DCC stormwater drainage fails again #Dunedin (today!)

Jeff Dickie 20160523_085845Jeff Dickie 20160523_085800Jeff Dickie 20160523_085755Jeff Dickie 20160523_085738

Received from Jeff Dickie
23/05/2016 2:31 pm (GMT+12:00)


This is what flooding looked like at 3 Malvern St, Woodhaugh at 9.00am today. Residents were unable to access the property or easily vacate it for that matter. As with June 3 1915, flooding in this area was caused by a blocked mudtank. However, the mudtank itself is so far below specification that even when cleared it is not able to cope.

This was hardly a one in a 100-year rain event! This has consistently caused property damage and huge inconvenience.

The DCC has continually failed to attend to core business such as this. The mayor and council have been distracted with trivia, such as frivolous trips overseas, failed expensive projects such as cycleways and financially disastrous failed Delta property ventures.

The complete failure of such a basic core service as drainage is symptomatic of an administration and a mayoralty [not coping…] to the core! 

{Moderated. -Eds}

DCC Webmap - 3 Malvern St, Dunedin JanFeb 2013DCC Webmap – 3 Malvern St, Dunedin JanFeb 2013 [click to enlarge]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Town planning, Transportation

71 responses to “DCC stormwater drainage fails again #Dunedin (today!)

  1. Hype O'Thermia

    Stop moaning, Jeff. You know it’s sea level rise, either that or the dead man caused it – there are 2 reasons for anything that’s gone wrong, pick one.

    {Moderated. -Eds}

  2. Elizabeth

    If there’s no floating away or wet feet, an onscreen entertainment (made on a dry day with full working drainage always in preparedness) for those not sandbagging and cosied up by the fire:

    Douglas Field Published on May 23, 2016
    Hidden treasure

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Another “gem” from our video commentator.

    • Well Hype O’Thermia
      Maybe if they connected the stormwater drainage system to the ‘bottomless pit’ instead of throwing the city’s treasure down it – there might be a little progress – just say’n. But of course nah – too busy saving the planet – and as our great leader says – South Dunedin was a swamp – maybe it is destined to return to one eh? So it’s on with the ‘hi ho’ stuff then.

    • Well Hype O’Thermia
      Maybe if they connected the stormwater drainage system to the ‘bottomless pit’ instead of throwing the city’s treasure down it – there might be a little progress – just say’n. But of course nah – too busy saving the planet – and as our great leader says – South Dunedin was a swamp – maybe it is destined to return to one eh? So its on with the ‘hi ho’ stuff then

  4. Gurglars

    Jeff, can you prove the mudtank was not cleaned by the DCC or Fulton Hogan?

  5. JimmyJones

    Radio Dunedin has brief commentarys from random citizens called “Food For Thought”. This morning we heard Phil Day tell us:

    … cycleways squandering $1.2 million on suburban cycleways that nobody wants or uses. And the childish attempt to drive people out of their cars and on to bikes or buses. That’s fine if you are a twenty year-old or don’t drive. Let’s, for once, think about the other 90% who must live here and drive, or are too old too cycle and just want to park outside a shop. The reason big box retailers build large car parks is that we like to take our cars. ~~
    When idealistic councillors and a few staff members try to force agendas that we don’t agree with, let’s stand up to them – or not vote for them. The choice is in our hands and we need to stand up and be counted.

    Good work from Phil. I think that it is important for us to be clear about which of our ORC and DCC politicians are focused on these ideological/quasi-religious obsessions to such an extent that they can’t bear to provide adequate funding to maintain/upgrade our failed stormwater system, because that would mean less money for their Environment Strategy, Energy Strategy, Bicycle Network, Maori power-sharing and their car-hating Central City Plan and the complete destruction of the One-Way System.

  6. Elizabeth

    Otago Daily Times Published on May 22, 2016
    Flooding in Ravelston St, Dunedin.
    Video courtesy Dave Ure

    DCC Webmap - Ravelston St, Musselburgh, Dunedin JanFeb 2013DCC Webmap – Ravelston St, Musselburgh, Dunedin JanFeb 2013 [click to enlarge]

    Google location map - Musselburgh, Dunedin (2016)Google location map – Musselburgh, Dunedin (2016) [click to enlarge]

    Mon, 23 May 2016
    ODT: Roads close as heavy rain hits South
    Motorists are warned to take care and drive to conditions, as a wintry cold snap brings flooding and snow in the South, closing some roads. […] In Dunedin, which was hit by severe flooding last year, water was knee-deep in some places. There was surface flooding and ponding on roads including North Dunedin, South Dunedin and Mosgiel. The Fire Service said it attended several “minor” incidents, which included some pumping at the Glen. Surface flooding also affected Leith Valley.

    █ Local authorities said flooding not serious enough to warrant Civil Defence Emergency.

