, who returns from leave next week, Mr Avery said. The decision would be ''up to the chief exec''.

Southern Wide has responded to criticism from the council about its lack of communication with those near the car park.

Mayor Dave Cull said earlier this week the company had been instructed to inform the Mayfair the car park was going on the market, but had not done so.

Asked why the estate agency should have that role, Mr Cull said the agent was being paid to market and sell the property.

''I would like to know why it has not been carried out.''

Southern Wide commercial sales agent Terry Senior said the council did ask the company to ''let them [the Mayfair] know early that it was for sale''.

That had not been done, he said.

''We've taken that on the chin and apologised.''

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