Lack of word on hub disquieting


`Pop-up’ trial version delayed

A lack of information over the proposed South Dunedin Hub is causing confusion and frustration for many in South Dunedin.
It has been proposed the hub, announced in August last year, should be located in the former BNZ building in King Edward St, leased by Humanimals and Dinkum Donuts.
Dinkum Donuts owner Shane Ayers said, when contacted by The Star, he had had no contact from the Dunedin City Council about the hub plans since the initial announcement in August last year.
“[We have] just been going on business as usual.”
He had renewed his lease last year and completed refurbishing the premises to turn them into a fully functioning cafe, so moving into another location would be “expensive”.
Neighbouring business Humanimals had also recently renewed its lease and outfitted the building to animal hospital standard – just one of three vet services in the country to do so, practice manager Marie Hennessey said.
While the team was happy to move if an alternative adequate facility was provided by the council, they had heard nothing from the council since the initial announcement, she said.
“It would be nice to know what’s happening.”
South Dunedin Business Association chairman Craig Waterhouse said he was frustrated that progress on the “pop-up” trial hub – meant to be operating by early 2017 – was delayed, because the council had not yet found a suitable location.
“I’d like to see some sort of commitment to setting up the temporary hub before we’ll see what commitment [the council] will have to setting the permanent one up.”
However, council community and planning group manager Nicola Pinfold reiterated the council’s commitment to the area and the hub plans.
She said it was proving difficult to find a suitable site, with the lack of available premises both “frustrating” and “a positive indicator of the health of the South Dunedin economy”.
Several leasable buildings were not suitable for the hub because of earthquake strengthening requirements.
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said she also wanted to see the council confirm its commitment to the area by installing a pop-up hub. Many residents were “resigned” and “not surprised” over the hub’s delay.
“This is an example of delays and words being spoken … and then nothing happens.”
Ms Curran said South Dunedin residents did not have “massive” expectations of what would be available in the hub but they wanted to know what was happening.
“There’s been no communication, that I know of, with the community.”
Ms Pinfold said consultation with the community over the permanent hub was part of the aim in getting the temporary hub operating and the council was fully committed to the area.
The proposed hub was expected to include a library, cafe and meeting spaces for South Dunedin residents.