Octagon business owners air concerns

The ongoing saga of Dunedin’s controversial Octagon trial closure has taken a new turn.

Octagon market stallholders say despite being initially given confirmed market dates through to April, the Dunedin City Council has changed its mind and told them January 23 will be their last day.

It comes as angry Octagon business owners continue to rail against the proposal.

The trial closures would be staggered between January and March next year, including a full closure from January 27 to February 16 and partial closures from February 17 to March 23.

About 25 market stallholders and business owners attended a meeting at Craft Bar and Kitchen yesterday to air their concerns.

For photographer and stallholder Elaine Grant-Dolby, the reduced market dates would have a serious impact.

Mrs Grant-Dolby, who sells gifts such as glass coasters that incorporate her photos, had ordered $10,000 worth of stock before learning of the change.

She hoped to get most of her money back, but she believed she would end the season with ‘‘an awful amount of stock’’ remaining.

"We’ve ordered the stock, and for what? We’re stuck with it."

She said the market attracted people to the Octagon, which in turn meant more business for nearby shops.

Angry business owners met in the Octagon yesterday to air their concerns about the trial closure...
Angry business owners met in the Octagon yesterday to air their concerns about the trial closure plan. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

The New Zealand Shop owner Evelyn McDowall said she was concerned about a lack of consultation.

Seriously Twisted Possum Merino owner Linzi Irving had been one of those leading the charge against the proposal, as she believed it would have a major impact on her bottom line.

She said pedestrianisation itself was not a bad thing, but the council had "dropped it on us".

She believed the effects could drive some people out of business.

Enterprise Dunedin chairman John Christie said affected party consultation was still ongoing, and alternative options were being looked at for some issues raised.

An example was the concern over initial plans to drop cruise ship bus passengers outside Toitu, which had been changed to a Cumberland St stop instead.

Mr Christie said alternative market locations were also being investigated.

Regarding concerns over a lack of consultation, he said processes could always be improved.

"We would approach this differently if we were starting again."

There would be a lot of data collection during the trial to inform cost/benefit analysis, and no future closure plans were set in stone, he said.

"This is truly a trial, as far as I’m aware."




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That's what happens when you have a group of inexperienced amatures running the city. No bussiness acumen. I hope that cruise ships skip Dunedin in the future, DCC reflects New Zealand in a negative light.

Why would you hope cruise ships leave Dunedin off the stop overs? That would prove what exactly? That DCC and it's business owners are too immature to find an acceptable solution for the use of the Octagon that everyone is happy with? Why do we have to be so jolly well one eyed and hostile at any and every progressive idea? There are a good many reasons the Octagon could be closed to traffic, including the shuttle buses. The Octagon could truly be a very popular city space if planned right. This could be an excellent opportunity for all concerned. In fact, done right, tourists will fall over themselves to see it. So come on Dunedin, stop scratching each others eyes out.

So, increasing debt to uncontrollable levels (that I bet ratepayers are dead set against) breaking promises to business owners.... Didn't take long for Mayor Socialist to start ruining our local economy like the master socialist PM is doing with our national economy

First of all well done these business owners much respect and keep it up, Put the clowns making these decisions in there place highlight that they have no clues and put them on the spot, and keep doing it, if they are made fools of one would like to think they will think twice before doing it again.

Don't hold your breath

Oh come on. You surely can't expect DCC to be concerned about impacts of rapidly changing council decisions on business large or small.
DCC has previously stated when your primary objective is to create a car free zone then some inadvertent impact on business may occur. But the greater good of a car free zone must be done. We even have a few fan boys (or girls) who say just lets do it because malls work well in Shanghai or Budapest or somewhere.

So people of Dunedin just suck it up. You voted for this and the previous council. Don't be surprised that DCC is doing what they said they would do. To the unfortunate business people who may go broke, I am sure DCC will shed some crocodile tears when you relocate to some more organised city.

I'd like to know exactly why the stall holders and cruise ship buses will no longer be allowed in the Octagon. At least give us a decent reason, DCC. No reason why they can't be there during the Octagon closure.

Doesn't mean to say many people will agree with it though...

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