Public Meeting: South Dunedin Action Group #AllWelcome

SDAG Meeting Notice 20 Jun 2016 Nations Church 6pm[click to enlarge]

Date: Monday, 20 June 2016
Venue: Nations Church, 334 King Edward St, South Dunedin
Time: 6:00pm (1800 hours)

Facebook: South Dunedin Action Group

Message to Mayor David Cull

M E M O R Y • P R O B L E M S • C A N • H A P P E N • A T • A N Y • A G E
keep managed retreat and climate change out of local body politics

ODT 16.6.16 (page 12) —[click to enlarge]

ODT 16.6.16 Letters to editor Stedman Oaten p12

█ For related posts and comments, enter the terms *flood*, *sea level rise*, *stormwater*, *hazard*, *johnstone*, *hendry*, *south dunedin action group*, *debriefing notes* or *listener* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium

58 responses to “Public Meeting: South Dunedin Action Group #AllWelcome

  1. Gurglars

    As the weasel said to the stoat. It’s only a little hole that I’ve dug for myself.

  2. JimmyJones

    In his reply, Dave Cull continues with the same type of dishonesty as was described by the letters of Calvin and Conrad Stedman. He says “Neither I, nor the DCC, currently have a preferred option or policy for the long-term risks facing South Dunedin from flooding and groundwater“. He writes this with the intention of misleading ODT listeners because, while no decision has been made, the option of “Managed Retreat” (aka “Non-protection Options”) for South Dunedin is currently under active consideration by Council staff.

    We know this from the agenda of the Sustainability Audit Subcommittee (SAS) 18/4/16 where Dave Cull and Jinty MacTavish discussed and noted the Climate Change Adaptation plan which includes for South Dunedin citizens: “Develop non-protection options”. The SAS minutes clearly show that “a strategic withdrawal policy for South Dunedin” was discussed by Cull – which completely contradicts what he told Calvin Oaten.

  3. Elizabeth

    Can see this disparaging, disgusting treatment of the people in one of our best suburban communities ending in court action sooner than later.

    Then too, ODT has forthrightly allowed public comment on more than one occasion this year that says : Don’t vote for Dave Cull and Jinty MacTavish (said in the same sentence with barely a pause for breath….). There’s a bald compelling message from the independent press in that. Sick of the greenie fawning.

  4. Gurglars

    This is a very interesting discussion.

    The Dunedin City Council.

    Clearly refers to the Council, meaning that the councillors run the city.

    However over time the nomenclature has changed in meaning and now the council refers to the bureaucratic milieu that has grown up around the councillors, presumably initially to undertake the work required to administer the councillors’ views of managing city assets.

    Here Dave Cull has mentioned in the true meaning that the Council has not discussed “managed retreat” so he knows that Council means a meeting of the councillors. However the council, the bureaucratic milieu, Have discussed it, and in fact are preparing papers for the Council to Commence discussions. Technically he is correct (unless he initiated the preparation).

    There was a movie some years ago about the tail wagging the dog.

    It is pretty clear, from the many recent council lead fiascos, that we badly need a genuine dog instead of a lot of mealy mouthed puppies.

    And secondly we need him to bark, bite and bully until the tail remains right in the place our founding fathers determined when they named it the Dunedin City Council.

    And I would say it will take a fair upheaval before that tail should wag proudly as a result of measurable successful performance.

  5. Elizabeth

    Managed retreat for South Dunedin has been discussed by council policy planning and urban design / spatial planning operationals as far back as (within my participatory hearing during workshops and other consultations) the early Harland years, and maybe even before that. It’s been around a very long time at DCC – and the Mayor knows it.

  6. Diane Yeldon

    Managed retreat was mentioned in Christchurch City Council planning documents too, well over a decade ago. In fact, there’s probably few LTAs with coastal land who haven’t listed it as a possibility. But a possibility is not a policy. Whether it’s adopted or not depends on many considerations, for example: how highly the local community values the land involved, including its history and social values, how much the affected individual land-owners (including landlords) value their property and whether private insurers will continue to offer insurance.
    Since you can’t get a mortgage on uninsured property, I used to think lack of insurabality would determine outcomes, regardless of local government decision-making. But another more disturbing scenario has arisen in Christchurch after the earthquake: landlords buying ‘as is, where is’ earthquake-damaged houses at a low enough price to be able to make a profit out of them whether they can be insured or not. And resulting in low quality rental accommodation in a housing market tight enough to give tenants little choice.

    This makes me wonder if greater local government investment in social housing is even more important than ever in giving low-income people better housing choices. It may be in the quality social housing area that local government funds are most effectively directed to assist the actual people presently living in high flood-risk areas, rather than directing efforts exclusively to the benefit of the the property-owners. Without such greater housing choices, there’s the disturbing thought that land deemed hazard-prone may turn into slums.