  7. JimmyJones

    Today’s flooding is another warning that the DCC has failed to provide a functional stormwater system. Most of us didn’t need to be reminded, but the mayor and councillors certainly do. Their Annual Plan decisions indicate that there will be no change to the stormwater performance levels. Staff have already acknowledged that some areas (South Dunedin, Mosgiel etc) suffer from “low levels of service”. Our councillors have been told this very clearly – they know about the old, buggered, silted, collapsed pipes and the serious choke-points but have chosen to do nothing about it. The DCC/ODT comms plan (spin-doctoring plan) has directed our attention to the pumping station and the mud-traps, but the majority of the problem is the pipes in-between. Staff explained this quite well at the ISC meeting of 26/4/16. This important video was withheld for nearly a month, but is available from today ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEPPkIf5SPk )

    The ODT thinks that today’s flooding is a bit of a joke: we have –
    ● “Undie-clad student makes a splash” and
    ● “Students kayak down Leith River”

    These photos from Newstalk ZB shows us that the flooding was reasonably significant, whereas the amount of rainfall was quite feeble.

    {Embedded. -Eds}

    Dunedin City Council – Infrastructure Services Committee – April 26 2016

    • Elizabeth

      UglyBob’s photos of Surrey Street at Newstalk ZB were taken in June 2015 – I checked the photo source information at @UglyBobNZ on Twitter.

      Other pics also look to be 2015…. the dangers of Google and undated links.

    • Lyndon Weggery

      Having “waded” through 2.5 hours of Q&A comments by Councillors etc the most telling comment comes at about 35 mins when a senior staff member says that servicing a $220M core debt makes it hard to commit further funds to addressing South Dunedin flooding!!!!

      • Lyndon – maybe that senior staff member could check the ‘bottomless pit. Might find an IOU or three.

      • Peter

        Well, Lyndon, that’s probably a true comment by the senior staff member, even though it is an indictment of the Harland/ Chin and Cull/ Bidrose councils over the last decade where they have allowed this sorry tale of debt to come to pass.
        Still, they have no problem spending yet more money to support other jollies like the stadium, underused and ill planned cycleways etc.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        When you look at all the un-necessities they’ve “put on the plastic” it’s not reassuring to find that they’re being prudent about S Dunedin flooding and waiting till they’ve saved up enough to fix it.
        Suddenly there’s a 1 in 100, no 80, no, 10 year outbreak of being careful with the money. Just think, if they’d been careful with the money instead of building the (since demolished) Hargest Island….
        If they’d been careful with the money instead of building those kerb bulges at corners all over town and especially in S Dunedin, they wouldn’t have made dams that stop water flowing along to the next safe place to run away….
        And if they’d been careful with the money they’d have noticed that they were paying for work not being done so the water could have run down gratings into mudtanks that weren’t blocked to their outlets. By the way did anyone ask if FH were paid by Chch for using their sucker truck up there that year, as well as by Dunedin for NOT having it here?

        And those are only a fraction of the examples, picked for relevance to S Dunedin in particular.

        No money, no plastic, no curtailing of staff appointed for fluffy “community” projects – co-ordinating neighbourhood recycling groups making strips of plastic wrapping into crocheted egg-cosies for organic boiled eggs.

        Inorganic boiled eggs don’t deserve cosies.

      • Calvin Oaten

        Lyndon, only $220million? The real problem is the ‘consolidated’ debt of around $600million (give or take a $1m thanks to Cr Thomson) plus the ongoing hazards of deals going bad in Delta, constant shifting of allocations to keep the stadium going in an illusionary idea it might eventually be self sustaining. Then there are other ‘gee gaws’ like cycleways, Mosgiel Pools, St Clair Sea Wall and dune protection, all extremely visible. Meanwhile as long as pipes, drains stay where they are underground and out of sight it only remains to concentrate on the fables, lies and PR bullshit when things like ‘rain events’ spoil the equanimity of our ‘Great ermine clad Leader’.

      • JimmyJones

        Lyndon, it is useful to have more detail about what CEO Bidrose told the councillors at the 26/4/16 ISC meeting:
        Some of the competing priorities that she mentioned are: “new innovative stuff to keep up with the future, start to pay down debt and at the same time start to increase our catch-up for the water renewals ~~ etc” What she meant by keeping up with the future, are: bicycle lanes, ICLEI inspired car-hate projects, environment plan etc.

        She then said this: “If councillors want to make a decision to get the South Dunedin, Mosgiel to a one in 10 year flood level, then there are considerable implications of that.

        Here she is telling councillors that if they want a properly functioning stormwater system then there will be no money from Santa Claus for all of their various wasteful, vote-buying, ego-boosting pet projects. It looks to me that CEO Bidrose was trying to discourage councillors from fixing the stormwater pipes – and apparently this worked.

