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Published on : Friday, August 4, 2017
The battle for hearts and minds hit the highest point yesterday with two views of Dunedin’s latest five-star hotel bid crashing head-on. Tekapo businessman Anthony Tosswill’s plan to build the 17-storey tower in Moray Pl was greeted with a mixture of support and sarcastic criticism on the third day of a resource consent hearing yesterday.
Among the supporters was Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan, who told the panel that the five-star hotel was needed to future-proof the city’s tourist infrastructure and capitalize on expected growth.
McGowan said, “It [tourism] is a major income driver of employment and GDP throughout the region, and we need to be able to cater for the future demands of that.”
His views were supported by the chamber’s 1000-strong membership, a survey of which found 79%, or 320 respondents, backing the hotel. Only 10.95% of those surveyed were against it, but their reasons for opposition were different.
Mr McGowan added he had spoken to most of the Octagon’s bars and restaurants, which could be affected by winter shading if the hotel was built, and ”unanimously, they were in support of the development”.
His views were backed by the Property Council of New Zealand, as well as by author Norman Ledgerwood, who wrote a book on the Octagon.
Others vehemently disagreed, including Peter Entwisle, who said the hotel would rob him and other residents near him of valued views of the Dunedin Town Hall, Municipal Chambers and St Paul’s Cathedral. In total, 206 submissions received opposed the hotel while 58 supported it and seven were neutral.