South Dunedin: Fixing Council attitudes and badly maintained infrastructure

storm-ridden - wet cycling []Council told storms will become more common and more severe []

### ODT Online Mon, 9 May 2016
Flood’s ‘true’ cost $138 million
By Vaughan Elder
The “true” cost of last June’s Dunedin flood has been revealed as more than $138 million. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said the “sobering” figure, calculated by New Zealand’s largest insurance company, IAG, would sharpen the council’s resolve on investing in better infrastructure. […] IAG calculated the $138.4 million taking into account $28.2 million insurance pay out together with estimates of the economic and social impact of the event.
Read more

Economic costs took into account damage to uninsured properties, lost productivity, work to fix infrastructure and social costs included stress suffered by affected residents and business owners.

DCC Graphic - South Dunedin stormwater networkDCC Graphic: South Dunedin and adjacent stormwater catchments
Area approx 570ha, comprising 10-15% of Dunedin’s central urban area.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Baloney, Business, Climate change, Construction, Corruption, Cycle network, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

33 responses to “South Dunedin: Fixing Council attitudes and badly maintained infrastructure

  1. Elizabeth

    Is Tim Shadbolt considering standing for the Dunedin mayoralty ?
    He needs a challenge.
    We could feel RELIEF.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Is Cull considering standing for the Invercargill mayoralty?
      How’s the masochism rating of Invers voters, high enough to make it a go-er?

    • Tussock

      As Tim once said. “I don’t care where, as long as I’m there.”

  2. jeff dickie

    Isn’t that where Cull is from? You can take the boy out of Invercargill, but you can’t take ………..

  3. Ray

    Bring on Tim. I do not think he’s corrupt. I do think he’s a go getter! I think Mr Cull should resign before the next election gets under way properly.

  4. Elizabeth


    Received from Lyndon Weggery
    Tue, 10 May 2016 at 10:15 a.m.

    Richard Egan posted in St Clair Action Group.

    Richard Egan
    May 10 at 9:13am

    Update on geobags (sand sausages) from DCC’s Richard Saunders:
    Here is an update I provided the Councillors on Friday that I would be happy for you to share on the facebook page.

    Good morning all
    This email provides an update on the sand sausage remedial works at St Clair / Ocean Beach.

    – The geobags used to complete the sand sausages have been constructed and are currently being shipped from Australia. These are due to start arriving at the end of next week which is in line with the original timeframe. We are expecting two shipments. Every effort is being made to speed delivery up however it is reliant of shipping dates
    – The first delivery of sand is on site. This sand is being procured from Port Otago and we will receive a shipment a week for the next 6-8 weeks. The amount of sand is far more than what is required for the project which gives us the ability to use it for remedial works should there be a weather event before or during the project.
    – The contract for the physical works has been awarded to Downers. The contract documents will be signed early next week with site establishment occurring later in the week
    – Tonkin and Taylor are engaged to provide technical advice throughout construction. They will have a presence in Dunedin for large parts of the physical works
    – OCTA have been engaged to provide project management support for the project and ensure that there are no unnecessary delays.

    – There have been a number of questions about the length of the reinstatement. The 200m length has been recommended by the subject matter experts as the appropriate distance to continue with the holding pattern. A 120m structure would have replicated the existing protection however a decision was made to extend the structure further down the beach to provide additional protection. It will provide protection for the properties which back on to the dunes on Victoria Road. There will be some end effect however the area of dune at the end of the proposed reinstatement is wide enough that there is very minimal risk posed to properties
    – The alignment of the reinstatement has been recommended by Tonkin and Taylor to ensure there is maximum protection for the existing sand dunes. Flaring the end of the structure away from the dunes creates more risk for the dunes behind. The view from Tonkin and Taylor on this matter is ‘to reduce end effects it is best to return the sea wall land ward rather than seaward. We have effectively done a landward return by angling away from the high tide line at this location’