    • Elizabeth

      I doubt slums. This (South Dunedin) is Dave territory – ripe for coastal demo and development and rising real estate values since the science of climate change is not about to affect a solid suburb anytime soon. And meanwhile money can be made by sharks out of vulnerable people. Eg The Stadium – a toy for the Good Old Boys.

    • JimmyJones

      Diane: there are no problems that South Dunedin is expected to face for which Managed Retreat would be a viable solution. Currently South Dunedin is flood-prone, not because of the mythical rizing groundwater, but because the DCC has been, and continues to be, unwilling to provide a properly functioning stormwater system. The DCC has also demonstrated its reluctance to maintain the sand dunes (work is now proceeding after a long delay).

      Global Warming is the official policy of the DCC and the religion of Dave Cull and the other Greater-Greeny councillors. Could it be that they have become so disappointed with the absence of Global Warming effects that they are now trying to create floods by allowing the stormwater systems to remain defective? Then, when the floods come, they can feel validated, or at least be able to blame Global Warming and scare people into converting to their fear-mongering religion.

      Here are some handy facts:
      — South Dunedin groundwater levels have been measured by the ORC for several years and there is no sign of a rizing trend
      — the South Dunedin groundwater levels before the 2015 flood were completely within their normal range
      — sea-level rize at Dunedin is very small (1.3mm per year). At that rate it will take 461 years to increase by 600mm
      — there is no acceleration in this sea-level rize and therefore no human influence
      — it is wrong to assume that South Dunedin groundwater levels are linked to the sea-level (except for places close to the shore).

      • Diane Yeldon

        JimmyJones: I have been reading Ministry for the Environment website, also Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, and other sources, regarding the legal obligations (and costs!) central government is putting on local government with respect to planning for future natural hazards, ones which they generally expect to be associated with climate change. Those decisions have been made at central government level. However, at local level, there’s definitely a great deal of wriggle-room regarding exactly how those legal requirement should be carried out.

        There seems to me to be many inconsistencies and bugs in the present system, which has not really been very much tested in practice (teething troubles). For example, the legally-required ‘pre-cautionary’ approach assumes anticipating 100 years into the future, while the present Building Act assumes the life of the building will be 50 years. The pre-cautionary approach ends up, according to critics, with a ‘worst case’ scenario, with the odds of land, which has labelled as unfit for anything, actually suffering damage being quite low. The ‘managed retreat’ option has been called even by the PCE as very expensive. And you would have to be very sure of yourself indeed to be the actual decision-maker who said, “Right! Everyone out!” So I don’t envision many volunteers for the job.

        I don’t think the housing crisis, which is unlikely to go away, has been taken into account, because no-one is making any more land. So if you ‘retreat’, where do the displaced people go? In the Netherlands, people are living in houses which float in a flood, and some of these have been built in Britain near the Thames.
        I think Elizabeth might be right – instead of abandonment and slums, we might end up seeing the commercial exploitation and gentrification of areas like South Dunedin (buy sea-side land cheap!!!), despite those hazard warnings on LIMs (which should and perhaps can be contested, as they were in Christchurch.) But this would mean displacement of low-income property owners, who couldn’t afford to repair or upgrade to flood-protect their houses. But more quality social housing is needed anyway. Plenty of older people with homes presently can’t afford to maintain them even if they are not being flooded.
        I think there is a lot of room for local communities, maybe with their council speaking on their behalf, to negotiate with central government on just how this natural hazard planning should be carried out. And I think central government agencies will be amenable to discussion on details because even their own documentation, on which their regulations are based, admit great uncertainty about the future.
        You don’t actually have to aim at winning the war if you can win most of the battles. By that, I mean a great deal can be achieved by concentrating on the details. Here’s one for a start. As far as I know, the ‘natural hazard’ identification is in the draft District Plan. Is there any way of contesting this, property by property, like the way people can contest their ratable value? And (as they say in Parliament), if not, why not? Submissions to the plan should not be the only avenue of redress.

        And, as a fix for SD and elsewhere, I have to acknowledge, with my experience of a non-reticulated community (which greatly and often publicly debated water infrastructure), I’m not keen on whole water infrastructure network replacement. I don’t trust city-wide networks in the first place. I think distributed, rather than centralised systems, have a lot going for them. More resilient against failure and weird unintentional hydraulic effects. And easier to maintain and know it’s being maintained. More info needed for the local situation but wouldn’t like to jump to the conclusion that a whole of network replacement is the only option.

        • JimmyJones

          Diane: there are no significant natural hazards that I am aware of. Why don’t you address my point, which was this:
          there are no problems that South Dunedin is expected to face for which Managed Retreat would be a viable solution. Currently South Dunedin is flood-prone, not because of the mythical rising groundwater, but because the DCC has been, and continues to be, unwilling to provide a properly functioning stormwater system.
          Agree? Disagree? Why?

