Waterfront bridge on council’s list

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.
A bridge to Dunedin’s waterfront is likely to be up for discussion during the Dunedin City Council’s budget hearings next year, after a fresh call to end long-running "inertia" over the area’s development.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said  yesterday he remained in favour of a pedestrian/cycleway bridge to the waterfront as a way of encouraging redevelopment of the harbourside.

And while long-running talk of development had amounted to nothing, Mr Cull suggested progress could be just around the corner.

The DCC and Otago Regional Council planned to hold a series of meetings beginning later this month, and the bridge project had "a fairly good chance" of being considered during the council’s long-term plan budget hearings next year, Mr Cull said.

He was in favour of advancing the project as long as the cost was shared with other stakeholders, such as the NZ Transport Agency.

"Personally, I think a bridge has got to go in, in order to enable the subsequent developments to happen," Mr Cull said.

"I’m very much in favour of that. It’s critical."

His comments came after waterfront development advocate Angus Mackay, in an article  published in yesterday’s Otago Daily Times, called for more progress to end the sense of "inertia" in the area.

After years of talk, the DCC and ORC needed to be more proactive — beginning by reinstating a city-to-harbourside bridge in the council’s LTP "as a minimum commitment", he reckoned.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said yesterday he also remained in favour of waterfront development, which represented "a fantastic opportunity" for the city.

The ORC and DCC would meet later this month, and again in August with representatives from the University of Otago and Port Otago, to discuss a way forward, Mr Woodhead said.

"We need to find some way to get a start," he said.

Any development needed to be "at Dunedin’s scale, in Dunedin’s timeframe", but new cycleways or other form of public space in the area could be a "crucial" starting point.

"I think we need to forget about hotels — the commercial world will deal with that."

Mr Cull said the key was for projects to progress in the right order, encouraged — but not all paid for — by the council.

The city also had to ensure there was sufficient demand from people in the area to use any new space, and that it was accessible.

That was the difference between Dunedin and a city like Wellington, which had "a wonderful waterfront and, only a street away, they’ve got thousands of workers", he said.

He questioned whether Dunedin had the same demand, and the same accessibility, given the main trunk railway line divided the waterfront from the rest of the city. But a bridge over the railway line could help change that, he suggested.

"There’s a whole lot of variables at play. Some of them we don’t even have control of, but people can rest assured that the long-term vision is to develop the area," he said.



Very few businesses in Dunedin or elsewhere would survive with only pedestrian or cycle access. Even bike shops have new stock delivered by trucks! At some point the Greens pro bike mania has to align to reality. If this missing link is really the only thing stopping development in the area then it needs to be a proper vehicle link, not just for bikes.
Personally, I think the impediments to development center more around land ownership and DCC's anti development attitude.



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