The Planning of Culture in our City – A Cautionary Tale

It was of particular interest to the Dunedin Amenities Society to read about the donation of a seat, rubbish bin, and rose garden on the corner of Hanover and Great King streets by Councillor Paul Hudson and his brother Michael Hudson (ODT 11th December 2010). 

This generous gesture to the city was made by the Hudson’s to honour their parents, and is a welcome addition to the city’s streetscape. Imagine the Amenities Society’s horror to see that such generosity was blighted by the Dunedin City Council requiring the family to apply and pay for resource consent! What bureaucratic nonsense has this city stooped too when acts of public philanthropy that provide pleasure and the improvement of the city’s streetscape aesthetic are required to go through such a process? 

The Resource Management Act 1991 is legislation designed to deal with the effects of activities on the environment, what possible effects on the environment has this donation had on the streetscape? The answer is clearly none, unless you call people resting or enjoying the opportunity the area offers as an effect on the environment. It’s simply madness to think that a rubbish bin that takes litter off the public footpath is deemed to have an effect on the environment. The Dunedin Amenities Society has donated literally hundreds of seats to the City in public parks and spaces for the last 120 years. Will it now be required by the Dunedin City Council to have resource consent for each and every one of those donations, both retrospectively and in the future? This is a case of the RMA gone mad, where the rules and the process are more important than the reality and scale of the situation. It’s time this City Council woke up to the fact that this kind of bureaucratic verbosity is crushing the life-blood out of our city.

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