        • JimmyJones

          Diane: Whole of stormwater network replacement may have been mentioned at the ISC meeting as a way to manipulate the decisions of the meeting but it seems very likely that the process would be mostly gradual. Bigger pipes would replace buggered small pipes. Anyway the feeling of the meeting and staff is that there will be no upgrade.

          Also, you have failed to convince me that any alternative stormwater system is better than pipes in the ground. Anything you suggest needs to be cheaper, more effective and entirely below ground to avoid interfering with roads and houses. We aren’t having any open drains or lakes either. We just want a system that works, by which I mean – no flooding with a 1 in 10 year event and no floor level flooding with a 1 in 50 year event. What else do you need?

        • Elizabeth

          The people who built the current stormwater system (not that long ago) can likely refute any preoccupation with buggered pipes.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “the legal obligations (and costs!) central government is putting on local government with respect to planning for future natural hazards, ones which they generally expect to be associated with climate change” — where there are no future hazards that can reasonably be associated with climate change local government can comply 100% by doing nothing new. This is not the same as inducing hazards caused by natural events of the kind that previously had minor consequences, by deliberately spending system maintenance funds elsewhere.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    The well-meant rules about improving rentals disturb me. Properties improved to meet the standard WILL cost more to rent. Already there is not only a shortage of rental accommodation, there’s an oversupply of people who literally cannot afford even the cheapest housing, shabby and uninsulated.
    There is also a section who voluntarily live in poor quality housing. I did. How else could I save for a house of my own? People have various reasons for choosing the cheapest shelter, besides those being forced by insanely, cruelly, low wages. Preference to spend on drugs and alcohol, even if not strictly “addicted”, or work less and surf (ski, practice the xylophone, write a novel or research or avoid student debt) more while they can, while their bodies can still handle it and they don’t have children to worry about.

    Perhaps the fairest scheme would be a ranking, scale of 5 from superb to hovel, which would allow tenants to compare before even looking, and would make it possible to compare like with like. Perhaps there could even be a rent limit, or right to appeal through Tenancy Services, based on rent charged in relation to quality.

    Losing those rentals that would cost more to bring up to standard than they would return in a reasonable period is not, in my opinion, helpful.

    What of those houses that are worth very little and might as well be pulled down and the section sold – for someone else to build a house the people who rented it couldn’t afford? Gentrification forcing poor people further away from their ‘hood – work, schools, neighbours.

    Forced improvement of rental stock will do nothing that couldn’t be more satisfactorily and fairly achieved by raising wage rates of those on the lowest rungs of the ladder. And scrub income tax for incomes under a certain limit, less costly (bureaucracy, admin) than top-ups such as Working for Families.

  8. Elizabeth

    Apparently Jinty MacTavish is already signed in as Deputy Mayor should Dave slice into the mayoralty again, by splitting the vote.

    Do you want this Dunedin ?

    Do you want to bring your houses down ?
    By the hand of someone who has never worked in business in a senior role or gained professional expertise in anything.

    Avoid giving votes to Flapping Ducks.

    • Gurglars

      Speaking, as you were about flapping ducks, Elizabeth, whilst I was gardening (having a white wine) (medicinal) observing the harbour, I noted a bevy, a gaggle, a large number of geese in a V formation heading out. Away from Port Chalmers, to the North East, a direct route to Canada. Obviously the grapevine for Geese is operating well, they have heard the call of “Cull de Geese” at Port Chalmers domain and have peremptorily headed off to Canada hoping for a warmer reception there.

      Let us pray!

      We verily hope and pray that “Cull de Mayor” takes note of the intelligent response of “Cull de Geese” in heading to Canada, and whilst we would not wish to burden our Canadian “persons” (see new National Anthem) with another goose. Better them than Us.

  9. JimmyJones

    I am worried that the South Dunedin Action Group (SDAG) are thinking that they have all done a great job and now they can go home. The group have helped to push the DCC to take action to remedy the mudtank problem and the sabotaged design of the Portobello Rd pump screen. The thing is that there are three restrictions: the unmaintained mudtanks, the bad pump screen and the old and buggered pipe system. The SDAG need to know that all three restrictions need to be fixed to improve the capacity. Just doing the mudtanks and pump screen is not going to be enough to safeguard the people of South Dunedin when the next big rain comes. The pipes are the main problem.

    At the 27/4/16 ISC meeting Mayor Cull led the meeting into accepting the “do nothing” policy which they had agreed to last year. The Infrastructure Strategy and the Long Term Plan prescribe this approach which aims to maintain the current level of service for the various catchments. The important thing is that areas with very low levels of service will be maintained at those very low levels of service and so will remain flood prone (South Dunedin, Mosgiel etc). At the meeting this was clearly explained by the Water and Waste Manager. Some councillors were surprised to discover that they had agreed to this when they agreed to the LTP and the Infrastructure Strategy last year. In the end, they passed Dave Cull’s motion for staff: “to report back to the Infrastructure Services Committee in July an update on progress against the 30 year Infrastructure Strategy ~~.

