DCC —godsakes, how did it get to this? #flood #property damage

Rain_Madness01 [cartoonstock.com]

“D for prolonged distress”

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Jun 2016
In limbo, sleeping in car (+ video)
By Vaughan Elder
A Green Island mother’s “nightmare” since last June’s flood has culminated in her being separated from her son, homeless and sleeping in her car. Tina Conway has pointed the finger at Dunedin City Council for her plight after staff repeatedly failed to discover a council mains pipe was leaking water on to her property, causing a bank to slip away in the June 3 Dunedin floods. It was almost 10 months after the floods and only after the Earthquake Commission (EQC) called in a private engineering company that the council fixed the pipe at the end of March.
Read more

Otago Daily Times Published on Jun 2, 2016
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has called on the council to act quickly to remedy the situation.

“The first reaction of the DCC when faced with a situation whereby private property is damaged – particularly by water – is to run for the hills, disclaim any responsibility whatsoever and blame anything else.” Cont/
russandbev at ODT Online

█ Read more about the aftermath of Dunedin’s June 2015 flood event at ODT tomorrow, Saturday.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year —this post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: cartoonstock.com – Rain_Madness01 | tweaked by whatifdunedin


Filed under Business, Climate change, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Travesty, What stadium

16 responses to “DCC —godsakes, how did it get to this? #flood #property damage

  1. ab

    Luxury! Young people today need to put off living in buildings and save save save! We didn’t. It’s this inability to accept basic standards that is dragging this country down to a nation of complainers. I shouldn’t be surprised if the DCC do something about this. Another cost to the ratepayer. Another thing, this woman is far too independent.

  2. Diane Yeldon

    Arguably institutional culture of DCC – deny everything and stall – for years, if necessary. And maybe refuse to acknowledge the existence of any drainage records which only they hold and would further any case against them. When this happened to me, I got the message from drainage contractors and lawyers that councils in general really play hardball over such disputes. They are big and you are small. In other words, they often dispense with considerations of justice and behave like bullies.

    Wonder if elected reps should ask for a continually up-dated register of water-damaged properties. Managing individual cases might be a management responsibility but any policy on how this is done overall is a governance issue, especially if there is reason to believe that these matters are not generally being resolved fairly. If the number of such water-damaged properties keeps increasing, then elected reps need to be informed, because such increases could be evidence of stormwater system inadequacy.

    Councillors can’t get involved when a dispute between a property owner and the council involves insurance claims and questions of legal liability. However, they can be informed about whether there are excessive delays on the council’s part. And the addresses of adversely affected properties. If a number of adjacent properties are adversely affected, then that’s another indicator that the problem might be in the council’s stormwater system.

    I think elected reps need to be pro-active about this issue. They need to be properly informed and kept up to date about anything that could be evidence of stormwater system inadequacy. I don’t think that has been the case in the past. Presently, they probably find out more about these cases by reading ODT than by reading any council reports. It would be nice to learn about any cases where the DCC has acknowledged fault. You would think there must be some ….

  3. Gurglars

    Diane, what part of which primeaeval forest have you been living in?

    Elected councillors in Dunedin speaking up, for ratepayers???

    Why would the habits of 150 years change now?

    What is required in the matter of the South Dunedin floods is a massive class action by a Slater & Gordon type outfit that sees a New Zealand judge slate the DCC over its appalling management of this issue. That or a Royal Commission are the only things that would light a fire under these entrenched ideas. Unfortunately the National government whether right or left are not keen to invoke a Royal Commission on anything due to the likelihood of such a move exposing National bureacrats and politicians.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Gurglars, local democracy mightn’t work very well but I don’t like the look of any alternatives. I hope we see more of this kind of thing: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/385669/offer-house-accepted

      • Diane Yeldon

        Two further measures: First, totally ban Mayor Cull from making PR statements. His constantly changing stories about the SD flooding saying that it was not the council’s fault have given the impression that the DCC doesn’t care and will do nothing to help people.

        Second: the powers of the Office of the Ombudsmen need to be extended to include decisions of the full council. Not whether those decisions are a good idea or not, which is a political matter. But whether the decision-making is being carried out in a lawful way. Plenty of council-watchers at the time knew that the stadium decision was being made behind closed doors involving only invited ‘stakeholders’. But the council could break the law with impunity and no accountability. Spending money on the flashy stuff rather than drains is the real reason for Dunedin water-damaged property.

        Note that the present elected council did not make these decisions and nor were the current staff involved. Very hard to ‘manage’ anything when other people have already spent and borrowed all the money they can.

