Listener 23.1.16 (letter): South Dunedin #Jun2015flood

(page 7)

Listener 23.1.16 Letter Nordal Stene p7 (1)

Related Posts and Comments:
16.1.16 NZ Listener 16.1.16 (letter): South Dunedin #Jun2015flood
5.1.16 Hammered from all sides #fixit [dunedinflood Jun2015]
24.12.15 Site notice: posts removed

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design

28 responses to “Listener 23.1.16 (letter): South Dunedin #Jun2015flood

  1. Lyndon Weggery

    I agree with the Listener letter. They didn’t dig deep enough into all the issues contributing to the extreme rain event on 3 June 2015. DCC Councillors have known about infrastructure deficiencies on the South Dunedin Flat since 2011 when their 3 Waters Strategy was launched. Why so? Because attached to this Strategy are 10 Integrated Catchment Management Plans including a comprehensive one for South Dunedin. I say comprehensive because this one runs to nearly 200 pages including helpful diagrams and maps. Amongst its findings (which have been formally accepted by Council) are the following that relate (in hindsight) to the 3 June 2015 flooding:

    1. Water, wastewater and stormwater pipes are old, operationally deficient and in need of renewal with an emphasis on making them of larger capacity.

    2. There are some wastwater/stormwater cross connections (eg Surrey St) that need attention which perhaps explains why so many South Dunedin flooded houses were also contaminated with sewerage. In the 2015/16 LTP a $4M Surrey St Stormwater Diversion Scheme is listed as planned for 2015-17 but no funds allocated (that I can see ) in the 10 year Capital Expenditure Programme. This project is a direct result of being flagged in the 2011 South Dunedin ICMP as needing urgent attention.

    3. Pumping Stations on the Flat were not being operated according to their original design and the question of screens was also covered with significant recommendations.

    4. Significant comment was also made in this Plan about the “erratic” method of cleaning mudtanks etc on the Flat and here again significant recommendations made about contract supervision etc. On this point I have been just advised by DCC that the long awaited “Mudtank report” will not be “tabled” to Council till April 2015. That is 10 months after the Event and totally unacceptable to me (and others).

    5. The Plan expressed concern that three DCC agencies are involved in Catchment management in South Dunedin and an ideal co-ordination of flood protection measures is sadly lacking. In the light of 3 June 2015 this raises the question does Waste Water/Water/Stormwater talk to Roading when it comes to mitigating stormwater overflows? Or for that matter do they both talk to Parks and Reserves?
    It’s all very well for the DCC to try and point the finger at rising groundwater levels or for that matter sea level rise but ORC technical advice to Council is that these factors are “manageable” in the short – medium term (see “South Dunedin Groundwater Hazards & Summary” Report No. 2014/0957 prepared for ORC Technical Committee dated 15 July 2014) and most people I’ve talked to want DCC to address urgently its $60M backlog of pipe renewals and give South Dunedin a fair share of funding starting now with the planned Surrey St Stormwater Diversion Project.

    As I’ve said before many of us are watching Councillors like hawks to see how sincere they are with their pre-LTP/AP Budget Planning workshops next week. At the moment they stand indicted for spending our ratepayers money to plan the Work and failing to ensure that those responsible worked the Plan.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks very much, Lyndon, for updating on all and especially the expected arrival time (ETA) of DCC Transport’s report on South Dunedin mudtanks and drainage, and related aspects of the June 2015 flood. We can hope that it stands up to expert independent scrutiny more beneficially for the affected householders, property owners and businesses, than the last which attempted something else.

      APRIL is a looooong stretch; and is noted as such for various reasons of how the year goes DOWN at the Octagon.

  2. Lyndon Weggery

    Elizabeth – one other thing that did occur to me about the terrible event 3 June 2015 was the role of the Otago Regional Council. In their Report No.2015/1008 (Coastal Otago Flood Event 3 June 2015) to their Technical Committee dated 8 July 2015 they are to be commended for reporting that both the Water of Leith and Taieri Plain Flood Protection Schemes performed within expectations resulting in minimal damage to both affected areas on that terrible day. While Dunedin ratepayers are currently contributing to completing the Water of Leith FPS we should not forget that South Dunedin suffered on that fateful day because this area lacked a similar DCC funded Flood Protection Scheme. A scheme they were warned 5 years ago in the stormwater-based South Dunedin ICMP needed to be set up.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    On this subject I sent a letter to Dave Cull, Sue Bidrose, Grant McKenzie, Sandy Graham and all councillors. To date I have received acknowledgment from Crs Vandervis and Whiley. No others.