        • Peter

          Jimmy. To be fair, I don’t think Sue Bidrose was necessarily encouraging the councillors to not fix the stormwater pipes given the context you mention here of her discussing competing priorities.
          Like all bureaucrats, she was outlining the options and letting the politicians decide because that is their job to sort out priorities for the city during the DAP and the Long Term Plan. Something they are totally incapable of doing of course. So we are back to square one. Every time.
          You would hope her public language was not so diplomatic privately, but I suspect not. Being a bureaucrat she will go along with what is decided to keep the peace and to keep her job.

        • JimmyJones

          Peter: My view is that, in general most councillors are either hapless fools or have personal agendas which distract their focus away from pipes, roads and footpaths. For either type, the staff in most cities have, over the years, perfected ways of manipulating the decisions of their councillors. They can do this because they control the information and because they are smarter than the councillors – often they have a communications department to promote policies to the public and councillors. What the councillors read in the newspaper is therefore influenced by Council staff policy – their reality (and ours) becomes twisted (like – The Truman Show & Inception). Also there is often a little club (Mayor + CEO + others) that lead the decision-making. I think that here in Dunedin Council staff are reasonably successful at implementing their policy and agendas.

          At the ISC meeting councillors were made clearly aware that the stormwater systems in many places are substandard and don’t meet the national standard and don’t meet the DCC’s stated target of a one in 10-year rain event. They were also told that there is no plan to upgrade the areas with a “low level of service” up to the one in ten-year standard. This has not even been considered, in fact it is precluded, because the status quo (do nothing) is embedded into the Infrastructure Strategy (which they voted for).

          The impression I get from the video is that CEO Bidrose is trying to discourage councillors from fixing the defective parts of the stormwater system. She says, just to work out the cost of achieving the one in 10-year spec – “is a very large piece of work. [pause] So it’s big – it’s huge and it’s expensive“. Of course it’s huge and expensive – that’s because it has been underfunded for years and the renewals backlog is $60 million (auditor, LTP 2015). That is $60 million that should have been spent on water renewals that was diverted into the mayor’s and CEO’s other priorities.

          Councillors should not be one bit surprised that the $60 million renewals backlog is still there. Yes, it’s huge. It’s huge because they made it huge. The clever ones might understand that the low level of service (South Dunedin, Mosgiel etc) is their decision and therefore they have decided to expose the citizens to the continuing risk of more serious flooding. This is unacceptable.

      • Gurglars

        And $650,000,000 worth of debt funding can not help either. Just imagine if a rare and rational decision was made to mothball Rugby Heaven, $20 million annually could be shuffled towards stormwater, drains and superior protection of South Dunedin, St Clair and St Kilda.

        That is $200 million over ten years. One would not mind paying the CEO $200,000 per annum if they could engineer such a Solomonistic solution.

    • Lyndon Weggery

      I am grateful to my inciteful colleagues for their comments and reflections on this very important and revealing video.

      DCC Infrastructure Services Committee meeting April 26 2016
      Share: https://youtu.be/bEPPkIf5SPk

      When you reflect on what is said in the first 2.5 hours it is not surprising that it took someone a whole month to release this filming for posting on the DCC website. More so when I noted it only took two days to post the 23 May Council meeting!!!
      I have posted this video on both the St Clair and South Dunedin Action Group (SDAG) Facebook pages with the following observations of significant points emerging:

      1. We saw and heard senior staff saying that as far as South Dunedin is concerned only the “pinch points” will be attended to. The cross connection (waste water/sewerage) at Surrey St was mentioned and let’s hope DCC includes Ravelston St and Glen Rd in their list following 23 May rainfall.

      2. It was clear from the 26 April proceedings that DCC are clearly struggling over adequate staff resources to meet even Councillor aspirations in terms of the formal resolutions passed. Time and time again you see the need for a stormwater specialist to be appointed; yet SDAG on 3 May were formally told DCC Water and Waste had 12 staff to meet the City’s needs including 4-5 engineers employed in planning and 6-7 at the delivery end.

      3. The undisclosed role of the Otago Regional Council in behind the scenes discussions with DCC staff about managing future hazards in South Dunedin. No one is saying what these talks cover and a joint report to both Councils is expected in July before going out for public consultation.

      4. It is interesting to note the reaction of certain Councillors when Cr Lee Vandervis made a passionate plea to refrain from committing precious ratepayer funds to other “pet projects”. When seeing this I immediately thought of the CBD Renewal on hold for 12 months but awaiting $37M expenditure. Also pressure is mounting again from certain quarters to activate Harbourside development for untold millions.

      If any of my erstwhile colleagues on What if? have other “impressions” they see when watching the video then please share them as I intend to pass on these to fellow members of the SDAG. We are in a fast and steep learning curve and intend to keep pressure on the DCC.

      Winter is fast approaching as is the first anniversary of the infamous SD flood with, sadly, the DCC yet to front up to its affected ratepayers and citizens in a public meeting.

