Street upgrade proposal 'quite scary'

David Benson-Pope
David Benson-Pope
A proposal to charge some Dunedin businesses up to 10% of the cost of some street upgrades has been questioned by the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

Dunedin City Council planning and environment committee chairman Cr David Benson-Pope floated the idea at last week's annual plan meeting.

If it progressed, a targeted rate could be used to raise extra money from central city businesses and property investors, and possibly even the University of Otago, if they were deemed to benefit from the upgrades.

Chamber chief executive Dougal McGowan said there had been a variety of reactions to the idea from businesses, but it had the potential to become "quite a contentious issue''.

Dougal McGowan.
Dougal McGowan.
He was yet to see any detail behind the idea, but questioned how any charge would be calculated, and where the 10% figure had come from.

"Where's the paper behind this?''

How it would work was unclear.

Mr McGowan was seeking a meeting with Property Council New Zealand representatives in Dunedin to discuss the idea.

"When you hear a number like 10%, it's always quite scary.''

Businesses were already facing rising wage costs and rates bills, and could expect a drop-off in trade when the construction of streetscape improvements began, he said.

"There's a lot of unknowns really. It's going to be a pretty big issue.''

The parties affected would be those deemed to benefit financially from the $60 million central city upgrade and $20 million tertiary upgrade.

The targeted rate would be used to pay only for streetscape improvements - such as new paving and furniture - and not the cost of underground work such as new power cables.

A special consultative procedure (SCP) would be used to give the public - including those expected to pay the extra bill - the chance to have their say.

Councillors at last week's meeting voted 10-2 to note the proposal, which would be considered through the SCP outside the council's annual plan process.


A few weeks ago the council stated their intention to increase parking charges. At the time, I suggested Mayor Cull and his council seemed intent on 'killing off' retail business in the central city....Articles like this only reinforce my opinion.

Using Pope's theory if you are going to take you must also be prepared to give, the Bus Hub businesses are in for a good windfall from the DCC. "if they were deemed to benefit from the upgrades?" - who is the judge? Pope, the DCC, some businesses committee? - Detail behind the idea? the DCC will not have any details behind the idea, they will do as they wish and use the broom to sweep any complaints under the carpet. Oh wait on I'm a cafe I need to pay for the upgrade oh I also need to pay to have some chairs on the foot path. Pope you are an idea's man - if the DCC's thundering good ideas can't afford the upgrade don't expect others to be conned and ripped off because the DCC light bulb moment. It might be time to retire and plant a garden and share the produce with Cull and reminisce about the good old days, because you are one of the grey clouds on the council.

At least get the mans name right.
It's Benson-Pope, not Pope.

Dunners Its Dunedin not 'Dunners' - Respect is earned and not a given, I have respect for a lot of things but Cull, Bidrose and Pope don't have any of my respect and never will because of how they conduct themselves with these thundering bright ideas. They show no respect for the Rate payers of Dunedin

What an excellent idea , I think they should go further and charge hoteliers and the like for the cost of the new stadium and unburden the ratepayers of that liability. Jokes aside this council is on a spending spree, except they're running out of money, so what to do? Think up some lame excuse to charge hard working business people to finance further spending...this is what happens when a largly labour leaning city keeps voting in socialists to council.