Two from North Island on hotel hearings panel

The panel to decide the fate of Dunedin's latest five-star hotel bid features one familiar face and two from the North Island.

Tekapo businessman Anthony Tosswill's bid to build a 17-storey hotel and apartment tower in Dunedin would be considered over five days, beginning on July 31, it was confirmed yesterday.

But, with about 60 of 263 submitters wanting to speak, the hearing could also make use of two back-up days available if needed, council staff said.

The panel of three would be headed by chairman Andrew Noone, now an Otago regional councillor, acting in his role as an independent commissioner.

Cr Noone stood down as a Dunedin city councillor last year to seek his ORC seat. He was previously the DCC's hearings panel chairman.

Alongside him will be fellow independent commissioners Stephen Daysh, of Napier, and Gavin Lister, of Auckland.

Mr Lister is a member of Auckland's urban design panel and boasts a CV with more than two decades' experience as an urban design and landscape planning expert.

That includes leading a variety of city and town centre design and large-scale infrastructure projects, and he appears regularly as an expert witness and as an independent hearings commissioner.

Mr Daysh, of environmental planning and consulting firm Mitchell Daysh, is a certified commissioner chairman who specialises in project managing aspects of major energy, infrastructure and urban developments.

Cr Noone said yesterday the three panel members would bring together a mix of experience, skills and local knowledge.

''Bringing in a couple of outsiders I suppose helps to give the panel some balance around dealing with large infrastructure projects.

''It's not something that we do a lot of in Dunedin.''

Appointing independent commissioners would also help ensure an impartial approach to the developed proposed for land still owned by the city council, he said.

''Obviously the Dunedin City Council owns the site, so there clearly needs to be independence from the city council.''

Having previously heard submissions on Betterways Advisory Ltd's failed bid to build a 27-storey hotel on Dunedin's waterfront, Cr Noone said he expected plenty of debate.

''Clearly there's a considerable amount of interest from the local community.''


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