      {Moderated. Video link added. The South Dunedin Action Group is headed by spokesperson ● Ray Macleod. -Eds}

  8. Elizabeth

    ### radionz.co.nz 27 minutes ago
    Checkpoint with John Campbell
    Rainfall causes surface flooding in South Dunedin
    Heavy rainfall in Dunedin has caused surface flooding in some of the southern parts of the city, which were badly flooded last June.
    Audio | Download: Ogg   MP3 (4′ 29″)

    RNZ Published on May 22, 2016
    Rainfall causes surface flooding in South Dunedin: RNZ Checkpoint
    Heavy rainfall in Dunedin has caused surface flooding in some of the southern parts of the city, which were badly flooded last June.

    Campbell: “DCC declined to be interviewed; they also said there wasn’t any flooding….”

  9. Tussock

    South Dunedin flooding hardly made the news on Channel 39.

    {Video added. -Eds}

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Mon, 23 May 2016
    City receives month’s rain in 24 hours
    The city received more than an average month’s rainfall in the 24 hours to noon today. About 60mm fell during that time, putting pressure on drainage systems and causing widespread surface flooding. But the situation’s expected to ease.
    Ch39 Link

    Channel 39 Published on May 22, 2016
    City receives month’s rain in 24 hours
    The city received more than an average month’s rainfall in the 24 hours to noon today.

  10. JimmyJones

    The DCC said “There wasn’t any flooding”. That’s a memorable quote. Obviously the well funded Communications team hasn’t figured out a way of helping us to believe that the flooding wasn’t the DCC’s fault. They created some amazing misinformation last time (global warming, mythical high ground-water, spectacularly exaggerated rainfall rates) – so are we going to get something new and creative or just a re-run of the old shit?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      The DCC said “There wasn’t any flooding”, how true, nothing but damp wateriness in places where at other times no water can be seen lying on the ground. Flooding? Nonsense! So it’s reaching the house, flowing under the house? That’s not flooding.
      I wish I could remember what “flooding” means. Fortunately thanks to the DCC I know what it doesn’t mean.

  11. russandbev

    Remember that lovely line by Mandy Rice Davies when told that one of her clients, Lord Astor, had denied his “liaison” with her – “well he would, wouldn’t he?”

    Reminds me so much of the DCC.

  12. JimmyJones

    Cowardly, misleading, dishonest and corrupt are the words that come to mind after watching Darryl Baser’s story on Channel 39. Notice how they avoided showing any flooding, just a puddle on some grass. And then they asked some people about the weather.

    Spot the difference between the Channel 39 Truman Show version and the excellent Radio NZ story. Compare the Channel 39 video (with no actual flooding) to the Newstalk ZB photos and the other photos above. It seems to me that only a deliberate effort could produce such a misleading reporting.

    Channel 39 is 1/3 owned by Allied Press Ltd and has only one director to make the decisions – Julian Smith. Mr Smith is a director and an owner of Allied Press. It is reasonable to assume that this latest flooding should be very damaging to Dave Cull’s reputation and his prospects of continuing as Mayor. If there has been a decision to downplay the continuing failure of the DCC to provide a working stormwater system then this could be seen as political manipulation.

  13. Hype O'Thermia

    JimmyJones, “It is reasonable to assume that this latest flooding should be very damaging to Dave Cull’s reputation…” – is it? Is there room left in his reputation for anything to be “very” damaging, or indeed “damaging”? With respect, I think the term you should have used is “confirmation of”.

  14. And Mosgiel had its fair share of flooded streets also with blocked drains, leaves in the gutters. Time for a change of council.

    • Wingatui Flyer

      David. Don’t ask the community board for any help. Their only interest is is for a $20 million + new pool. Any thing like flood protection is way down the list.

      • Actually I don’t recall mentioning the Community Board and as they are only given $10k per annum by the DCC I think they do a brilliant job fighting for our community, and actually the pool is only $15 mill’ and the DCC are not even prepared to contribute half of that. Sack the lot and the managers with them and start again!

        • Simon

          David. As council has an enormous debt, about $600M (about $15,000 per ratepayer) what do you see as your top priority to spend ratepayer funds on. A new pool for Mosgiel, or a big spend up ($millions) on fixings the flooding problems in Mosgiel and South Dunedin.

  15. South Dunedin resident

    Immediately below the first four photos, did anybody notice this bit: As with June 3 1915, ?? Typo or deliberate mistake?

  16. jeff dickie

    South Dunedin Resident, you are right. I meant 2015. However, maybe I should take a leaf from the book of the DCC Masterclass of Obfuscation [City of Literature Creative Writing Department] and say, “that’s what I really meant”, just to confuse everyone! It is a bit like saying, “I don’t remember”. Nobody can call you a liar.

    Do I know that the mudtank wasn’t cleaned by a contractor? No, not for a fact. However, it was blocked on Sunday when I cleared it more than once and I again cleared it similarly today in the morning. Despite phoning the DCC today regarding quite serious flooding, as per the photos, nobody turned up or even returned my call. Exactly the same as 2015.

