Saturday, June 15, 2024

Dunedin council working to find balance in live music scene

Dunedin City Council says it is working hard to support the future of live music in the city while also hearing the concerns of local residents.

In a statement, the Council said live music was an integral part of Dunedin’s identity, and it was committed to supporting a strong and vibrant live music scene.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins says community fears had been understandably heightened by the announcement of a mixed-use development next to The Crown Hotel.

“We know how important our live music venues are. People are understandably nervous about what the new development could mean for the iconic Crown Hotel,” he said.

“It’s important that people understand the existing protections for The Crown and the work being done with them. Beyond the current discussion around Rattray St we will also be reviewing the planning rules around inner city noise, and can provide an update on the Live Music Action Plan for the city.”

The Mayor said much of the discussion around the impacts of development on The Crown has focused on what is known as ‘reverse sensitivity’ – the impact of noise from the existing venue on the future tenants of the new development.

There are new provisions around this in the District Plan (2GP), including a rule which requires apartments in the CBD to protect themselves from noisy environments like music venues, he said.

“We know that there’s concern in the community that the new protections are inadequate. That’s something that we will test in the context of a wider planning review.”

Mayor Hawkins said staff have also visited the owner of The Crown to discuss DCC’s Heritage Fund, which provides financial support to enable the continued use of Dunedin’s historic buildings.

“We also want to engage with the neighbouring developer and discuss how their tenants might be further protected from any noise issues, over and above the required acoustic insulation standards,” the Mayor said.

He said Council was continuing to update and improve local planning rules.

“Work on the latest set of District Plan changes (known as Variation 3) is progressing, and will consider whether the acoustic insulation rules adequately support our strategic objectives, in particular around a vibrant city centre.”

“Anyone will be able to submit on the proposed changes when Variation 3 is publicly notified which, subject to Council approval, we expect will be in the first half of 2023.”

DCC staff have also been working with Save Dunedin Live Music to develop a Live Music Action Plan, which will make recommendations around how Council can support the local creative community.

Wide-ranging themes across the Live Music Action Plan will include broadening live music’s presence within the city; developing places and spaces for live music; growing audiences; and supporting sustainable music enterprises.

A draft of the plan is expected to be presented to the incoming Council in early 2023, including options as to how it will be resourced.

Any decision around funding will be subject to public submissions as part of the Annual Plan process before final decisions are made around May, said Mayor Hawkins.

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