Harbour development would return millions, assessments say

Sue Bidrose
Sue Bidrose
The development of Dunedin’s waterfront could deliver a major economic boost for the city, creating hundreds of new jobs and boosting tourist spending by $38 million a year, economic assessments have found.

The assessments by consultant Beca were contained in documents supporting Dunedin’s bid for Provincial Growth Fund money in late 2018.

The bid for $103 million, later revised down to $44 million, eventually resulted in the city being awarded $19.9 million for stage one in October last year.

The assessments were among a bundle of information released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment yesterday, following an official information request by the Otago Daily Times.

One of the economic assessments showed the wider development plan was expected to generate about 1750 ‘‘sustained’’ jobs once finished, including those associated with a hotel planned as part of the development.

That was in addition to the 740 construction jobs expected to be created during the project’s development phase, which was scheduled to last up to 15 years.

The finished product could also deliver a 5% boost to the number of tourists coming to Dunedin, adding an extra $38 million a year to the city’s annual visitor spend.

Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said yesterday the figures remained the best estimate of economic impact arising from the development, and highlighting some of the benefits of pursuing the project.

‘‘We’ve got some of the prime waterfront spots in town that are currently wasteland.

‘‘Making those part of the city that’s a very attractive place to be is appealing.

What the proposed waterfront development will look like. Image: Animation Research
One vision of the proposed waterfront development. Image: Animation Research
‘‘But also, economic development and having the city continue to thrive and grow — that’s appealing as well.’’

Estimates of private and public sector investment required — including by the council — to make the development a reality had been redacted from some documents, while others were withheld.

The documents did show the council was, in late 2018, set to sign a secret agreement with an unnamed party to build the hotel envisaged as part of the development.

The deal included an agreement to keep its existence, and the identity of the developer, under wraps until such time as a resource consent had been obtained.

Dr Bidrose said yesterday the agreement was still to be signed, as the hotel was part of stage two of the development, but was ‘‘close’’.

The indicative business case, also prepared by Beca, outlined plans for the creation of a new urban development agency, and noted a private sector developer could lead the wider development.

Dr Bidrose said the agency was likely not to be needed until stage two, but that would be a decision for councillors in the near future.

Among ‘‘strategic risks’’ identified in the documents were difficulties amalgamating land titles, which could lead to delays and higher acquisition costs.

Other high-level technical risks were also noted, including the potential for building platform costs to rise, requiring increased funding from the council.

Dr Bidrose said the risk to council finances was controlled, as the council was only committed to paying for its share of the $20 million waterfront bridge and the kind of public space improvements it would usually invest in.

Any additional spending would require a council resolution to be added to the council’s budget, she said.

The $19.9 million allocated from the PGF would pay for stage one of the project, involving the restoration of sea walls and wharves and a building platform on the north side of Steamer Basin, for the sustainable futures building.

Developments on the southern side of the basin would follow in stages two and three, as would a further request for PGF money, should it continue.

Obvious signs of progress — consents issued, building partners confirmed and possibly even early work under way — were expected by late this year.



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Hold on !!!
What about climate change !!!
What about rising sea levels !!!
What about those evil carbon belching sea going monsters. We don't want those.
What about the evils of flying all those old white people to our country, overcrowding our beauty spots and roads. They should be holidaying at home.
What about all the carbon producing concrete and steel that is need for such a project.
Surely our DCC can NOT be asking government for money, for a project like that !!!
It's based on everything that needs to stop; to save the planet !!!
Surely NOT !!!
That would be hypocritical, wouldn't it ???
Free push bikes for all, would be so much more appropriate.
Housing prices are already to high without encouraging more people to come and no one has even mentioned the climate change refugees yet.

Would you like a nice lectern?

Put this project to a referendum! The DCC is not competent in spending our rates on large projects- think stadium. I have no issues if it is a private project, but not with my rates.