    Both this tank and the larger one adjacent at the start of the Western branch of the Bullock Track were 100% blocked on 3 June 2015. The 3 Malvern Street mudtank I successfully cleared several times during this severe flooding incident, but I was unable to clear the large capacity Bullock Track drain which immediately overflowed to swamp the lower mudtank. The large drain remained blocked for almost 4 months after the June floods and was only cleared when I mentioned this to a Delta employee in the Woodhaugh Gardens one day while illegally walking my dog. This 2015 rainfall incident also caused a massive slip beside my property. This completely blocked this branch of the popular walking track with about 200 tons of slippage. It was recently cleared by workers and a digger almost a full year after the event! A massive inconvenience to those who historically have used it every day to access Maori Hill and Prospect Park.

    • Mike

      I kind of think there are two sorts of mudtank issues, one is when the entry to the mudtank is blocked by debris (especially in Autumn), the other is when underground the mudtank fills (with ‘mud’) and blocks water from entering the drains.

      The intersection near my house regularly flooded – partially, it was because its entry was blocked by debris, but really it was because the next mudtank up the hill was full and all the water from tanks above it was exiting back into the gutter – I think it was finally cleaned (I complained enough) and this time things didn’t flood.

      I suspect that cleaning the underground tanks and street sweeping are done by different groups, moreover I don’t expect the DCC to be able to get to every blocked grate in the city immediately every time it rains, I don’t mind pitching in and going out there with a broom and clear grates near my house occasionally, the alternative is of course a bunch of grate sweepers sitting there idle waiting for the rain – and the associated higher rates. It’s kind of fun, take some small kids with you, they’ll have a ball!

      If you see someone doing this, slow down, don’t speed up through the flood to see how big a splash you can make.

      Cleaning the underground tanks is something we can’t do ourselves and does need to be done proactively by the council.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “I don’t mind pitching in and going out there with a broom and clear grates near my house occasionally.” Me too, Mike. I’m surprised the Sustainabillies aren’t out there harvesting autumn leaves for their compost heaps before rainstorms, and I can’t understand why able-bodied people don’t put on their wellies and raincoats and clear their neighbourhood grates. It’s got to be better than posting to DCC’s facebook page* then watching the water ponding on the road and running down to their front doors. As you say Mike, it makes no sense to expect hundreds of paid staff to be standing beside gratings when it rains, waiting to clear leaves and debris as it washes along the gutter to settle on grates.

        *example: “…Leaves down Glen rd never get cleaned up. And the Haywood st drain has been blocked with leaves for weeks. No wonder Glen rd floods….” https://www.facebook.com/DunedinCityCouncil/?fref=nf

        Sure, we pay rates… but does that mean it makes sense to not do a few simple things ourselves?

        • Elizabeth

          Bumbling peasants who live their lives expecting others to place them in cotton wool probably don’t own a yard broom or a garden rake or wet weather gear for yard work proceeding to include their bit of road reserve, so forth. Sheeple. Would require the ability to think and move body parts in coordinated fashion.

        • Mike

          I used to live somewhere where they swept the streets every two weeks, we were required to move our cars or get ticketed. That was how the city paid for it (the tickets) – it meant that the streets were always clean.

          It might make sense to sweep more often every autumn, maybe take people off other seasonal work

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    To be fair, it’s as well to leave slips quite a long time because if the toe of a slip is taken out while it is still unstable there is almost certain to be more slipping. Wait a while till the soil has packed down with its own weight and the effect of rain weighing it down, and it is more likely to be stable. Roots from nearby plants may have grown into it too, adding to stability.

  18. jeff dickie

    Hype, I really doubt that to be the case. By delaying so long they missed out on an entire Spring and Summer of growth, where any new growth would have aided strength to the permanent lie of the land. For example, the other end of the Bullock Track also suffered severe slippage in the June 2015 heavy rainfall, completely blocking the Eastern end of the Bullock Track. This was fixed within a few days and immediately planted out with a massive number of fast growing grasses, which can now be seen below the track and above where the slippage occurred. A more realistic appraisal of the DCC’s effort was to, fix the higher profile failed area first, and worry about the less obvious, but still frequently used walking track almost a year later. A whole year of no remedial work being an embarrassment!
    In fact when you consider the foolish use of ratepayer funds within this time frame, the poor effort in fiscal priorities is evident. We have had CE Sue Bidrose traveling 4 times to Oxford UK in 2015 to learn “better governance skills”, huge sums voted for subsidising endless sports events and facilities, millions spent on a poorly designed cycleway, a culture of denial regarding causes for South Dunedin flooding, an endless merry-go-round of distraction and denial of other DCC failures, such as Delta’s 3 disastrous property ventures. The point is simply this, they have massively failed ratepayers by neglecting very basic core services. Not only did South Dunedin suffer the estimated $138M of damage due to a poorly maintained drainage system, but there has been millions wiped off the South Dunedin real estate portfolio by ill-considered “managed retreat” remarks. Very poor governance indeed and a change is well overdue!

