DCC will get 'cracking'

What the proposed waterfront development will look like. Image: Animation Research
What the proposed waterfront development will look like. Image: Animation Research
Dunedin needs to hit the ground running now that funding for the city's waterfront development plan has been approved, the Dunedin City Council's chief executive says.

Sue Bidrose
Sue Bidrose
And, despite the Provincial Growth Fund allocation falling short of the city's request, Dr Sue Bidrose says private sector parties are "still interested".

Dr Bidrose said yesterdaydiscussions had begun on how to deliver stage one of the project "as quickly and efficiently as possible", following Wednesday's announcement the project would receive $19.9million from the fund.

That followed some fresh words of encouragement from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones at Wednesday's announcement, when he suggested new Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins should "hop off your bike, get in the limo and get cracking".

The money would pay for stage one of the project, involving the restoration of sea walls and wharves, and the establishment a new building platform, on the north side of Steamer Basin.

Developments on the southern side of the basin were expected to follow in later stages, as was a further request for financial support from the PGF, should it continue.

Dr Bidrose said she expected to see obvious signs of progress on the waterfront - with consents issued, building partners confirmed and possibly even the first phase of work under way - by this time next year.

The council was also likely to decide within the next month or two on whether a new waterfront development agency - following the example set by Wellington - was needed in Dunedin.

That would ultimately be a decision for councillors, but it might be more useful when development eventually reached the southern side of Steamer Basin, she said.

That stage of the project would involve more developers, private property interests and other parties, making it more complicated, she said.

In the meantime, the council was already working with a panel of external project managers which had been brought in to help improve the council's delivery of major projects, she said.

The panel, which had an office inside the DCC, was already involved in projects like the city's street light upgrade, George St improvements and Mosgiel pool, as well as upskilling council staff, she said.

Plans for the $20million pedestrian and cycling bridge linking the city to the waterfront were also progressing through a NZ Transport Agency business case process.

Wednesday's announcement also meant the University of Otago now had the certainty of a building platform for the Sustainable Futures building, meaning it could begin fundraising for it, she said.

The building was expected to be the first constructed, be a good "showcase" for what the wider development could deliver for the city, "because you've got a group of people who have to go there".

"You've got students coming and going, you've got staff coming and going, and it's got a defined purpose and there's quite a bit of open space at either end of the building as well.

"I think it's got a whole lot of good stuff going for it in terms of beginning the public access," she said.

Private sector developers - including those eyeing a potential hotel and apartment complex on the south side of Steamer Basin - also needed the time between stages one and two to design their buildings, she said.

"That work will proceed even though the money isn't there for the establishment of the building platforms [on the south side], and they are still interested," she said.

In the meantime, the council would be working with Port Otago, the University of Otago and Ngai Tahu to progress stage one, as well as engaging with the Otago Regional Council, as the consenting authority for work to upgrade the area's seawall.



LOL! $19.9m to make all this happen. Less money than the DCC has already committed to building a bridge. This is a classic example of local and national governments, civil servants and politicians milking tax payers money for their own gain. We will never know how many hundreds of thousands dollars has already been spent on this before a single physical action actually takes place on the harbour.

-"as quickly and efficiently as possible"-

Well, let's just hope good planning and 'efficient' use of the money is utilised. Based on the recent history of other projects around the city, less rush might be a good plan to start with.
Focus on sticking to a budget might be another thought.

"discussions had begun on how to deliver stage one of the project".
Those 'discussions' should have already been done.
This smacks of incompetence and will likely result in the money being misappropriated and being spent on 'consultancy' costs and not what it was mean't to be spent on.

I'd love to see many facilities in Dunedin improved but a fancy bridge and hotel isn't a top priority for me and most residents. Has anyone from this project actually spent time walking in the area on a windy day? - there's a reason it's popular with windsurfers and the yachting club, doh!