  4. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz.co.nz Fri, 3 Jun 2015
    Call for support in South Dunedin flood recovery
    There are calls for city-wide support of South Dunedin in its ongoing efforts to recover from last year’s flooding. Today marks one year since the floods caused millions of dollars worth of damage to the suburb and its surrounds. But despite the time passed residents say they’re yet to see much progress made.
    Ch39 Link

    Channel 39 Published Fri, 3 Jun 2016
    Call for support in South Dunedin flood recovery

    • alanbec

      Your ref H, is to the Dadaist Minimalist “Boy With Tape On His Face”. It is not ‘stupid’. It is a genre of meta comedy perfected by Commedia del Arte, and popularised by Andy Kauffman. It is, in fact, both alarming and funny, except he’s really a Man With Tape On.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Radio news tonight, 1 in 100 people is “homeless” in the sense of not having a place of their own. Staying with family or friends, through to sleeping under bridges. It seems an extreme number, possibly includes all those teens and twenties who go back to live with Mum and Dad, not only the whole extra families and various other adults and kids that squash into a one-family house-shed-caravan-garage and tent “encampment”.

    Employment is more and more precarious, fewer and fewer people have enough savings to cope with minor emergencies, certainly not one wage-earner being out of work.

    And our planet-savers think we’re going to switch to using bicycles! Cycle lanes in low-income suburbs are such a blessing for South Dunedinites, ra-rah for us. (No, dear Green Genius, you’re thinking like a Lady of the Manor.)

    They’re OK for hipsters with a motor vehicle for foul weather and big shopping (mortgage-free homes and above-average incomes are a big help too) but not much chance of catching on with the precariat.

    Try sleeping in a bicycle.

  6. Elizabeth

    Given bold collective statements today at ODT I suspect courts needed to sort chalk and cheese from pure invention and obfuscation. Liability won’t go away anytime fast given the tens of millions involved.

  7. Elizabeth

    Douglas Field Published 4 June 2016

  8. Rob Hamlin

    These two rather alarming ‘opinion weepies’ have appeared pretty much ‘nose to tail’ in the ODT. My reaction to them is given below. We may have something to worry about there.



    As someone who worked very hard to get this place demolished I strongly disagree with David Latta. Shortly after pro-rugby moved into the new (and largely unwanted by ratepayers) FB Stadium, I was tipped off that, despite all the public blubbering and posturing about it, the first class rugby career of Carisbrook might not be over. It was suggested to me that the majority of the ratepaying public were not the only ones who did not like the new pygmy, roofed FB stadium and its fragile turf, and that a return to Carisbrook after a ‘polite’ pause might be a serious possibility.

    As supporting evidence for this suggestion, I was told to keep Carisbrook under observation to see if it would suffer the inevitable deterioration of a truly abandoned sports venue. Such deterioration can be readily seen on the Web via photo shots of many Olympic venues of recent years, particularly Athens.

    So I kept an eye on it. Miraculously, rather like Eva Peron’s corpse, it did not deteriorate one iota. After two years, the facility was still entirely intact and clean, the grass was pristine and even the posts were still in place – Why? Well, one possible ‘why’ had been suggested to me, and no other plausible explanation for this DCC preservation activity was forthcoming to my inquiries.

    This ongoing and strongly reinforcing evidence was alarming. It caused me to agitate actively through the media and in the upper levels of the DCC for Carisbook’s immediate demolition. It is my understanding that the arrangements to do so were among Paul Orders’ last acts. It’s just a pity that the bond terms did not include a condition to prevent the vacated site from lying temptingly idle.

    Despite questions about why the DCC had kept a supposedly abandoned Carisbrook in a state of ‘first class rugby immediate readiness’ for several years, and at a likely cost of to the ratepayer of several hundred thousand dollars, no explanation of the specific purposes of this apparently completely futile expenditure was ever given.

    It is worth considering what might have happened if my informant had been correct, and if Carisbrook had survived its pristine ‘hibernation’ to re-emerge as an active c. 30,000 seat venue. Had it survived and been returned to service in whatever role, we would now have around the city enough ratepayer owned or funded sporting venue seats to sit the entire City at once – and not even Nero achieved that.

    First class rugby might now be being played at Carisbrook, but only after the ratepayers had forked out for the NZRU mandated hefty and expensive upgrades that the construction of the FB stadium was supposed to avoid.

