The local advisory group for the Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment, which met today, is making progress on multiple fronts including workforce accommodation, transport issues, and a possible district heating scheme, according to convenor Pete Hodgson.
‘On the housing front we have multiple players in town that we have talked to, including Housing NZ, Ngai Tahu, the University and the Polytech. We have several other private sector developers we have yet to engage. Our interest is to ensure that the city does not become congested by lots of workers with nowhere to live. It is important to minimize the risk of damage to our tourism industry, and the risk of rent rises for all tenants, including students who may choose to study elsewhere.
‘On the other hand potential developers need to have some certainty that they will be able to rent or sell new homes. The best way to ensure that we build the optimum quantity of new homes is to freely share information on the likely demand. The DCC has been leading these discussions. They are thinking beyond the conclusion of the hospital construction and see changing demographics that will drive the need for modern affordable housing.
‘Funding for a feasibility study into a renewable energy district heating scheme has been secured, and the study will get underway when a suitable consultant has been found. The various options for improving both public transport and changes to street lay outs are being weighed, and will need to be progressed alongside the master site plan which is due for completion in about eight or nine months.’