[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
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
Election Year. This post is offered in the public interest.
Filed under Business, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Health, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium
Tagged as 3 June 2015 Flood, Accountability, Affected parties, Business, Civil Defence, Community organisations, Democracy, Disaster recovery, Dunedin, Education, Flood event, Flood prevention, Housing, Infrastructure, Public consultation, Public Meeting, South Dunedin, South Dunedin Action Group, Transparency
13 responses to “Public Meeting: South Dunedin Action Group #tonight”
Elizabeth I thought that was an excellent way, that is, to kick off the election campaign too. Since people all over the world (UK and USA) are finished with the old guard maybe this year the citizens of the Dear Old Reekie’s namesake will vote the greens out of the DCC?
Dunedin South MP Clare Curran opened the meeting with a moving citation from Rebecca Macfie’s recent investigation, ‘Flood Fiasco’, published in the Listener 11-17 June 2016. That set the scene for the public meeting very effectively when read in combination with her breakdown on South Dunedin as a community: 15,000 residents, 1200-1400 small businesses, 7,000 employed, three high schools [Clare’s list continued]….. She said the “need for trust and confidence between any part of government, whether it’s local or central, and the community, is essential” …. [yet] “there are four MPs from three parties at Dunedin, but not once has DCC sought a meeting before or after the floods” ….
[excerpt] Listener Jun 11-17 2016 p28
Clare Curran has really come up in my estimation with her vigorous pursuit of various issues of local importance, including this one on the South Dunedin floods. I once had no time for her, not helped by her rudeness to Bev when she met her as President of STS. Even Woodhouse was more courteous.
Now she has really lifted her game as an MP and is getting stuck into our hopeless council.
Good on you, Clare.
Good reporting Elizabeth from one SDAG member sitting right beside you last night. The highlight for me of course was pointing out in question time to the DCC that despite the assurances of “consultation” the 2GP is steam rolling ahead including a special Natural Hazards Zone that will adversely affect South Dunedin. When I pointed out that there had been minimum consultation on this proposal (17 people turned out to the South Dunedin Workshop in late 2013) and a lot more information had been gathered since then;a promise was given by the DCC to look seriously at delaying this process untill more consultation with affected parties was carried out. Notwithstanding Hearings on this proposed Zone are due in early 2017 there seems no good reason to rush this process till the joint ORC/DCC update is presented next month to Council.
I sat at the back of the hall and learned more from the practical questions asked from the floor than from Bidrose and Stokes in terms of the contributing causes of the flooding: Corner bulges, Kaikorai Valley et al. I had the feeling that the present managers at the DCC are grappling with problems that are not of their making. It has taken a quarter of a century of bad governance and bad decision-making to reach the point we are at now and with Stokes in the job for only four months when this happened, I was encouraged at the way she is getting to grips with the problems faced and the limited financial resources, thanks to vanities like the stadium and so on. For me the simpering sorry from Bidrose fell flat, and still the elected representative sat unwilling to empathise with the victims of their folly. Until that happens I believe that most of the residents of the flat will feel that their struggle has gone unrecognised. I do not live anywhere near South Dunedin, but I felt that many of those attending would have left feeling rather hollow given that the councillors they had voted for do not have the courage to stand up and say “I recognise your struggle and the difficulty that this failure has meant to you.” Ray Macleod was inspirational in his naming and shaming of the line-up of green-ish dabblers and urging voters to ignore them at the ballot. There was another long-serving south ward councillor who could not move his backside enough to even front-up. Be assured Ray that I have never voted for any of them and never will. I must say that I felt sick when I read in the “Listener” of the plight of the residents at Radius Fulton home and even now most hill-dwelling Dunedin residents still do not understand what happened that night.
Elizabeth, You must show this effort by Sue Bidrose described as
“Flogging a Dead Horse”
In which Miz Bidrose, stuck in an Oxford learned brogue, continues to [talk past] Dunedin ratepayers and devalue South Dunedin real estate. To what end? Could it be that the DCC seeks government funding in order to reduce their unmanageable debt?
Good that the MP has done a good job in making things known, but where from here? Did the meeting pass any resolutions? What did the meeting decide? More importantly, did the meeting or the SD group decide to actively communicate to those SD ratepayers who weren’t able to be at the meeting any advice on voting in October?
A speech from China must have provided huge comfort to SD residents – not!
The meeting passed a resolution to incorporate the South Dunedin Action Group. This in order for SDAG to serve the South Dunedin community as a strong representative voice.
DCC’s lack of consultation to date in discussing the future of South Dunedin was underlined throughout the meeting but there were “mixed messages” from DCC on how that could be resolved. There was some pressure on DCC to be seen to do the right thing but all this is weakened by the fact there is no emergency plan in place for South Dunedin – nor have any steps been articulated for how to achieve this through community input and co-operation.