    • @jeff dickie
      May 24, 2016 at 4:31 am

      You say in conclusion “The point is simply this, they have massively failed ratepayers by neglecting very basic core services. Not only did South Dunedin suffer the estimated $138M of damage due to a poorly maintained drainage system, but there has been millions wiped off the South Dunedin real estate portfolio by ill-considered “managed retreat” remarks. Very poor governance indeed and a change is well overdue!”

      Well I concur – absolutely – and your earlier remarks are direct observations of the events where you live and are thereby believable.

      We have waited almost a full year for the report on the June 2015 flooding. And yet again we see that nothing seems to have been learned.

      As others have remarked here, we have to return to the basics for which local authorities were created in the first place.

      {Moderated. -Eds}

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yes Jeff, depends on the slip. I was thinking of a site that had 2 slips which were from the top of the bank onto road and the top was liable to give way further – it did too, over the years, but so far only into the part that was hollowed out in the previous slips. It was saturated sludge so road clearing had to be minimal for a long time till it dried out and settled. Taking the toe out would have made the rest of the slipped material slip further down to take its place, and probably further breaking away at the top. It’s not the same in all cases.

  19. pb

    Local council prime directive should be water, water, water. It’s the water, stupid. No vanity projects. Water management is hard, like mathematics.

    Watching the councillors in chamber vacillate over small protocol issues, I can’t help feel they are doomed. Little mouses afraid to make decisions. Management of water, will take more courage and leadership than seconding a motion on foolish feel good motherhood statements.

    • @pb
      May 24, 2016 at 5:45 am

      .You said “ Little mouses afraid to make decisions”

      Hey wash your mouth out! I am Kleinefeldmaus. You are insulting me by associating this group with me and my family!
      But otherwise – agreed ho ho.

      • pb

        Words slip out sometimes. But if someone isn’t offended, you probably aren’t living. I can’t imagine spending my day balanced on a pin, thinking through a PC filter, trying to look through a honey bottle. Try “Muad’Dib” the kangaroo mouse of Arrakis.

  20. Elizabeth

    Tue, 24 May 2016
    ODT: Property again deluged
    One of Dunedin’s most badly flood-affected properties last June faced more of the same, when heavy rain pummelled the city yesterday.
    In the 24 hours to 4pm yesterday, 62mm of rain fell in Dunedin city. Some of the heaviest falls occurred about 5am. Places affected by flooding on June 3 last year, were affected again and knee-deep water was reported in some areas.

    “Water poured through the access way to Joy Hall’s Glen Rd, Dunedin, property yesterday, threatening a footbridge already damaged in last year’s floods.”

    Earlier story
    12.3.16 ODT: Flood insurance ‘nightmare’ (+ video)

  21. Elizabeth

    Malvern St, Woodhaugh – 24 May 2016
    Jeff Dickie 20160524_095126

    Jeff Dickie reports: “The flooded area from yesterday has been swept clean this morning but no response to my DCC calls yesterday. There’s an ongoing risk of flooded basements and no access even in moderately heavy rain. Still, it looks better cosmetically now. Let’s just hope it never rains again!”

  22. Sally

    I don’t know what you are all complaining about. There is no money for infrastructure upgrades, only for cricket score board upgrades. You cannot have everything done at once, and a score board is more important. Advertisements can be played on it during breaks, and that all helps towards Dunedin’s economic development. Council have once again got their priorities right. No need to cull this lot.

  23. alanbec

    Forget it, Jeff, it’s Malvern. Near Tonbridge Wells.

  24. Peter

    Jimmy. I get your point about the club. CEO, Mayor and others in the circle. It happens. I understand why in terms of forging a working relationship but the problem arises when the club loses objectivity and hunkers down into a cosy self congratulatory group.
    You never know with these people, especially when they don’t play a straight ball and like playing political games.
    I well remember Harland on the eve of the stadium go ahead fronting a report on the risks of building it. No doubt to cover his arse and make sure it was correctly put on the councillors to decide. Yet, no one was in doubt that he was keen as mustard to build it. Document trails show this so he isn’t actually covered.
    Bureaucrats do play games. At times they are even helpful with information, but that doesn’t mean they will go the next step and actually do anything to ameliorate a wrong, to investigate red flags of likely fraud.
    That is what we face under the Cull/ Bidrose Council.

    • Calvin Oaten

      Jimmy you state that there has been a $60million shortfall expended on repairs, maintenance and replacements of the stormwater system over the last two years. That is less than the sum of around $36million per year in debt interest exported out of the Dunedin economy to the banks. But hey! we’ve got a stadium, Conference Centre, cycleways, and possibly an aquatic centre to build for Mosgiel. So what’s not to like? As long as it doesn’t rain.

    • Elizabeth

      The GCFO is now the DCC fraud officer and he has been working reasonably diligently, it appears, to tidy up council books. Having already uncovered some not inconsiderable accounting uglies and inconsistencies within the system.