    To achieve compliance with the Infrastructure Strategy staff need only to do nothing (no improvement), so it is very likely that staff will report back that progress has been satisfactory. Dave Cull’s motion will have deceived some people into thinking that something beneficial was achieved. The problem will be adequately fixed when all of the city’s stormwater catchments reach the national standard of coping with a one in ten year rain event. Currently there is not the slightest sign of any change from the “do nothing” policy. While this change is essential for the well-being of the city, it is a terrible inconvenience to the mayor, staff and councillors who would be forced to make severe spending cuts to their various money-wasting projects. Very disappointing for the stakeholders as well. For the SDAG, the battle has just begun, don’t give up yet.

  10. JimmyJones

    I think it is useful to repeat this What if? comment which describes the state of the South Dunedin stormwater pipes. ICMPs were commissioned by the DCC for each catchment and published 2011:

    The South Dunedin Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP) describes many of the problems with the pipes. The ICMPs are here. Here are some random quotes about the pipes:
    — An analysis of the South Dunedin pipe network indicates that a number of pipes are over 100 years old (the theoretical life of stormwater pipes). Of note are the pipe networks on Hargest Crescent, Queens Drive, Royal Crescent and the Bay View Road / Portobello Road intersection; all areas where flooding issues or hydraulic bottlenecks have been identified.
    — Network age could be contributing to adverse effects on a number of levels; via under-sized reticulation causing flooding; poor condition increasing pipe roughness hence reducing conveyance capability; or breaks and cracks allowing contaminant or salt water ingress.
    — Failure to remove silt and gravel from the catchpits mud-tanks] can also lead to siltation and hence capacity reduction of the pipe network; siltation has been identified as an issue in some areas of Dunedin
    — Flooding in the Ascot Street / Royal Crescent area is most likely to be driven by a combination of undersized local pipes and the hydraulic grade line from the confluence of the system with the Portobello Road stormwater lines. [various other undersized pipes mentioned]
    — Hydraulic bottlenecks have been identified in a number of locations, where they are causing manhole overflows, resulting in nuisance and deep flooding. Although the entire network has a low level of service, attention to these bottlenecks would most likely reduce the severity of flooding in the particular locations affected.
    — Network Condition and Age: The age of the assets could be a
    concern for several reasons; impedance of flow (poor condition), leakage (in or out), and contaminant ingress (from pipes passing through contaminated sites)
    — Progressive network upgrades and coordination of works (renewal and upgrade) may enable the hydraulic bottlenecks to be resolved via infrastructural solutions, however local improvements and flood protection works may be required in the short to medium term.
    — Because deep flooding in the South Dunedin catchment is predicted to affect a number of habitable floors, it is categorised as manage actively. Options for mitigation of flood effects will be explored, in conjunction with the pipe renewals process which may have an influence on some areas.
    — Because of the potential for groundwater infiltration (potentially contaminated), and the low pipe gradients in the catchment, the assessment of the ageing pipe network in the South Dunedin catchment should be prioritised as part of the DCC renewals programme. The extent to which the stormwater network is providing land drainage (‘drawing down’ the groundwater levels) in the catchment would, however, need to be examined with respect to the potential replacement of pipes- new pipes would result in less infiltration, and hence potentially raise the groundwater in some locations.
    — The current level of service for the network in this catchment varies across the catchment, but is approximately equivalent to a 1 in 2 yr ARI rainfall event.

  11. Diane Yeldon

    As JimmyJones says, the Infrastructure Services Committee meeting of 26/4/2016 makes it clear that nothing has changed. Regarding the resolution, there was a discussion to include the word ‘mitigating’ because both council and staff know that, as things stand, in the short term, further flooding cannot be prevented. There is nothing here to ‘re-assure the community’, Cull once more seeming to confuse his pronouncements with reality.
    I wonder if a council should be able to ask central government to declare a kind of procedural state of emergency, freeing them from the ponderous legal planning and budgeting processes and allowing them to fast-track as much available funding as possible towards mitigating completely foreseeable disasters. At the moment, Dunedin is much like the damsel in distress, tied to the tracks, with the train fast approaching.

    Excerpt from Minutes below:
    The Mayor spoke to his motion. He said Dunedin should expect more severe stormwater events and more flooding in the future. To reassure the community staff are addressing areas that did not perform as well as they should. The pump screens blocked and these will be replaced by July. Mud tanks are being cleaned out at the moment, so all of that should enable the system to operate optimally, however if the city had another event like last June it would still have a flood.

