Carisbrook and harbour discussions not public

The future of Carisbrook and its surrounding properties are due to come before the Dunedin City Council today, but whether the public will be any the wiser after the meeting remains something of a mystery, due to privacy provisions.

The agenda for the council's meeting, to be held in Middlemarch, includes four items about which there is bound to strong public interest, but all are up for consideration during the non-public part of the meeting.

Apart from an agenda item "ex ORFU properties", which council chief executive Jim Harland confirmed on Saturday was "to do with the future of Carisbrook", there will be discussion on State Highway 88 land purchase, funding for the realignment of State Highway 88, and the harbourside.

For each item, the reason given for the matters to be discussed without the public being present was: "To allow the council to carry on without prejudice or disadvantage [to] negotiations, including commercial and industrial negotiations."

Carisbrook and nearby properties were bought by the council for $7 million from the ORFU last year, and the future of the land, and the council's ability to recoup the money spent, has been a matter of some considerable controversy.

Part of State Highway 88 has to be realigned to take it around the Forsyth Barr Stadium, and in February, the Otago Daily Times reported the council was still waiting to confirm necessary land purchases.

The future of the harbourside is in limbo, after six appeals to the Environment Court to stop the council rezoning industrial land near the Otago Harbour steamer basin to allow it to be used for residential purposes and for bars and cafes.

Asked about the agenda items, Mayor Peter Chin said if the decisions could be released to the public after the meeting they would be.

If a majority of councillors wanted to release the information, then that would happen.

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