    Responding to a storm event
    – With the sand already delivered to the site we are in a position to respond quickly to any potential storm events. Sand can be placed on the beach to provide additional protection if there are high seas forecast. We will continue to monitor this closely until the completion of the project
    – Additionally we have investigated and are planning to secure a large number of concrete blocks which could be placed at the bottom of the dunes to reduce wave energy and provide a small amount of protection to the toe of the dunes. It is likely that Downers will be using a number of these blocks during the physical works and we will have access to them should they be required
    – The advice from Tonkin and Taylor remains that the risk to properties from a single storm event remains low however we will be vigilant in monitoring this

    – The timeline for the project has works commencing in mid May with a target date of mid June for completion. We are on track to establish on site in the next fortnight and the installation of the bags will commence at this point. The completion of all physical works will likely be the end of June however this will be dependent on the weather conditions encountered during the work. As we will have contractors and significant sand stockpiles on site there will be the ability to respond to any events during this period. The contractors will continue to update us on progress once they are underway and we will be able to keep the community informed. Downers are aware of the importance of this project to the community and will be endeavouring to complete the works as quickly as possible without compromising the quality of the structure.

    Reno Blankets at Middle Beach
    – During last years storm event the reno blankets at middle beach were exposed. These were installed to provide Moanarua Road with protection from erosion. It was identified in the December report from Tonkin and Taylor that these blankets were at the end of their useful life and a decision will need to be made on reinstatement. Over summer the blankets have been covered in sand. The advice we have received is not to expose them to carry out works while there is a good amount of sand present. Should the become exposed during winter we will be able to make a decision about reinstatement.
    – The end of Moanarua road that is above the blankets is closed to traffic. We are continuing to monitor this and remove any asphalt that is at risk of falling onto the beach.

    – Information Boards will be produced to be erected at each end of the works. There will be no access to the beach from the ramp at the end of the sea wall for periods of the construction. Contractors will endeavour to provide access when they can but health and safety will be the priority and will result in the closure of the ramp for long periods.
    – The DCC website will be updated to combine all of the St Clair sea wall and Ocean Beach information. We will make available copies of all of the plans and reports and include the designs for the remedial works. There will also be a space for regular updates on the project.


    Richard Saunders
    Group Manager Parks and Recreation
    Dunedin City Council

    View on Facebook

  5. Lyndon Weggery

    To all What if Dunedin bloggers and readers. I wonder if you all realize how highly significant the above posting is. Apart from the good news that DCC are at long last getting on with the job of reinforcing the Middle Beach sand dune network – the fact that we have received a copy of the detailed advice given to Councillors last Friday shows that the new requirement of “non-financial reporting” to all interested parties is working so far. Chairs of all Standing Committees have an obligation to ensure regular reporting back on various issues is maintained and more importantly for us the general public are kept informed as well. Now that Councillor Jinty McTavish has played her part to get this information out from the Community and Environment Committee, I fully expect Councillor Kate Wilson (as Chairperson of the Infrastructure Services Committee) to do the same with DCC’s response to the South Dunedin flooding over future stormwater management. A staff report to her Committee’s April 26 resolution is expected by mid July.

    • russandbev

      Lyndon, I share the thoughts of others. You seem to accept at face value all you are being told. How about telling us why the SDAG caved in to Cull and friends about getting an independent Chair for the meeting? Until power is wrested from City Hall – or to be more particular – from the believers in “nothing can be done as its all to do with AGW”, then I’m afraid that all this group will achieve is some communications from DCC employees telling you what has been ordered. The staff are governed by policies and directions set by Council and until the Council are given clear and strong directions (which they may interpret as threats to their cosy tenure) then nothing will change.

      • Lyndon Weggery

        I understand that the Mayor unilaterally cancelled this independent Chair offer at the last moment and it was decided by the Group to exercise discretion and concentrate on the more important issues which you can see were canvassed by the notes supplied. This is only the first meeting with others to follow in a very long journey.

        • russandbev

          Lyndon, if you are a member of this group, how is just your “understanding” that Cull unilaterally cancelled the independent Chair? How was this decision taken by one person of a large group? I would say that this action clearly shows an intent not to engage on terms other than those that he wants to impose. “Discretion” is maybe the word that the Council members exercised when Cull called Vandervis a liar to his face and then repeated it to the rest of the Council. But at a certain point I would say that “discretion” needs to vanish for a show of principle.

