The DCC stood remarkably stone-faced last week as the University effectively got on their knees and begged for them to stop taking infrastructure funding away from the tertiary precinct.
The DCC has delayed the tertiary precinct upgrade. The plan has gone from $20 million over the next few years to $1 million all the way down the road in 2030. Kids that were born in 2012 will be freshers that year.
In an effort to avoid aid arriving by the time current students will have kids of their own, the University went to the recent council meetings to try plead their case, and ask the DCC to bring forward construction. University Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville presented in front of the council, and used his five minutes to lay out the benefits of funding an upgrade to the tertiary precinct.
Dr Somerville urged the council to “keep moving forward”, and explained that the University has invested heavily into improving the campus, with the underlying insinuation that they’d like the council to kick in a bit too on the upgrades. Dr Somerville also noted that the main highway down Cumberland St “severs the connectivity of the campus” and that they’re already trying to improve cycle connectivity in the area.
For the record, the Dunedin City Council’s justification for removing the tertiary precinct upgrade is that they don’t want to stretch resources too thin between the new Dunedin Hospital construction and the revamping of the city centre. This feels like a very stupid reason to not do something, especially because it seems like it’s not about money, but manpower.
OUSA and Otago Polytechnic have also condemned the decision, with a note made that the University and Polytechnic combined contribute over a billion dollars to the Dunedin economy every year. Critic would like to note that if the council stops deciding to play ball, the Uni and Polytech might not be so accommodating in future. So, DCC, please sort your shit out, we just want to be able to walk across Albany St without getting bowled over by a student who forgot to turn their lights on.