Hotel report unfavourable

MIKE HOULAHAN
Last updated 13:29 21/11/2012

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Dunedin's proposed 27-storey hotel would be too tall, too inaccessible, not in keeping with its industrial surroundings, and would probably have a negative visual and environmental impact, a Dunedin City Council report says.

Planner Lianne Darby's report, which recommended consent for the hotel not be granted, was released yesterday, ahead of a week of public hearings on the controversial development.

More than 500 people and organisations - a record number - made submissions on the hotel proposal, with the vast majority opposing the development.

Opponents disliked the height of the building - which if constructed would be the highest in Dunedin by some margin. They also said it was in the wrong place, not in sympathy with its surroundings, and the design did not reflect Dunedin's heritage character.

Supporters felt the development would benefit Dunedin's tourism industry and economy, and its position would help revive a neglected part of the city.

The report said any actual or potential adverse effects on the environment from the hotel would be more than minor. The site had ''awkward and limited'' vehicle access, inadequate pedestrian access, and its position on industrial land would be problematic.

''In particular, the railway to the rear of the building will cause noise and vibration at any time over a 24 hour period while undertaking its lawful business. While the proposed building can be acoustically insulated during construction to reduce the noise levels heard within the hotel and apartment block, this will not be effective for the outdoor areas or those rooms where windows are opened for ventilation. Nor is it certain the vibration effects can be adequately mitigated.''

It would be unacceptable for existing industrial businesses in the area to have their operations limited by the building of a hotel in the area, the report said.

As well as KiwiRail, the Port of Otago and several industrial and engineering firms are situated near the proposed hotel. The report added that it was very possible there would be inadequate car parking to service the building.

The proposed hotel's height was ''exceptional'' and many would see it as ''severe and offensive,'' the report said. This was unlikely to be successfully mitigated without a reduction in height.

''The visual impact...will be mitigated in many cases by the distances involved, but its position at the waterfront will mean that it is often seen in context of the harbour. The water background will serve as a contrast to the building rather than a setting, and the building will break the sweep of the harbour view from many locations. it is my opinion that this will be an adverse visual effect in the landscape of Otago Harbour.''

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The height and bulk of the building would cast a long shadow - particularly in the early morning and late afternoon - and an areas of public land nearby would be shaded all year round in the afternoon. Wind effects had not been fully assessed, and might impact nearby pedestrians and cars, the report said.

If the committee did grant consent, it should seek conditions concerning design, noise insulation, construction sound levels and require a traffic management plan, the report said.

Public hearings on the planned hotel run from December 3 to 6.

- The Southland Times

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