    Hello Dave and Sue,

    Since the June 2015 South Dunedin flood event I have read all that you, Dave have said on and in, TV, national radio, ODT and twice in the Listener. There would seem to be little doubt but that you are convinced that it was a one in 100 year rain plus sea rise that was the principal cause of the flood. This seems in retrospect to be an emotive simplistic claim. I recall you saying, “sea rise is real and we’ve got it in ‘spades’.”

    Since then we now know the rain was just a significant fall but only perhaps of a one in twenty year scale. The Dr Jan Wright report coincides with the aftermath, thus pushing sea rise to the forefront. Her report seems to draw heavily upon the ‘Climate Change’ claims of the IPCC which is itself in some doubt. Why? Well, for a start it is now common acceptance that there has been no significant warming of the planet over the last eighteen years. A fact that the IPCC grudgingly concedes as an unexplained “Pause”. It then posits that the missing heat has been sequestered in the ocean depths, in contravention of the basic law of thermo dynamics.

    Closer to home, the 115-year empirical records of the Otago Harbour tidal records show over that period the sea rise averaged just 1.4mm per year. Then there was the letter in the ODT by Bruce Hendry (a former senior DCC engineer /surveyor) who was involved in the South Dunedin stormwater reticulation redesign and development, claiming the system was more than capable of handling that event and more, when in full working condition. The lack of maintenance of the pumps, cleaning of intake screens and diligent cleaning of street debris and the numerous ‘mud tanks’ were the main cause of the troubles. Hard to dispute that when looking at the facts.

    The emotive premature talk of the sea rise threatening the future of large parts of residential South Dunedin causes distress and anxiety perhaps needlessly to many hundreds of residents. Not really a happy state of affairs if it proves to be unfounded. Why do I say that? Well, again it goes back to the IPCC’s projections, none of which seem to be based on any real research, but rather on non peer reviewed computer models based on the assumptions of the programmers. I say non reviewed because it is a proven fact that none of those models input data has been released for review. The IPCC people steadfastly refuse to do so.

    I know that governments are taking ‘Climate Change’ on board, but again on acceptance of the IPCC/UN’s entreaties, not because of their own knowledge or understanding, so it would behove this council to be cautious and look for more definitive proof of the sea rise before enacting expensive mitigation of something which may not happen, nor disrupting hundreds of our citizens’ life styles. I would commend that you all read the paper I am enclosing of an interview with a Dr Nils-Axel Morner, a renowned sea rise specialist who puts some very interesting comments on the whole subject. I found it logical and reasoned and would hope any open mind would give it serious thought. By that I don’t mean to necessarily embrace it all, just consider it.

    Calvin Oaten

    █ Interview: Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner
    Claim That Sea Level Is Rising Is a Total Fraud (22 June 2007)

    Click to access NilsAxelMornerinterview.pdf

  4. Diane Yeldon

    i read Dr Morner’s paper. A bit of a shock to the system. Now I believe him, not the mainstream authorities on the issue of supposed sea level rise associated with supposed climate change. When I say ‘believe’, I think his view is most likely to be true. That is that there is no direct observstional evidence supporting the hypothesis of consistent global sea level rise. Am shocked! Also by the implications of this. Has mainstream and government sanctioned science become so corrupt? Looks like it.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      People have to believe in their chosen academic discipline to continue in it. Those potential climate scientists who found they could no longer believe in current (“The earth is flat, young man!) orthodoxy were not burnt at the stake, but careerwise they might as well have been so they changed course and took up quantity surveying and, in some cases, converting middle aged Bedfords into fully self-contained house-trucks.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Agee, Hype – a lot of it is about pleasing the boss and keeping your job. But also cities all round the world are having water infrastructure problems, as pipes get to replacement age and those building these systems bit by bit never thought ahead to replacement time. Also removing ground water is causing sink holes to appear and swallow people and cars and buildings. So we may have a grand conspiracy worldwide to say these are “Acts of God”, not resulting from human city construction, because people can’t sue God (despite Billy Connolly’s film). Of course, most people furthering this possible conspiracy are likely to believe they are following correct scientific analysis. Am not saying this is definitely the case – but it could be. What Dr Morner says about computer modelling is correct – is divorced from the real world and, with computers if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. And with statistics and information analysis – if you beat the data hard enough it will confess! In other words, you can twist and manipulate a collection of ‘facts’ to mean just about anything – spin it. Lyall Watson (author of the book “SuperNature” and its sequels, did a brilliant and funny paper about (falsely) proving the existence of unicorns (assumed to be non-existent here!) from data. Will see if I can find it (No, I couldn’t). Is reminiscent of the Sokal affair which shows how learned academic people can be tricked by nonsense.
        But here is a video about ‘the null hypothesis’. So how would you DISPROVE the assumption of the existence of consistent global sea level rise? In other words, is this hypothesis FALSIFIABLE? I can’t see that it is. Which would mean it cannot be a scientific proposition.
        More here:
        Null and Alternate Hypothesis – Statistical Hypothesis Testing