    Moved (Mayor Dave Cull/Deputy Chairperson Mike Lord) that the Committee:
    a) Notes the report and asks staff to report back to the Infrastructure Services Committee in July an update on progress against the 30 year Infrastructure Strategy noting particularly:
    • South Dunedin Stormwater and Sewerage infrastructure
    • Mosgiel Stormwater and Sewerage Infrastructure
    And a timetable for updates on possible measures to ensure that stormwater management in South Dunedin is capable of preventing and/or mitigating flooding caused by severe rain events.
    Motion carried (IS/2016/003)

    • JimmyJones

      Diane: I don’t know what you are on about. Which “completely foreseeable disasters” are you foreseeing? And which train is fast approaching?

      The only completely foreseeable disaster is the next flood due to the continued refusal of the staff/mayor/councillors to provide a properly working stormwater system. This failure is a serious short and perhaps long term risk to the city. What could possibly be a bigger threat than a repeat of the 2015 flooding. This should be our focus. There is no bigger threat and not even any other threat as far as I can see. So, what do you see? Be clear about what you are saying so we can talk about it properly.

      Diane and me have had more discussions at the ODT – see here »

      • Diane Yeldon

        JimmyJones: My opinion on that point, (if I had one and I don’t because I’m not well-enough informed) is not going to make the slightest difference to anything! But I have no doubt that various measures can be taken by both council and property owners to mitigate flooding on the worst affected areas. And that the present stormwater system is, without any doubt, way below reasonable capacity.

        • Elizabeth

          Hi Diane, you say “And that the present stormwater system is, without any doubt, way below reasonable capacity.”
          That is an opinion based on no technical data. It is incorrect and requires some qualifiers.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Re “stormwater system is … way below reasonable capacity.”
          How long is it since it was functioning properly – clear and unrestricted from intakes to outflow?
          It’s not easy to tell how satisfactory it is when it’s sabotaged by neglect.

          I’m wondering if S Dunedin has become an “inconvenient” suburb. Its old shopping centre has been given generic tarting-up but the shops haven’t morphed into High Street boutiques glowing with prosperity. Much of the housing stock is old and doesn’t fit the aims for “warm dry housing”, nor is it likely to. And it fits perfectly with the doomster climate change cultists’ projections, low-lying enough to scare people about sea level as long as they don’t find out about the actual measured rate of sea level rise.

          There is a lot to recommend encouraging / frightening people away. With public money creating parks and “water features” and present life-expectancy of buildings, developers could create a lush seaside “community” – pity about the genuine community already living there.
          Collateral damage, eh. Into each life some rain must fall; one person’s loss is another’s gain. Am I unduly cynical?

        • Elizabeth

          I think we all need a good wedding – that would put a shine on City Hall.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Yes, exactly. The next flood is the completely foreseeable disaster I was referring to.

    • Calvin Oaten

      Mayor Dave Cull has moved a motion -as he does- to the effect that asks staff to report back to the Infrastructure Services Committee in July an update on progress against the 30 year Infrastructure Strategy noting particularly:
      * South Dunedin Stormwater and Sewerage infrastructure
      * Mosgiel Stormwater and Sewerage infrastructure.
      And a timetable for updates on possible measures to ensure that stormwater management in South Dunedin is capable of preventing and/or
      mitigating flooding caused by severe rain events.

      Now this poses a host of problems:
      First, there is obviously a dearth of expertise within staff to bring any meaningful report about anything of that nature. If there was then the problem would not be here.
      Second, if it means calling in consultants then what chances does anyone new to the situation have of offering anything of substance by July.
      Third, even if meaningful solutions were presented, where in the budget, or even the city’s financial ability is there room to carry out any effective mitigation?
      Fourth, with the current and recent past councils’ squandering of the city’s treasure on fanciful projects which have taken the consolidated debt to around $600million, there is no possible way that meaningful upgrade work can be entertained without either massive rate increases or a blowing out of that debt.

      Even as the Mayor prattles on about how effective council has been in reducing expenditure and debt and at the same time holding rate increases to a self-imposed 3% per annum.
      I’m afraid the Mayor and council in this regard exist in ‘la la land’ hoping against hope that nature will behave until they have all moved on, which might well be sooner than they plan.

      • JimmyJones

        Calvin: the part of Cull’s motion that says “a timetable for updates on possible measures to ensure that stormwater management in South Dunedin is capable of preventing~ ” is pure spin-doctoring because “possible measures” is not a commitment to do anything and it appears that there has been no extra funding allocated in the Annual Plan for these so-called possible measures – no money means no action.
        Also, as I said, progress against the Infrastructure Strategy is progress against nothing. The Infrastructure Strategy calls for no stormwater performance upgrades. Everything stays the same, even the areas with substandard stormwater systems like South Dunedin and Mosgiel. It’s a trick.

  12. Diane Yeldon

    And remarkable improvement in the way Minutes and Agendas are displayed on the DCC website :

  13. JimmyJones

    Elizabeth: further up the page you said:
    The people who built the current stormwater system (not that long ago) can likely refute any preoccupation with buggered pipes.