          The only way in which Cull could insist on him being Chair of a meeting is if the Council called the meeting with the SDAG which we know didn’t happen. I repeat my belief that by acceeding to his unilateral action then you immediately changed the basis of the meeting and of any subsequent action or inaction that flows from it.

        • Calvin Oaten

          Lyndon, a very long journey indeed! One that has already been hi-jacked by the DCC. If the SDAG is to have any impact at all, first it has to show it has ‘balls’. It is looking like the extinct Dunedin Ratepayers association, long the domain of the late Syd Adie who for years remonstrated mildly at the DCC which tolerated him by ‘tickling his tummy till he rolled over and purred’. Richard Walls was a past master at that. Without serious gumption then I’m afraid the SDAG will get the same ‘brushoff’.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    Lyndon, I wish I could share your confidence in the “non-financial reporting” to all interested parties as a new departure from the standard of ‘tell the good news, fudge the not so good, and hide or ignore the bad’. I sincerely hope your faith is justified. Me, I’ll wait a while before being convinced. If it is, I suspect Ruth Stokes would have more to do with it than Cr Jinty MacTavish.

  7. Richard Stedman

    Lyndon, you are a generous one with a trusting soul and look for the bright side all too frequently. This report gives me a nervous fit in that it shows that all summer long the council has dragged its feet on the protection of the seaboard and now that winter with its potentially stormy seas is almost upon us, is moving slowly forward and having had months to prepare does not even have the geobags to hand.
    It beggars belief that these people are so slow and there seems to be little in the way of a long-term strategy other than ‘the sea is rising, everybody leave’. The Ocean Beach Domain Board figured it out a century ago and installed a series of groins along the seafront to capture sand and thereby raise the level of the beach. In recent years complacency has allowed these to deteriorate and we recently saw the last of the piles under serious attack, so that now there is no first line of defence.
    I am sorry that I cannot share your optimism while the present lot are steering the ship. Hopefully the sausages will do the job for now and a new council after the election will get to grips with a real long-term solution.
    The nice report will be cold comfort in the event of a breach.

  8. Elizabeth

    Recent News

    Dunedin City Council supports trial which could assist with council’s management of foredunes in future.

    Fri, 29 Apr 2016
    ODT: Gaps to draw in more sand
    A University of Otago master’s student is trialling ways to save sand dunes below John Wilson Ocean Dr which he says are at risk of being wiped out by any sizeable storm. Second-year master of science student Tom Simons-Smith said three gaps had been carved in the dunes below the popular walkway to encourage sand build-up behind the face (seaward foredune) of the dunes.

  9. Gurglars

    Richard, A heads up
    The geography student for his PhD who actually wheeled me around as a temporary staff orderly is behind this trial. He says the dune is attracting sand exactly as they hoped/expected. I studied sand and binders and associated events whilst in a position to effect dune enhancement and I would be cautious about bagging this test until failure is evident if ever.
    Suck it and See is a far better method in my opinion than an expensive report which uses paper.

    • Richard Stedman

      Gurglars, I noted that he is testing down at the John Wilson drive end which is hardly the area under the greatest threat, but perhaps he will come up with something that may be applied in the problem areas. One must remember that the coast has long been under assault and I have a first-hand recollection of 1898 that tells me of the assault on the St Clair Esplanade area that carried away the beach front and left dwellings exposed hanging at the edge, with the sea pooling in the area now occupied by Kettle Park and Ocean Beach Domain. Groins were used to build up the sand and grasses planted to encourage the creation of the dunes. You are right, doing something is preferable to endless report writing.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Michael Smither (artist) also experimented on rebuilding or reclaiming sand, using trees. From memory he found that laying them with the trunk facing inland worked best, sand becoming trapped in the smaller twigs and branches. Over time this built up with more trees and branches laid on top.
        A-Ha! I don’t have to strain my memory, it’s here in Google: Michael Smither’s “Sand’ essay on his observations of the dynamics of the beaches he grew up with. Such accounts are very rare – excerpt:
        “One essential factor in the building and maintenance of a beach is the tree.
        As the forest grows, it expands. On banks of streams and rivers branches are shed and often whole trees are edged into the water.