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    “So how would you DISPROVE the assumption of the existence of consistent global sea level rise? In other words, is this hypothesis FALSIFIABLE? I can’t see that it is. Which would mean it cannot be a scientific proposition.”
    Dunno. I believe sea level will rise. And fall. And rise and fall and…….
    And the earth will get warmer. And cooler. And warmer and cooler and……
    Always has, so far. Can’t think of a reason it won’t continue to do so, maybe it’s stopped like Grandfather’s Clock. Can’t think of a reason to assume we humans are in control, it was doing its tick-tock long before we twinkle-toed out of the ooze. IMO that’s the guts of any climate ?change? “scientific proposition”.
    We are in control of decisions to put buildings on unstable ground, put all eggs in one basket, spend on fads instead of tedious old drains, build on flood plains that have been flooded since whenever that’s why they’re so fertile, breed more than we can feed then turn more food-producing land over to housing, push the boundaries of what we assume we can mitigate – then it turns out we couldn’t, so we call it a natural disaster caused by climate change because the alternative is truly inconvenient truth.

    • Diane Yeldon

      I was talking about the scientific method. You can have an opinion or a belief in likelihood or even a guess. And you might be right. But unless a hypothesis is falsifiable, then strictly you cannot use the scientific method with regard to it. There is so much argument from authority, supposed scientific authority, nowadays from scientists whose universities are getting grants and funding from sources with axes to grind that scrutiny of various research is warranted. By ‘falsifiable’, I mean it is possible to do some experiment to prove the hypothesis wrong. You can never actually prove any hypothesis is true. How would you begin??? What I am getting at is that I can’t see how it is possible to design any experiment which would disprove consistent global sea level rise. All your data would show is exactly what Dr Morner says – wide variation and fluctuation over time and in different locations.
      More on this:

      • Diane Yeldon

        Hype: you are right about human beings having the power to make decisions and then that they should take responsibility for the consequences. I know in planning applications you see professionals come up with all sorts of rubbish far removed from common sense. Used to call them ‘hired liars’. Goodness knows what they get their degrees in. Making stuff up to please whoever is paying them, I suspect.
        The trouble is on a big scale we seem to be getting total myths perpetuated and taken for granted as ‘scientifically true’ and things ‘which everyone knows’. And then we get bad political decisions made and public money wasted. Too much theory and not enough common sense. Ah, George Orwell made a great comment about this. Will see if I can find it.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    Diane: I think the most telling aspect is that the IPCC’s approach is to make the pseudo science fit a predetermined outcome. That, protests Dr Morner is “not science”. It is gerrymandering on a monstrous scale, that is fostered by academia because of the research grants system. As governments have been converted to the “Agenda 21” by surreptitious propaganda and ignorance (like our green faction in the DCC) and it also holds the university grants purse strings, one can readily understand that many must be embarrassed by having sold their souls for the dollar.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Calvin: agree. Richard Hil’s whistle-blowing book, Whackademia tells a story of all being far from well in the supposedly gentle halls of academe.
      But I had not considered the effects on political decision-making before. Athough I knew that Big Business lobbies like Big Tobacco and Big Oil carried out LYING advertising campaigns disguised as scientific public information. And Big Food. And Big Pharmac. The good old claim that “nine out of ten scientists say OUR brand is best!” claim, complete with white coats. Or even that a ‘medicine’ ‘works’ when it really doesn’t. (More lies with statistics.)
      So who makes money out of ‘global sea level rise’? Or is it just a mindless academic fashion, like the “Look and say” fake reading method which spurned phonics, was otherwise known as “look and guess’ and a source of of great woe and misery to a generation of children when they guessed wrong. Am VERY shocked and upset about this! People should respect science! What has Peter Gluckman got to say about this????

