Mayor encouraged by hotel meeting

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says he is ''delighted'' by the continued interest of developers pushing to build a $100 million waterfront hotel in Dunedin.

However, it seems all eyes remain fixed on the proposed site at 41 Wharf St, despite earlier indications the company - Betterways Advisory Ltd - might consider a move to an alternative location.

Mr Cull was in Auckland yesterday to meet the proposed hotel's developers, Jing Song, of Queenstown, and husband Ping Cao, the owner of a Chinese construction company.

Mr Cull, speaking to the Otago Daily Times afterwards, said the meeting had been positive, although no agreement had yet been reached.

The discussion centred largely on the results of free and independent planning advice, first offered to the developers by Mr Cull after the decision to decline consent for the hotel was announced in June.

The advice had examined the ''quite complicated'' issues of traffic disruption, pedestrian access and building design raised during the hearing process, together with options for addressing them, which were discussed at yesterday's meeting, Mr Cull said.

While the possibility of other sites for the hotel had been ''acknowledged'', yesterday's discussions centred on addressing the issues brought up by the consent decision for 41 Wharf St, he said.

Both sides had agreed to take the information ''on board'' and meet again, hopefully within ''a month or so'', Mr Cull said.

In the meantime, the developers would need to decide whether to proceed with an Environment Court appeal by the end of month.

''Clearly, the developers have got more than one option,'' Mr Cull said, while declining to elaborate.

Mr Cull said he was encouraged by the meeting.

''I'm delighted that the developers, after all this time and all this expense, are still talking to us, still considering it.

''I think that's very positive,'' he said.

Betterways' lawyer, Phil Page, had nothing to add to Mr Cull's comments when contacted late yesterday.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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