    Neil Johnstone, our engineer and peer reviewer certainly doesn’t share my view that the state of the pipes was the biggest cause of the restricted flow. His review (18 May 2016) of the DCC’s second report makes this clear. In paragraphs 9 and 10 Neil explains why he believes the South Dunedin system is performing far better than a one in 2 or 3 year rain event. He says the system was upgraded around 1960 and coped with a severe rain event in 1968.

    It has been a DCC tradition to underfund pipe renewals, so it seems that deterioration is likely to have occurred since 1960. We know that only part of the system was upgraded in 1960 and other pipes are now over 100 years old. The latest ICMP, from a somewhat independent consultant, gives details of the problems with the pipes (see my list, above) and assesses the performance as poor, capable of only a one in two year event. At the 27/4/16 ISC meeting the knowledgable Water and Waste manager tells us about the low levels of service and what she calls a one in three year performance. I don’t see why the DCC would want to admit to this, and so for me, the weight of evidence from the ICMP, the ISC meeting and the poor performance during the moderately heavy rain on the 24/5/16, is that the pipes are buggered. I believe that Mr Johnstone is wrong on this point.

    The pipe network in South Dunedin and many other catchments does not reach the DCC’s target of a one in ten year event, which seems to be the standard throughout the country.

    • Elizabeth

      Bruce Hendry has his views also, he was the DCC Surveyor.

      I understand Ruth Stokes is to speak at the Monday evening meeting. As well as Gavin Palmer (ORC). Acting deputy mayor Andrew Noone, and Jinters will be there. And the Chief Executive.
      Scary times for the assembled possibly.

      • Elizabeth


        Bruce Hendry and Darrel Robinson who would know better than anyone are adamant that the condition of the infrastructure is good plus.

        JimmyJones and others might like to re-read Rebecca Macfie’s Listener
        article, and note their comments there.

        As Neil Johnstone maintains: pipes don’t work that well when they’re blocked at both ends, even when they’re brand new. Or when the attached stormwater pumps aren’t used.

      • JimmyJones

        So far the experts that believe that there were no problems with the stormwater pipes are: Neil Johnstone, Bruce Hendry and Darrel Robinson. On this one point, all of them are wrong. I say that the network of South Dunedin stormwater pipes was, and is, substandard and this was a contribution to the 2015 flooding and is a continuing risk for when the next big rain comes. These people have done good work and I have no other criticism.
        I believe that the pipes are buggered because the South Dunedin ICMP tells me so and so does the DCC Water And Waste Manager and the DCC CEO.
        The ICMP was prepared for the DCC by URS New Zealand Ltd. Each of you will need to judge for yourself if the ICMP is a credible source of information. I have given you some relevant quotes from it on this page (June 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm) or you can read the pdf »HERE«
        Most of the time of the DCC Infrastructure Services Committee meeting (ISC) 27/4/16 was spent not discussing the mud-tank cleaning nor the badly designed pump screen, they were talking about the bottlenecks in the pipes and what to do about the areas with low levels of service and about the cost of upgrading the network and why they can’t afford it in a time of “austerity” and why they have no plans to upgrade the bad areas. The point is that Council staff and councillors are convinced that the pipes are buggered. I am with the DCC on this one. Also they were motivated to keep the substandard pipes a secret so that people didn’t discover that they didn’t know what they were doing, so they have nothing to gain from making things up.
        Johnstone, Hendry and Robinson tell us that the pipes were upgraded recently (1960~) and so everything should be fine. This claim contradicts the ICMP which tells us that 46% (by length) of South Dunedin stormwater pipes were installed in 1940 and before (Table 4-3). The ICMP is credible because it has detailed information about how old the pipes are and where they are. Some pipes are good, some are not. The net result is a low level of service for the renters and ratepayers of South Dunedin.
        From what they have written, Johnstone and Hendry show no sign of being aware of the ICMP and they seem unfamiliar with the content of the ISC meeting. Their claims about the pipes should not be accepted until they have properly assessed the South Dunedin ICMP and the 27/4/15 ISC (YouTube video). Don’t believe me, don’t believe them, decide for yourself.

        {Apologies for late publication JimmyJones, found in Spam. -Eds}

  14. Hype O'Thermia

    At the time of the flood intakes (mud tanks) and outlet were so blocked that they were responsible for the majority of damage caused by heavy rain.
    Later we learned that mud tanks had not be cleaned for a year.
    It was here, or was it in the Listener, that a mud tank sucker truck operator said that where tanks were cleaned regularly it was a quick job but when they were left a long time between cleanings the fine material solidified below the outlet pipe and had to be chipped and dug out, taking half a day per tank IIRC.
    This brings me to the question about whether the pipes between intake and outflow are or aren’t OK.
    If the same fine material had been washed into the pipes during light rainfalls, when water flow was not swift enough to clear them right out, could this not have likewise have been deposited in a thin layer, then another layer, then another, catching extra on joins and bends just like gravel washed down a creek?