        They float downstream to be met by powerful waves and carried up the beach to the storm’s high tide mark.
        Here they quickly settle into the soft wet sand and gather about their protruding arms the debris of the storm.” He has illustrated it all the way through with drawings and diagrams.
        This link is to a series of photographs of beaches and explanations of how erosion has been caused and what means could be taken to reverse the damage –
        Page 1 of 1 | Beach erosion — New Zealand — New P… | Items ……New…
        Michael Smither demonstrates simple methods of rebuilding the eroded beaches at … New Plymouth District Council East End Beach renourishment : monitoring …

        And here is the video that was shown on TV way back when:–+New+Zealand+–+New+Plymouth+District&search%5Bpath%5D=items
        One man and the sea [videorecording] / producer,director, Tony Hiles.
        Michael Smither demonstrates simple methods of rebuilding the eroded beaches at New Plymouth by using sticks and branches which catch the sand. With a team of helpers he has changed the appearances of the beaches and retained the sand.

  10. Elizabeth

    FYI Dunedin Cover-Number-39 [DCC Files] 1[DCC Files]

    Letter rejected by ODT
    On Sunday, 8 May 2016 3:55 PM, Jeff Dickie wrote:

    The latest DCC FYI flyer contains some very misleading information from mayor Cull regarding last June’s South Dunedin flood. Had he bothered to go to the recent meeting to hear two highly experienced speakers, including former DCC Drainage head Bruce Hendry, and Hazards Engineer Neil Johnstone, such outrageous claims would be unlikely. Johnstone’s peer review of the original poor DCC report is available online. In FYI, Cull says “most stormwater systems “are simply not designed to cope with the volume and intensity of rain experienced last June”. Not what the experts say! They blame the DCC’s failure to clean mud tanks, a poorly operating pumping station, and in fact something Cull does allude to, “more hard surfaces”. The latter is also a DCC fault in granting roading, carparking and massive roof area increases.

    FYI Issue 39 May 2016 (PDF, 282.0 KB)

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    Cull is giving the impression of a person who finds himself out of his depth

    • Gurglars

      Hype “Cull the Mayor” was fine when his feet were on the ground, but now due to climate change the waterlevels are higher and he is unable to reach the bottom, in effect a fish in water, a puffer fish.

      • Elizabeth

        My favourite stuffed fish, besides the Oar Fish, at Otago Museum when I visited as a child…. was the puffer fish. My, how things change.

  12. Elizabeth

    Clever comment at ODT Online:

    Possible Cull?
    Submitted by Otakou on Sun, 15/05/2016 – 5:59am.

    No one has yet mentioned the obvious!

    An IM possible Cull.

    An IM possible Cull is one where ratepayers views are ignored, mudtraps are not cleaned and everything from floods in South Dunedin to dirty washing and poor contract maintenance is caused by “global warming”.
    I call for an IM possible culling of the dirty dumping geese. After all it is the duck and game bird season!

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    “Local authorities said the flooding was not on a serious enough sale [sic] to warrant a Civil Defence Emergency.”

    It wasn’t last time either – or was contacting Civil Defence SEJ*?
    * Someone-Else’s job

    I do hope that now it’s Someone’s job, if the situation worsens to require CD.
    And if foresight has had a rark-up there’s a backup in case that Someone is on a junket, oops, at a conference; liaising with a sister city; in discussions in Wellington regarding plans to de-democratise Dunedin via another Christchurch and SDHB-style appointment.

  14. Elizabeth

    Tue, 24 May 2016
    ODT: Storm washes sand away
    Sand that took months to accumulate naturally at Ocean Beach was washed away in two days during the weekend’s stormy weather. […] The effects of the weekend’s storm came as it was revealed the project to shore up the beach’s defence against erosion had again been delayed.