      It’s very clear that avenues for fraud are being shut down and investigation is happening – even though the logic employed around the Stadium and Citifleet is not yet fully (openly and transparently) reported… and they will stay festering wounds unless a new mayor and council resolve to communicate clearly what has transpired from the Chin/Harland/Stephens/CSCT/ORFU years up to the present day under the Cull regime – and including the Bob Heath to Brent Bachop years of vehicle trading/crook service contracts and parts dealing…. as well as staff use of fleet cars inside/outside work hours up to today.

      Not forgetting the macabre unnecessary losses of tens of millions of dollars of rates funds by Delta Utility Services Ltd across its operations including for speculative subdivisions at Luggate, Jacks Point and (presently) Noble-Yaldhurst – all because successive and present mayors and councillors are incompetent at governance as much as reading financial reports and asking the hardest questions of less than astute Directors running the council company boards.

      Sick dogs and suits.

      But we are very close to understanding the scope of these rorts and ‘infidelities’ in dollar terms.

      Particularly (of late), where Delta is concerned in all its god awful splendour overseen by a young, highly remunerated and rather untested CE – and a board crippled by old boys and ‘sheltered’ by the mechinations of those heading DCHL such that the shareholders(!) are without eyes or a voice on dismal LOSER-business practices and unrelenting sequential financial failure.

      Severe change is required.

      I’m very certain Dave Cull is not up to leading that task. This is election year. His greenie pals on Council (young and old, female and male) are Complete Rubbish and very much Part of the Problem. They are Not Accountable. Nor are their weak-chinned mates outside DCC, so don’t let them in.

  25. Anonymous

    Spoke with a taxi driver today who said the stand across from the casino was flooded and high enough to damage the inside of vehicles. I don’t recall seeing images about that area on the local media? Maybe it was too busy mopping against the rising tide. Possibly a pleasant change from sweeping under the rug.

    • Peter

      Oooh naughty naughty our old mate Hagaman won’t be pleased about a flood outside his hotel. I bet the DCC attend to that drainage problem promptly. Bugger the voiceless of SD.

  26. Elizabeth

    █ Engineer Neil P. Johnstone, MIPENZ has informed me this evening that he is considering producing a review of technical comments made at the DCC Infrastructure Services Committee meeting held on 26 April 2016.

    Mr Johnstone is a member of the South Dunedin Action Group (SDAG).

    Meeting video: https://youtu.be/bEPPkIf5SPk

  27. Diane Yeldon

    Mr Johnstone’s effort in reviewing what was said at this meeting would be very much appreciated because some really interesting comments were made by staff at that Infrastructure Services Committee meeting. Stuff I have never heard at DCC meetings before, or read in their documents, to say nothing of reading in ODT. For example, it was hard enough to find in writing the DCC’s claim that the water infrastructure was designed for a 1 in 10-year heavy rain event. At this meeting, I think staff said the SD stormwater system was designed to cope with a 1 in 3-year event but in places is managing only 1 in 2 and that the DCC requires new subdivisions to be built to cope with a 1 in 10-year event. So there’s obviously a big quality gap there.
    Let’s hope better and more accurate information helps the newly elected council get their spending priorities right.

    • Lyndon Weggery

      Diane – the impression I got was that Dunedin needs to upgrade to 1:10 year rainfall but [the WWS manager] has told them that would cost over $1B !!!!

      {Moderated. -Eds}

      • Diane Yeldon

        Hi, Lyndon, yes, independent local hydrologist Dave Stewart has made similar public comment without putting a figure on it. See: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/344762/dont-blame-climate-change-city-deluge-weather-experts-say

        The city is too indebted to borrow money to fix the water infrastructure significantly faster than already planned and the residents not well-off enough to be able to manage significant rates increases. So there is no fast comprehensive remedy. The only slow one (which will probably take decades) that I can think of is to strictly limit council spending to absolute necessities, get out of debt as much and as quickly as possible, even by selling non-strategic assets, and piecemeal buy hopelessly recurring flooding and slip damaged properties to bail individual landowners out – on condition of no admission of liability.

        I keep dreaming of a ticket for the coming elections – FIX THE DRAINS AND BALANCE THE BOOKS. Voters have short memories and many elections are won on immediate pressing issues. Most of the current lot of councillors are likely to be seen as part of the problem, rather than the solution. I dread seeing Dunedin getting more of the same and all these individual property owners with stuffed land and homes getting picked off one by one by a bullying and heartless council.