    We know about the year when there was no sucker truck here at all but “nobody” noticed, or if they did, didn’t think it was anything to get agitated about. So I wonder what the cleaning regime was like in previous years – regular and often enough to be a quick job, or once in a blue moon with perhaps some pressure not to take too long on any tank, so the manual removal of solidified material could have been perfunctory to keep to the daily schedule.

    There was, I believe, information given out that camera inspections had not occurred because of the time and expense of draincam.

  15. Elizabeth

    ODT 22.6.16 Letters – To the point (page 12)

    ODT 22.6.16 Letters - To the point Oaten Chave p12 (2) sml

    The previous correspondence:

    ODT 16.6.16 (page 12)

    ODT 16.6.16 Letters to editor Stedman Oaten p12

    ODT 17.6.16 (page 10)

    ODT 17.6.16 Letter to editor Johnstone p10

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Neil Johnstone asks a question about a matter of wide interest, in a public forum. If his previously released material about the flood is inaccurate this is very important to many people, S Dunedin people because it impacts directly on their lives and the rest of us because it’s our rates money involved in core business – water intake > drains > outlet being a matter of concern. The DCC person says he’s in error on various points but won’t say to the public i.e. me and you, what’s incorrect. It’s no help to me and you for them to discuss it with Neil Johnstone out of public scrutiny, we need to know.

    For one thing, should those with funds in search of investment opportunities encourage the Chicken Licken chorus of “The sea is rising, you’re all doomed!”, join it, shout it loud and scary so as to snap up cheap South Dunedin properties?

    At the current rate of less than 2mm a year that’s 20 years before it’s 2 centimetres higher, that’s a good long term investment opportunity, as long as the DCC doesn’t “forget” about maintenance of the drainage system again.

    • JimmyJones

      Hype O’Thermia: the official figure for Dunedin, measured at Port Chalmers is a sea-level rise of 1.3 mm per year which is the length of your pen per century. John Hannah (Otago University dept of Surveying) has optimised the Port Chalmers tide gauge and analysed the data to produce the figure of 1.3mm/yr. This data is of good quality and is accepted by the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level ( For Dunedin this is the only source of good quality data. NASA’s satellites can not measure near land. The ORC has a tide gauge at Green Island, but its data is of low quality.
      This makes South Dunedin a good place to live, once we get a mayor and councillors who will give proper priority to essential infrastructure and who will stop tormenting the citizens with their talk of “managed retreat”.

  17. Hype O'Thermia

    Thanks, JJ.
    At the current rate of 1.3mm a year that’s 1.3 centimetres in 10 years, so 20 years before it’s 2.6 centimetres higher.
    Why are South Dunedin people being given scare messages strongly suggesting that those whose properties were affected by the flood should sell up and get out while they still can?

    The mayor has been careful since that first-response blurt to phrase his sea-rise CC-beliefs in terms of working on strategies planning for… and so on, so strictly speaking he is *innocent* of driving further panic.

    • JimmyJones

      Hype: in a very pedantic way Dave Cull and his kind might claim that they are innocent. This doesn’t stop the demoralising effect of his talk of future options and such and the real harm to property values and the local economy. I think they wanted this to be a gradual exercise and didn’t expect resistance and political damage to themselves. The SDAC meeting brought this out into the open and gave Managed Retreat more publicity than they wanted. We now see CEO Bidrose strenuously emphasizing that there is no plan for Managed Retreat (CH39 & Radio 4XD). This can be seen as a pull-back, a slowing of the pace in the lead-up to the election. The difference between saying that there is no final plan and the staff actively considering various types of “non-protection options” for South Dunedin (see SAS 18/4/16 agenda & minutes), is something to ponder.
      Disclaimer: Nothing in this comment is intended to cast doubt on the honesty, competency and motives of CEO Bidrose and her staff.

      • Elizabeth

        Comes down to which councillors – by name – are demanding the ‘retreat’ work by staff. And who combined… make to look holy as the underhand slippage and manipulation ensues – like they’re aghast at the picture framing them as Baddies. But hey, their Good Cop ain’t working!

        Name and shame.
        Which councillors and their off-stage business friends want to hoover up cheap property at South Dunedin given The Political Damage now underway cf sound bites from Our Leader since the June 2015 flood.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        It’s not necessary to say something outright to convey a strong message.
        See it every night on TV shows, the bad guy says “It would be terrible if your house caught fire….” and the cops say “you’ll make it easier on yourself if you…..”

  18. Simon

    More than one Councillor is involved in flats and renters. Should they not be declaring their interests?

  19. Calvin Oaten

    Anecdotal of course, but isn’t Mayor Cull involved in rented properties? Just asking. Elizabeth, mayoral aspirant Aaron Hawkins is tweeting, castigating the ‘deniers’ as he terms them and alluding to the sea level disaster looming. Say no more.