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Diane, I think you’ve come very close to the bullseye with your academic fashion comparison with ‘the “Look and say” fake reading method which spurned phonics’.
        I’ve seen a few passionate believers in groundbreaking gurus over the years. How about the recovered memories rort, and bulk kiddyfiddling like the Chch Civic Creche and various others in many countries? Goodness knows what they did to the children “saved” by being removed from, in some cases their families as well as from the pre-schools, after the children had been interrogated relentlessly using “anatomically correct” dolls, until the kids came up with the kind of stories they worked out the adult inquisitors wanted to hear. Academically right-on theories in their day. New research in important fields, funded as such. The excitement of being involved in the development of new [mis]understanding. Career opportunities, ego boosting publications, conferences, thence interviews in middle class media. What’s not to love?

    • Douglas

      How right you are regarding academia and its complicity in all this as well as the way it treats people who don’t ‘toe the party line’ as it were. We are all aware of their need for grants but that in itself makes them vulnerable. There are many examples but one of the worst was perpetrated by James Cook university against Bob Carter who sadly died last week. I have provided a link here to James Delingpole’s post that sums it up.

  7. Gurglars

    Who makes or will make hay Diane?

    Al Gore that’s who for one.

    And any scientist paid to study climate change what a brief!

    A perfectly fluctuating graph.

    For ten years an increasing temperature (global warming) and then after a volcano forty years of declining temperature. Glaciers lengthening, icebergs melting in the arctic and strengthening in the Antarctic – more study grants.

    It’s a moving feast, academe justifying their existence.

  8. Simon

    Did anybody see TV 3 late news last night. Climate change propaganda claiming the South Dunedin flood was a one in one hundred year flood. The NZ taxpayers actually pay these people that distort the truth to suit their purpose.

  9. russandbev

    It is very clear that much needs to be changed around the tertiary sector. For example, the whole area of funding is open to big manipulation. Unless a funding application meets the criteria and aims of a funding organisation then the application will fail. Hence a very small number of people running a funding organisation can, and I’m sure do, influence the directions of “research”.

    The next issue is this “research”. Research quality is measured by the number of people that cite a particular research paper in their own published papers so the inevitable happens where just because something is cited, then it is taken to be true. It is a self-feeding circle.

    The other thing with research is that much of it goes unread. I had an interesting discussion with one of Antarctica’s greatest tourist operators. Lars-Eric Lindblad told me that he knew of 17 research projects into seal’s eyes. Each required huge funding, each required dozens of seals to be killed in the name of science, and none of the researchers had read any of the other “research”. I have no doubt that this number of research projects will have been increased since 1994 when we had the discussion.

    Research is written to be read by others in academia in the main – how many of the public ever bother to read the academic literature and journals?

    Research is duplicated all the time – not only in NZ, but the same things are being researched in damn near every tertiary institution all over the world. Absolutely billions of dollars are spent annually transporting academics to obscure places to collect together and have a paper read to them by an author which could have been read on-line. And many academics freely admit that the object of their research is a purely selfish interest with no likely beneficial outcome despite being funded in very well paid positions for decades.

    Research must be a component of academia but the situation whereby it is the main component of the structure of Universities should change. And most importantly, the funding of those that may very well wish to pursue research into opposing views should be enabled. Otherwise the few will continue to overly influence what is to be taken as true.

    Put far more simply, follow the money.

  10. Diane Yeldon

    Great opportunity for Otago University already famous for Philosophy, to become a world leader in ethics in the practice of science. And not only in science but also of ‘academic anthority’ in general. Too often, an academic becomes a media star and then their opinion on everything is sought be reporters – and worse – they give it! When their field of academic expertise is actually qiite limited. Make Critical Thinking and the study of Ethics part of every degree. And then if a graduate can be proven to have acted unethically, the university withdraws their degree!

  11. Diane Yeldon

    sorry elizabeth, ipad is set to autocompkete in french. is too bloody smart fir its own good!

    {That was quite a plaster! Fixed at a guess, correct me if I’m wrong, Diane.}

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