The stadium is a success story. It is batting above its weight with hundreds of millions added to the economy.
People need to look at the big idea of adding tourists and increasing the population. Too much doom and gloom against the Council in Dunedin. There was some corruption going on, that was well and truly recterfided, time for Dunedin to let that go and focus on the future not the past.
Take a look at Dunedin property prices now above Christchurch. The average house in Christchurch on average is a lot better than Dunedin. That hasn't occured by accident, it is a result of investment and sorry yo say but investment cost dollars.
Everyone is happy their house prices are higher but don't want to hamstring the Council at every turn calling foul but still want investment and population growth at the same time.
Referendum you call for but then you'll jump up and down when the bill for ot comes in if the result doesn't suit your view point.
Vandervis isnt mayor for the reason that the majority view hom as a problem maker not a problem solver. He is not the mayor and everyone who wanted him need to back off.

Correction. Wanting to hamstring the council...

Property owners are happy. That's all.

You say "The stadium is a success story." so why are ratepayers are still paying for it at the expence of power and water infrastructure? Fact is, the financials are incredibly hard to decipher due to all the 'hidden' facts and shady deals.
You say "The average house in Christchurch on average is a lot better than Dunedin. That hasn't occured by accident, it is a result of investment". I think you will find all the money went to CHCH for the earthquake repairs. Precious little has been invested here at all.
House prices have gone up virtually all over the country, and in fact, all over the world. Dunedin is a mess of potholes, leaning power poles, rubbish in the streets and stifling traffic design.
What Dunedin does have is stunning NATURAL BEAUTY. That's what the tourists come here to see. Our percieved talents at making so called "nesessary frills" are unwarranted. We should be looking after what we have. Imagine millions put into cleaning the place up, modern public transport, smooth roads, cleared drains and a rubbish system that works, rather than a huge 'cockle shell for the elite in concrete'. Let NATURE draw in the crowds and let us be proud of the fact we live here.

'Estimates of private and public sector investment required...had been reacted.' Because once again the ratepayers are being asked to put their faith and money into another project that will make 'millions'. I'm all for development but some honesty from the council wouldn't go amiss given their previous claims for the financial rewards of projects....one in particular springs to mind.

Dr Bidrose once again being a master of understatement and obfuscation. DCC risks are far from contained. She asserts that DCC need only contribute to the bridge and other "normal" public space assets.
The current public space in that area is basic at best. Dunedin cannot afford another $60 million or so be squandered creating more pedestrian and bike friendly spaces down by the wharf. Particularly when $60 mill has already been committed to the George St destruction. And if council must contribute to a pedestrian and bike bridge, does it need to be an edifice of ego and pomposity? Or could a bridge be build for a third of the $20 million?

Further, DCC under Mr Cull was notorious for doing secret sweetheart deals with developers. Several times preferred developers were given deals to develop car parks and other council land without public tenders or oversight. I had hoped a new council would be more open and ensure they were less likely to be accused of dubious dealings and potential corruption. Sadly that seems to not be the case.

A lot of people are jumping up and down not wanting to hamstring the Council at every step and do not want infrastructure investment. Then on the flip side if their house price wasn't increasing they would be shouting from the roof tops poor me.
The stadium has pulled on hundreds of millions to the city, if there wasnt the art / good looking city / things to do the visitors would only stay one night and be on the next plane. Dunedin is now a tourist destination and people stay here longer spending more dollars invigorating the economy.
Appealing infrastructure costs money to build but no one wants to spend it but wants the results. If you keep complaining you will be right because the council is screwed either way. If you actually want progress, you need to be will to pay the dollars.
Put the rates up $500 p/y across all the properties here and then well see progress.
$500 a year extra brings jobs for our children, higher wages for ourselves and a lot higher house prices and jobs that need to be done arent attracting as much interest payments.
Time to break a few eggs to make the cake.

Correction. Wanting to hamstring...

The only problem with this idea is that Dunedin has a high proportion of elderly citizen ratepayers. Many of whom are on fixed incomes. DCC has already foisted rate increases far above inflation for the past few years and forecast more of the same for the future. This is making Dunedin a less attractive place to live - house prices here are only rising because people are escaping Auckland with its even higher prices.