    • Calvin Oaten

      Staff said the South Dunedin stormwater system was designed to cope with a 1 in 3-year event but in places is managing only 1 in 2 and that the DCC requires new subdivisions to be built to cope with a 1 in 10-year event.
      I doubt very much that former chief city engineer Trevor Williams nor engineer/ surveyor Bruce Hendry would agree with those claims.
      Those figures are obviously taken from the stats ‘grab bag’ that covers all contingencies such as “conferences in Dunedin bring economic benefits of $10milllion” or build the Stadium and the University will get an increase of 500 efts plus the region will benefit by $20million per year. I feel sure that a survey of those affected by the June 2015 event would show that this was the first time water had invaded their houses, if not in their lifetime. certainly not in 2, not in 10, not in 30, not in 40 yearly intervals. In a word, the system as it exists has performed to design, since its upgrade many decades ago despite the increased density of building that has occurred. Of course routine maintenance of the system to ensure optimum performance at times of notable (not catastrophic Biblical) rainfall needs to be carried out. This, as the reports clearly show, was not being done, and looks likely to continue that way if budgeted future expenditure is any indication.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Calvin, as you probably know, the maths behind these expressions is a bit mind-boggling and, since based on statistics, really amounts to sophisticated guesses very much dependent on the data used and how long it has been collected for. And guesses based on what happened in the past make the unproven assumption that the future will be more of the same. If a system is said to be designed to cope with a 1 in 3-year heavy rain event, then it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that you would get a flood every three years (!). (But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t! See below.
        How does the public, council staff and the elected reps get a clear and realistic picture of the state of the city’s water infrastructure and its capacity? I would defer to experts who I could trust and those who have no axe to grind. Not many around and experts in private practice are unlikely to want to cross a class of big potential employers like councils. If councillors are being warned not to make any statements implying liability, you can bet that staff are too.
        But a completely different and perhaps clearer measure might be council expenditure on water infrastructure per annum compared to population of the city. Then compare that with other cities both in terms of expenditure and the relative annual extent of stormwater damage to properties. (Erosion and landslips as well as flooding.) Maybe it’s just as simple as saying that a prudent council should be spending a certain percentage of the value of its water infrastructure on maintenance of that asset every year. And, of course, making sure the work is done to the correct standard, maybe by independent reviewing.

        Quote from above: Hydrologists don’t like to hear a term like “100-year flood” because, scientifically, it is a misinterpretation of terminology that leads to a misconception of what a 100-year flood really is.

        And speaking of landslips, my heart goes out to this young family: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/384886/out-limb-landslip-left-out-lim

        • Hype O'Thermia

          This article is a jumble – no blame to bewildered reporter, who would need thumbscrews and the LGOIMA to get unequivocal answers from highly trained “communicators”.
          Contradictions. Lack of communication, maybe true, maybe ducking for cover, maybe reports were never produced, never received, or were mis-filed.


          ~ EQC said the address was affected by the 1994 rain event and a landslip had caused “minor damage” to the property. Miss Bradley also provided an email from QV showing the valuer was aware of the landslip.

          ~ …in February 2015, they were told by a geotechnical consultant to leave immediately because the home was no longer safe. After leaving, the couple uncovered a 1996 report, funded in part by the council,

          ~ EQC confirmed the property was damaged in 1994 but no settlement was made as the amount was below the insurance excess.

          ~ “There was no previous record of a landslip on this site – therefore no historical information was available to be reported.”

          ~ The council asked QV to revalue the property following the 2015 event and was “considering whether a further [rates] remission is warranted”.

          …..and on and on and on, another couple effectively homeless but still being screwed for rates for a property that was bought on the basis of incomplete records.
          Who did all possible homework?
          Whose record of competence and compliance and communication stinks? (Just wondering.)

        • Diane Yeldon

          Hype O’ Thermia: a prime example of FLAW (Fundamental Law of Administrative Working.) ~ “There was no previous record of a landslip on this site – therefore no historical information was available to be reported.”
          In other words: “The real world is what is reported to the system.” And, in this case, it has to not only be reported but also officially registered and not lost somewhere.

          If councils have no duty of care in the matter of the fitness of land to live on in their jurisdiction, I really wonder what they are for.

  28. Gurglars

    A report of a visit by the hon. Rollande de Gurgelars VC and Captain Cook etc. to the Noble Subdivision at Yaldhurst YESTERDAY.

    Apologies- Photos are not provided as The right Hon. was running late, but all one could see was ever rising levels of savannah running through the sections, the access roads and the too narrow feeder roads. The sign “Mortgagee Sale” dominated the landscape, the absence of potential buyers palpable, the scene desolate for Grady Cameron, Mr. $900 per diem, Graham Crombie, “Cull the Mayor”, presumably Murray Frost, the Kains and everyone except bottom feeders. Whilst subdivisions in other parts of “Christchurch Stuffed” are going gang busters, Dunedin ratepayers seem one of the few land investors to miss out on burgeoning profits.

    First impressions were that there is only one hope for the Savannah.

    An extension of the Lion Park, or perhaps a Giraffe Park which is the only animal I can think of which would be able to see across the weeds in the roads to cross safely. Imagine–

    Zebra crossings could be relabelled —“Giraffe Crossings” and Delta could get into the tourism business as New Zealand’s first Safari owners.

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