Harbourside decision to be considered

The laborious, decade-long process to allow the development of the Dunedin harbourside has ended with a two-page document from the Environment Court.

The document allowed some parts of an appeal from local business on the plan, and dismissed others after a mediation period that lasted two years, and kept the matter from going to a hearing.

The result, as became clear in October last year, was a much-reduced zone for development on the south side of the Steamer Basin, a far cry from the ambitious proposal first announced.

Discussion of the plan to attract cafes, bars and apartments to a harbourside area with public spaces, walkways and tree-lined boulevards began as far back as 2001, but serious planning began in 2005, when the council initiated a district plan change.

The proposal, described as a 50-year vision, was developed by the council and Port Otago's property investment subsidiary, Chalmers Properties Ltd, which owns much of the land.

In early 2009, the district plan change was approved, following a nine-day hearing in 2008, but in April last year, the council staved off what could have been a bitter Environment Court battle with the city's business community, when it agreed to drop much of stage 2 from the two-stage plan, and businesses agreed to accept stage 1, subject to further negotiation.

Since then, the council has agreed to withdraw the walkway designation, and last October announced it had withdrawn the northern part of the zone.

Judge Jon Jackson said in the document the court made the order by consent, "rather than representing a decision or determination".

Dunedin city councillor Colin Weatherall, who has been involved in the mediation, said this week the decision, which was "entirely as agreed" between the parties, would be presented to the council.

There were two matters related, but not part of mediation still being discussed: a review of the amount of industrial land in Dunedin, and work on parking issues by the Steamer Basin.

The latter was to deal with the issue of commuter parking in the area, that concerned businesses there.

Those would probably result in reports to the council.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz


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