Sorry but this administration simply can't be trusted to manage ratepayer money efficiently. DCC has a storied record of waste, duplicated effort, building infrastructure 3 and 4 times - see Portland Drive to Anderson road bike way as an example.
No, DCC are already collecting enough money, they are just spending it on too many vanity projects.

I think you may be putting the cart before the horse Kezza. Yes, "Dunedin is now a tourist destination", but it always was, long before the Elephant was built. We don't need another ratepayer funded 'fantasy frill', even in part, let private enterprise deal with it. Tourists are here for the natural beauty of the area and the historic buildings. I talk to tourists often, their first comment is the stunning beauty of Dunedin. Same for the stadium, ratepayers should not have had to pay out for it, especially at the expence of basic infrastructure.
You say, "put up the rates'". But you also complain about your low pay in another comment. Guess what Kezza, take a look at our median income, look at current house prices, look at the condition of infrastructure, then tell me we should all be happy to pay an extra $500 in rates. Many are on fixed incomes. Only those who intend borrowing against their houses, or those who wish to sell benefit from the current round of massive property increases. The rest of us are left with higher rates to pay. DCC get enough rates money, IF they stick to their knitting. Vandervis would have kept a cap on spending and dealt with the cities needs first.

A lot of difference between the words “WOULD” and “COULD”. As for the stadium all I see is Aurora in maintenance trouble with no one held accountable. Of course the ratepayers are a never ending source of money, I don’t think!

This growing city has to expand and a waterfront option is a very good idea... long overdue. BUILD IT!

When core functions are failing, expansion would be the last thing needed. We're not Sydney, we're not Dubai nor Shanghai, we're Dunedin, a place of incredible natural beauty, that's what the tourists are here to see. We don't need fancy shells and bridges to nowhere, nor plastic covered concrete yurts. Our location is the attraction. What we do need is a clean up. Get our power, water, drainage, rubbish, roads, transportation and existing heritage buildings sorted. We don't need more people rushing in adding to the pressure, a steady growth is more managable. The roads are getting crowded, many intersections are chaos. That new hospital is enough of an issue to build for now. What are we learning from places like Auckland and Queenstown? Apparently very little. We have a vibrant enough tourist market, Can we focus on the standard of living here please. If we're not careful.....we'll strangle the golden goose.

"Kezza Wed, 22/01/2020 - 2:00pm #
The stadium is a success story. It is batting above its weight with hundreds of millions added to the economy."
Yes and the ratepayers are still and will be for years to come paying for it !!
Not only that are we not in the midst of a so called climate emergency ?? where sea levels are almost certainly going to rise to catastrophic levels thus rendering the whole waterfront a underwater world. Show me the payback for the ratepayers please.

A secret hotel deal with 'the identity of the developer under wraps until such time as a resource consent had been obtained.'... Hang on, how is that even possible? Bad enough that the council was planning a 'secret deal', but it also seems they planned to get this proposed hotel across the line with a non-notified consent. How else could they keep the developer's identity secret? If so, that's an appalling betrayal of our civic rights.

Anyway, the deal wasn't signed and thank goodness. The world has changed a lot in the past year. The business sector's sick obsession with cashing in on tourism before the fossil fuel runs out and the planet is wrecked is appalling. The true cost of the waterfront development includes the consequences of climate change and, locally, our pressing need for more housing for those who live and work here. That's what we should be building, not another hotel.

Good comment Meg55. For all those in our community slipping back and struggling, where do they fit in with all of this spending and promises? No point building a concrete Ego Shell when we have struggling middle class families and our homeless looking for food parcels. No wonder we have so much stress and anxiety issues, there is too much uncertainty for our residents. We can do better than this....

Will Chris Cover the Waterfront?

And just who will receive this $38 million per year?
The private sector, that's who. Business owners.
Rates are not a tax on income, wages won't increase and living costs are likely to increase for residential rate payers.
So tell me why the private sector shouldn't be footing the total project bill?

We DO NOT NEED any more public debt with no clear return on investment. The council is still dealing with the stadium debt! (Aurora infrastructure budget spent on dividends, was not a very clever idea, was it)

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