$20m street plan backed by council

Richard Saunders. Photo: ODT
Richard Saunders. Photo: ODT

After three days of debate and deliberations it is now up to Dunedin residents to decide if they agree with the ambitious new vision for the city put forward in the Dunedin City Council’s draft long-term plan.

There will be rates rises - 6.9% in 2018-19 - and more debt, but the payoff will be a city with a new design for its central business district and campus area, and an architecturally designed bridge that could drive the redevelopment of the long-neglected habourside area.

City council reporters David Loughrey and Tim Miller report on the final day.

A plan to spend $20 million revitalising the streets in Dunedin's tertiary precinct has the backing of the city council.

Dunedin city councillors voted yesterday to include the spending in the draft 10-year plan, as well as a more moderate option to spend $11.3 million.

It comes on the back of the council voting on Tuesday to include a $60 million project to rejuvenate the central city area.

Both options will be included in a public consultation process starting in February.

Council transport group manager Richard Saunders said the purpose of the project was to make the area a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists but at the time make it a destination.

The work would focus on Albany St, Clyde St, Union St East and Harbour Terrace and include areas around both the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic.

If the $20 million option was included in the final plan, the council would have more scope to work on areas outside of those designated, Mr Saunders said.

There was also the potential of funding from both the university and the polytechnic and the NZ Transport Agency.

As well as the safety upgrades, the work would include an improved streetscape in the area with urban planting and street and public art work, he said.

Almost all councillors supported the proposal being included in the draft plan, at least as part of the public consultation process.

Cr Chris Staynes supported the most expensive option as he wanted to see the immediate campus area transformed into a pedestrian-friendly destination.

''I support the higher option because it will enhance the potential to attract good staff and good students into the area and therefore build our reputation as a city of knowledge.''

Cr Vandervis said he doubted the university would contribute as much as had been indicated and the cost of the project would fall on residents outside the campus area.

''It will be the ratepayers of the outlying suburbs who will be paying for the upgrade of the university area while their own footpaths and streets are crumbling.''

Mayor Dave Cull said the university had already invested millions of dollars in upgrading the area and the council needed to play its part.

''You only have to walk around the north end of the campus and on Castle St to see how much the university has already contributed to this issue.''

Cr O'Malley said while he supported the $20 million option being put out for consultation, he wanted to recognise Dunedin was not just confined to the centre city and the tertiary area.

''I think we have to remember we have areas not included in this spending, specifically South Dunedin, which is as much part of the city as those areas we are discussing.''

The council voted 14-1 to include the $20 million option. Only Cr Vandervis voted against it.


-Additonal reporting by David Loughrey


Increasing the amount of 'pubic artwork' sounds interesting and might be suitable for the university precinct, but it is probably not something in which the DCC is likely to invest.