SDAG chairman Ray Macleod used his final comments to effectively place a vote of no confidence in the mayor and council without having to do so. His primary concern, clearly stated from meeting start, was putting the people of South Dunedin first, well ahead of infrastructure concerns. [of course the two are closely connected]
Ray drew everyone’s attention to weakness in the proposed 2GP which threatens to completely undermine the survival of the South Dunedin community (following on from Lyndon’s well stated observations above). Especially, with respect to the hazard zone overlay. He also raised the matter of provisions for “sensitive activities” as defined by DCC in the plan, and which are a nonsense as currently drafted. He said that a similar approach taken at Christchurch had been strongly rejected. He believes, rightly in my opinion, that if the 2GP is not fully [and fairly, read ‘natural justice’ for South Dunedin people] consulted then South Dunedin and everything it stands for will be lost.
Let the Dialogue commence.
By the by, amongst other things including future Community meetings, DCC is looking to provide mailout updates, and re-open its community drop-in centre at South Dunedin to assist locals (this operated post-flood).
Hopefully SDAG will produce a summary of the meeting at their Facebook page and I hope Ray’s speech will be uploaded there too.
Kate Wilson with her foot in the mouth letter in the ODT supporting commissioners at Southern DHB just might be the answer for South Dunedin’s problems, Sack the council and bring in the commissioners.
In fact, last night Ray Macleod said the South Dunedin Action Group might well exercise the option to call in commissioners to replace the mayor and city councillors.
It makes good sense.
Although SDHB commissioners show how those with an eye for personal fees-collection and zeal for polishing their Central Government connections, can get themselves on a Worthwhile gravy train of enviable riches – without any mandate at all to deliver Democracy to the people, for years on end. Or perhaps never.
Think of post-quake Christchurch and eCan for the dire news on commissioners.
Closer to home.
SDHB Commissioner Kathy Grant made sure to not hold in-public meetings for quite an unlawful stretch yet nobody is blinking an eye to censure her in a court of law, in order to seize back some of her outrageous fees for the Otago Southland people requiring better if not timely medical care.
SDAG spokesman Ray Macleod was right in implying that the “green” agenda within council was leaning toward a policy of “strategic withdrawal” from South Dunedin “by stealth”. CEO Dr Bidrose’s denial of such a plan was tepid -to say the least- when set alongside Mayor Dave Cull’s comments that it was an option which could not be counted out. Dr Bidrose then said such an option would “be a last resort”. She’s right about that!
She and Cull go on to say, “this threat was evidenced in a report by parliamentary commissioner for the environment Jan Wright, which identified 3000 homes as being located less than 50cm above sea level in South Dunedin. Jan Wright of course simply repeats in her report almost verbatim, the uncorroborated predictions of the IPCC, none of which has stood either the test of time nor been supported by empirical facts. Mr Cull’s speech tacitly agreed that there was a lack of facts about the facts of Climate Change in South Dunedin, but his council would take the risks very seriously.
It would seem without doubt, that council and the administration have very little understanding of what they can do, largely due to budgetary restraints upon the city’s financial position.
Their fallback position seems to be to fudge, stammer, deny, blame all and anything they can, rather than ‘fess up’ and admit “We have a problem and due to misplaced expenditure by present and past administrations the good folk of Dunedin are going to have to face the shared burden of substantial rate increases, and increased debt servicing levels, in order to salvage the future of Dunedin as a viable city. It is council’s place to accept accountability for this sad situation we all find ourselves in.” From Mayor Dave Cull this would seem to be an unlikely admission.
All this is of little comfort to the residents and businesses of South Dunedin, leaving them all with uncertainty of their futures and values of their properties. Ray MacLeod is right in expressing his lack of confidence in the Mayor and his ‘green element’ councillors, seeking for their ouster come October.
Having attended last night’s meeting what was abundantly clear to me was that the Council’s communication with South Dunedin has collapsed like its drainage system. Every time the CEO mentioned material being available on the website there was a murmur of disapproval. Given the way the 2GDP consultation was heavily reliant on being online it’s clear that this methodology has failed. This was something that I wrote to the ODT about in December last year, with very little response. With a community of moderate and fixed incomes and low levels of disposable income to spend on smart phones and tablets, the notion of online connectivity is technically and economically out of reach for many in the South Dunedin community. This was quite clear in the numbers who attended the 2GDP workshop on Hazards management. With many older people preferring hard copy information there is a substantial gap in the communication and consultation process. What is deeply concerning about the consultation and communication process, is that there is no self examination by the Council as to why their methodology has not reached the target audience. Instead, it’s full steam ahead with all boxes ticked. That’s not a good recipe for a full and transparent airing of views in the community. This is why last night I took the opportunity to suggest to the Council that delaying the Hazards section of the 2GDP might prove a very useful olive branch. Unfortunately, I believe that now we are in the hearings stage that may not be technically possible. Given the urgency of the situation in South Dunedin and anger in the community it seems time that the Council create a manned service centre for people to be able to interact with the Council. Another issue that I was curious about last night was the presence of the Communications Manager from the Council. My understanding is that this is a very well resourced department of the Council, but clearly it has not performed at a level that allows citizens to participate in the democratic processes many take for granted. Given the age of many of the South Dunedin citizens I doubt that many of them can even read the very fine print of the much vaunted FYI. It’s time that the City Council created a physical presence in this community.
*2GDP second generation district plan -Eds