Hospital flood-proofing still required

The new Dunedin hospital inpatient building dominates the skyline as seen from Constitution St in...
The new Dunedin hospital inpatient building dominates the skyline as seen from Constitution St in an image included in Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand’s fast-track consent application. IMAGES: TE WHATU ORA HEALTH NEW ZEALAND
A fast-tracked resource consent has been granted for the new Dunedin hospital inpatient building, but flood-proofing and 130 staff cycle spaces will be required.

The Environmental Protection Authority consenting panel’s decision has not changed the 2029 expected opening date for the building.

The consent means the two main buildings for the $1.68 billion project will be accelerated through legislation passed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to hasten "shovel-ready" building projects so as to revive the economy.

Local Advisory Group chairman Pete Hodgson was delighted consent had been granted.

"It adds another thread of certainty to the project for the people of the region.

"Although it’s unsurprising, we are entitled to feel very happy that this building is going to go ahead."

Fast-track consent for the outpatient building was granted in August last year, while inground enabling works for the new hospital site were accelerated in 2021.

Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand (HNZ) delivery, infrastructure and investment group director Monique Fouwler said yesterday it was pleased with the result, although the fast track had already been factored into the build timeline.

"It will not bring forward the opening, as we had planned on the basis the resource consent would be granted."

Last December, the government announced cuts to the inpatient building design in a bid to rein in costs, but the redesign process pushed the building’s 2028 completion date back by nearly a year.

Some cuts have since been reversed amid public pressure.

The panel’s decision document dated last Thursday said it was advised the building was "the largest and most technically complex" of the hospital structures.

The new Dunedin hospital’s eastern facade and link bridge as envisioned from St Andrew St.
The new Dunedin hospital’s eastern facade and link bridge as envisioned from St Andrew St.
Five land-use consents were applied for, including for activities related to construction, and for hospital activities to be carried out after completion.

The consents were subject to conditions, including building floors at a level to mitigate flood risk.

At 1.8m-2.5m above sea level, the site was at risk of flooding from overflows from the Leith river and rainfall and runoff from city centre catchments, the document said.

"There is an emergency store of potable water and a diesel-powered backup boiler will be provided, together with fuel storage tanks."

In an emergency, the building would be able to retain a degree of self-sufficiency for about two days.

Other consent conditions included a traffic management plan and a travel plan for construction staff.

"The plan must outline measures that will be undertaken to reduce [travel by construction staff in private cars] to and from the inpatient building site, and ensure public parking remains available to the public in the surrounding area during construction."

After construction, a range of conditions included a transport safety audit, an adverse weather response plan, and a workplace travel plan outlining how staff would be encouraged to reduce solo car travel.

Cycling facilities were among the implementation conditions, and a minimum of 130 staff cycle spaces were required.

It has yet to be determined how car parking will be dealt with, despite a tender process starting in 2021.

— Additional reporting by Grant Miller

fiona.ellis@odt.co.nz

 

 

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