    As for the FB Stadium, well most of its ongoing non-debt cost is due to the presence of a natural grass surface under its roof. Only pro-rugby, of the many uses that were claimed for it when it was proposed, specifically requires this surface. Its presence actually compromises the FB stadium for nearly all of these other supposed uses. So, had pro-rugby moved out of this supposedly multipurpose venue, it is likely that the FB would now be astroturfed (at considerable further ratepayer expense), and fully sealed against the weather so that it is a halfway desirable and functional true indoor venue for all other non-pro-rugby purposes (at even further ratepayer expense).

    So, No – I’m glad that Carisbrook has gone. Even a real hole in the ground is preferable to the fiscal hole in the ground that the costs of its survival, refurbishment and ongoing operation would have created in this community’s public finances, which have already been severely ‘dealt-to’ by pro-sporting interests over the last few years.

    The only worse outcome in my view would be an entirely new ratepayer funded pro-sports facility rising upon this site. I can only hope and pray that this rash of Carisbrook-related in-depth opinion ‘weepies’ that have recently appeared in the ODT are not a prelude to seriously suggesting such a project.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    Rob, it’s all to do with registered valuations. Get a tame valuer, whisper in his ear the figure you want and ‘bingo’ the number comes up. That’s how Jim Harland convinced the council to buy Carisbrook for $7million. But by writing off the debt the ORFU owed the DCC it only cost around $5million. The ORFU had enough to clear its remaining debt to the BNZ and it still had the Burns St houses to dispose of. So moving on, the DCC sells Carisbrook to Calder Stewart for $3.6million or thereabouts which was on a deferred payment deal and I doubt that it has even been paid for yet. So the DCC in its desperation to secure the ORFU as a tenant for the FB Stadium bought Carisbrook, forgave the ORFU debt, then sold Carisbrook to Calder Stewart. In the process it lost some $3.4million plus holding costs on the purchase of Carisbrook [which the ORFU were supposed to pay but probably didn’t] and interest on the holding costs whilst awaiting payment from Calder Stewart, and it still hasn’t a signed tenant for the FB Stadium. See how business – like the DCC really is when the ‘rubber hits the road’, they are ‘boys among men’ and have been ‘suckered’ big time on this by the ORFU, The Highlanders franchise and the NZFU. End result, the ratepayers just pay and pay and pay, for generations.

    {See this comment for latest via ODT on the Calder Stewart deal/ payments for Carisbrook. -Eds
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/carisbrook-dcc-losses/#comment-73409 }

  10. Elizabeth

    So disenchanted am I with DCC I keep forgetting to read their website notices. I had read the ODT version, but here in it’s glory is the gold chain with an electioneering smell.

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    Mayor made accommodation offers last week – condemns MP’s stunt

    This item was published on 03 Jun 2016

    Mayor Dave Cull arranged two offers of accommodation for Tina Conway last week when she approached his office but she declined to pursue either of them. Tina’s house became uninhabitable after a bank in front of her house in Green Island collapsed during last year’s June flood. She had been staying in accommodation paid for by her insurance company, while awaiting a decision on her red stickered house.

    She approached Mayor Cull and his office offered a Council owned flat and a meeting with a social service agency to accommodate her in one of its houses. Ms Conway declined to meet with either of them. After making those offers the Mayor’s office tried a number of channels to get hold of Tina but it wasn’t until she appeared in the paper that it knew her current circumstances. Upon learning of Ms Conway’s situation today, Mayor Cull asked CEO Sue Bidrose to arrange accommodation and that was done within hours. She and her son are now in a three bedroom house funded from the Mayoral Relief Fund.

    Mayor Dave Cull says he is concerned that this matter has got to this stage when it could have been resolved at an earlier stage and even as late as yesterday with a simple phone call.

    “It could have been arranged yesterday if someone had simply called us.” Mayor Cull said. “I am disappointed the MP for Dunedin South made a political stunt out of Ms Conway’s desperate situation and thought it was better to have a vulnerable woman sleep in a car overnight rather than contact us to resolve the matter”.

    “I am really pleased that Tina has taken this offer of safe housing. I am happy to help as much as Council can in regard to assisting with accommodation, but liability issues are a separate matter that have been referred to the Council’s insurers. As such, the Council cannot comment further in regard to liability or repairs at this time.”

    Contact The Mayor on 4774000. DCC Link

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Didn’t she first get offered a rental property that she couldn’t afford – which was why she resorted to sleeping in her vehicle.
      After publicity she was offered and accepted accommodation which, if I remember correctly, this time is free of charge. Not inappropriately IMO considering the back-story of deaf ears, blind eyes and cattle effluent that she was given “free of charge” pre-publicity.

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