    • Elizabeth

      We should feel honoured to receive mention, Calvin.
      Means Cr Retreat-Hawkins is taking deniers seriously.

      Tell him to buy a lifebuoy and waterwings, we need a new photo at St Clair….

      REMEMBER THIS (lost youth):

      Thu, 12 Jun 2014
      ODT: Secret is out on beach
      St Clair Beach has been voted one of the best beaches in New Zealand. Dunedin’s sandy drawcard was chosen among the nation’s top 10 beaches in an Automobile Association poll. […] “It’s a good thing to get recognition for something that Dunedin people have long known – that we’ve got some of the best surf beaches in the country,” Dunedin City councillor Aaron Hawkins said. “St Clair Beach has a place in Dunedin’s psyche; it’s a very strong part of our community spirit.”

  20. Calvin Oaten

    “St Clair has a place in Dunedin’s psyche; it’s a very strong part of our community spirit.” That’s a deeply significant observation, even if it disappears under his expected sea level rise. Is he Mayoral material? Doubtful.

  21. Lyndon Weggery

    Calvin – I have been dialogueing with Aaron on Facebook about his reaction to the SDAG meeting last Monday night. He has been given every chance to present a balanced view on South Dunedin and a very polite warning that his electoral chances (both Councillor and Mayor) in October depends on his response. I trust he is reflecting on this because I made it plain there are no votes on the Flat for being idealogically driven without supporting hard data.
    I also made it plain that when the joint ORC/DCC report on groundwater levels etc is presented to these two Councils next month by Dr Gavin Palmer then that is the time to formulate a measured response on the subject. If he is wise he will carefully reflect on my advice.

    • Elizabeth

      Lyndon, impressed.
      Advocacy for the greater good wrt your mention of the forthcoming “joint ORC/DCC report on groundwater levels etc”. Without the hard data DCC has been perceptibly weak, uneducated and dishonest about the causes of the June 2015 floods.

      I doubt very much that Ms Bidrose’s recent utterings about an Opus report will have much credence against the ORC data. Indfeed, Neil Johnstone had referenced ORC data for his reviews of the DCC flood reports.

  22. Richard Stedman

    Lyndon, Without wishing to muddy the South Dunedin waters,so to speak, I am absolutely drawn to conclude that neither Mr Hawkins nor any of his 10 colleagues who passed a motion to remove the voting rights of Cr Vandervis have any place at all around the council table or any other body of governance until they reverse their position regarding the rights of an elected representative to fully represent those who elected them. This action struck at the very heart of our democratic process and you may dialogue with Hawkins until the cows come home, but nothing changes the fact that he has clearly demonstrated his disdain for the principles that are guarded closely in a democracy. Only the electors, and I will repeat, only the electors can remove the voting rights of a representative and the opportunity to do that occurs every three or so years. To say otherwise is a bankrupt proposition. Mr Hawkins and his colleagues must fully understand that their actions in this regard are totally unacceptable.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Good point Richard.
    Selective uptake of facts, part-time respect for electors – Dunedin deserves better.

  24. russandbev

    Agree with Richard, Lyndon. “Dialogueing with Hawkins” is a pointless exercise, but my understanding is that Cull will not allow anyone to speak or raise a point of order unless he “recognises” them. Trying to convince the green faction that they will lose the election is, I repeat, a waste of your time. Far more productive to spend the time communicating with voters who actually decide what is what. Look no further than Cameron in the UK.

  25. Calvin Oaten

    As an aside, I see where someone is canning NZ air to sell to the people of pollution struck cities in China. (No, I’m not talking about Dave Cull) but real heavy particulate pollution affecting respiratory functions.
    Here it is: “One hundred grams of fresh uncontaminated New Zealand air”. Breathe this and feel the relief immediately. Good for what ails you: That is the story on the can. Turn then to the ingredients list and we find:
    Contents per 100grams:
    Nitrogen 78g
    Oxygen 21g
    Argon .9g
    CO2 .04g
    Neon .0018g
    Helium .0005g
    Methane .0002g
    Hydrogen .0005g
    Caution, careful on the CO2 it is reputably not good for anyone.

    {Media link added. Related post: 7.3.15 Pollution in Chinese cities -Eds}

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    METHANE? They’re selling METHANE? For human consumption?

    {Wikipedia on Methane Gas -Eds}

  27. Richard Stedman

    Elizabeth, Getting the discussion back on thread:
    On Sunday at 8pm veteran journalist Neale McMillan talks to Ray Macleod of the South Dunedin Action Group and myself on Pulse of Politics on Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and 1575AM or online at
    The half-hour programme repeats at 8am on Monday, or you can listen to it on podcast from Monday afternoon. This is a sequel to Pulse of Politics of a fortnight ago when Neale’s guests were Lyndon Weggery and myself on the DCC’s response to the South Dunedin floods (also available on podcast on the OAR website).

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