Hospital build housing issue identified

Dunedin Hospital project local advisory group convener Pete Hodgson.
Dunedin Hospital project local advisory group convener Pete Hodgson.
Accommodation for the construction workforce required to build the new Dunedin Hospital has been identified as a significant hurdle.

Southern Partnership Group convener and Dunedin Hospital project local advisory group convener Pete Hodgson said he believed  up to 1000 construction workers would be on the job at its peak and it was clear  Dunedin could not provide all of them.

He said it raised concerns about how  enough labour could be found for the project, where the influx of construction labourers would be accommodated and how that would affect the city’s infrastructure.

"It’s one of the issues that is expressly provided for in the local advisory group terms of reference.

"One of the many things that will happen when this hospital rebuild gets under way, is there will be an influx of labour."

Certainly, of the many things that have to be sorted through, gathering the labour is one of them.

"It will be some time before we are ready to tender the main contract because we’ve got to design the hospital, and that itself is a very long task. But when we do tender the hospital, there will be a main tender and several other tenders.

"The main tender will inevitably be international in its scope."

Mr Hodgson said a significant amount of the labour for the Christchurch rebuild came from Ireland, and some of that labour force might shift  to Dunedin to take up work on the hospital project.

Serious thought would have to be given to how the workers would be accommodated, and whether there was sufficient housing and  infrastructure in Dunedin to support their families, he said.

"Does that mean we need to think around bringing forward any social housing programme that was being thought about for the future;  any student residential accommodation that the university was thinking about for the future? Should that be brought forward?

"Do we acknowledge that if the accommodation sector of our local economy is too full, too often, whether or not that then damages Dunedin’s tourism industry?

"There are follow-on issues."

While the situation posed a problem,  the positive side was that it also provided a ‘‘really good economic development story’’ for the accommodation sector in Dunedin, he said.

"We should be pleased about that.

"Where we are at so far is that we are simply identifying these issues. We’re not trying to answer them yet because it’s too soon.

"There’s a bunch of things that the local advisory group can help with, when we have gotten to that. We haven’t gotten to that yet because we’re trying to sort out the site of the rebuild — that’s the most important thing to do."

The group is examining possible sites somewhere between the University of Otago and the Octagon, and is expected to make a recommendation to Health Minister David Clark by the end of March.

Comments

Endless speculation over side issues will only ensure endless delay in the rebuild.
I am more concerned about the services they are going to drop than about where potential builder may live. Already we have been told that the hospital will have fewer beds than would be expected and patients will be supported via in home self care using online systems.
I don't believe it is so hard to pick a site, just buy the Cadbury site or make another decision. They can't start full design til the site is picked - so stop just collecting monthly fees and make a decision. No matter where they pick someone won't be happy.
New government, but nothing has changed. Still just a bunch of consultants engineering delay and reduced services.