  15. Elizabeth

    ### Wed, 25 May 2016
    Residents asked to avoid Ocean Beach
    Remedial work is under way to prevent further erosion along the city’s main beachfront. The Dunedin City Council is starting to replace sand sausages at Ocean Beach before winter storms hit the city. But one resident [Bill Brown] believes it’s not enough.
    Ch39 Link

    Channel 39 Published on May 24, 2016
    Residents asked to avoid Ocean Beach

    ■ See tomorrow’s ODT story with comparative photos of the coastal erosion.

  16. Elizabeth

    A badly put together news item that completely lacks balance – WHAT rising sea levels ?? WHY one commentator only (an academic of what suitable experience….) ??

    ‘The coastline had held relatively stable despite rising sea levels.’

    Thu, 26 May 2016
    ODT: Beach ‘following natural pattern’ (+ Google Earth satellite images)
    Coastal erosion expert Dr Wayne Stephenson remains confident Ocean Beach is undergoing a natural pattern of erosion and accretion. “I’m still of the view what we are looking at is one of those short-term storm bites rather than a long-term transformation of the beach line,” the University of Otago geography senior lecturer said.


    Thu, 26 May 2016
    ODT: Sand stockpiled for geobags
    Work to shore up the sand dunes at Ocean Beach began yesterday with an excavator beginning to cut a track to the beach. A ramp will allow excavators access to the beach to complete the work filling geobags, known as sand sausages, Dunedin City Council asset and commercial manager Tom Dyer said. New sand sausages to protect the dunes would be installed from Monday next week and contractors would spend the rest of this week building the access ramp.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Rising sea levels has gone off and attained the status of *Truth*, much like MMR vaccine causes autism and Jews killed Jesus.

    • Mike

      Rising sea levels have attained the status of *science* – peer reviewed etc, the others have not.

      Science is cool, sometimes it’s wrong, if you can collect evidence to the contrary you can overturn it (Einstein vs. Newton for example) go for it.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        There’s no need to collect evidence that it has happened many times in the past – they are all around. There is no reason to doubt that sea levels will continue to change, climate will change, tectonic plates will move slowly and abruptly – this is what this planet does. But claiming sea level has risen in certain places, in the absence of proof, even in the presence of proof to the contrary, is weird. Claiming that climate change will not occur again if humans give up using fossil fuels is super-weird and the people who urgently clamour for the cessation of all use of them give a bad name to all who believe that prudent use of resources, all resources, is just plain sensible on the old-fashioned basis that “wilful waste makes woeful want”.

        • Mike

          The difference of course is that those changes happened before there were billions of people on the planet, barely being fed, who didn’t build fixed homes.

          Those islands in the Pacific that are disappearing have only had people on them for a few thousand years, South Dunedin was empty 200 years ago, the Bangladeshi flood plain was empty last time it permanently flooded.

          I completely agree that climate and geology is always changing, but not always slowly, there’s reasonable evidence that past climate changes have not always been gradual – ice caps melting quickly, over a century or two due to the sort of run away positive feedback driven changes we’re faced with now – personally, I’m worried about the ocean warming enough to force sudden release of methane from decomposing clathrates – it doesn’t take a lot to kick that off – 5 degrees from CO2 from volcanoes may have triggered a massive clathrate release in turn causing the Permian extinction event.

          Mostly though I think the number of humans on the earth is scarily large – we’re much more susceptible to small climate changes (think of the American dustbowl, and all the countries that now depend on that grain) – I don’t want to have millions of deaths on my conscience – so I can drive a petrol car when I could be driving perfectly good electric ones (using cheaper power from Tiwai).

          NZ is likely to be relatively well off, even if South Dunedin gets a bit soggy, what we will see are lots of climate change refugees, many of them from Australia.

        • Calvin Oaten

          “Science is cool, sometimes it’s wrong, if you can collect evidence to the contrary you can overturn it (Einstein vs Newton for example). Exactly. But when you are faced with ‘non evidence’ but acclaimed facts, based on models which are failing to fulfill their predictions, one has to question of the models having attained the status of “science,” or whether they are clung to for the sake of “saving face and study grants.” Meanwhile, nature steadfastly refuses to co-operate for at least the last fifteen to eighteen years.

  18. Gurglars

    Time for Le Stick again.

    Rollande de Gurgelars VC and Ra, etc.

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