Tag Archives: Citizens

Planning for South Dunedin, but wait….

Received from Malcolm McQueen
Wed, 20 Apr 2016 at 8:44 p.m.

Planning for South Dunedin in the face of the rising sea level
20/4/2016

The floods last year in South Dunedin have provoked discussion as to what are appropriate policies that Dunedin should adopt regarding planning for this area.
Concern that rising sea levels as a result of global warming brings urgency to consider this problem.
The area is low lying and even a modest rise in sea level may make the frequency of flooding a serious problem at some time in the future, possibly to the extent that the area becomes unviable as a residential area. A rise of 300mm may increase the danger of severe flooding to an unacceptable level.
A timely but not precipitate response is required. The cost of the response may be huge in both financial and social costs for the city if a solution such as “a retreat from the sea” is undertaken.

But predictions are predictions, they are not yet actual.

We are fortunate in Dunedin to have an accurate and reliable record of sea level. Indeed the safety record of our port attests to this. This record indicates that the sea level in Dunedin is rising at the rate of 130mm per century. Figure 1 shows the sea level as measured at Port Chalmers taken from the “PSMSL Data Explorer” http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/map.html. And note that there is no observable increase in the rate of rise over time.
At this rate it will be 230 years before a 300mm limit is reached, well beyond our planning horizon, say 2100.

Figure 1. Sea Level measured at Port Chalmers via PSMSL Data Explorer [psmsl.org]Figure 1. [click to enlarge]

However, claims are made that the rate will greatly increase and so pose a threat that we must consider immediately. But note that in order to reach a 300mm rise before 2100 the rate of sea level rise would have to increase by a factor of 270% above that currently observed.
It would be irresponsible in the extreme to undertake extreme action without carefully examining the validity of the claims.
We must consider if and when a response is required. What reasons do we have to expect such a catastrophic rise?

I address four points as to why I do not consider the predictions of catastrophic sea level rise to be well founded.

Validity of predictions

1) As discussed above, the available sea level data gives no indication of an impending catastrophic sea level rise.

2) Rising sea levels are a claimed consequence of rising temperatures. Thus for the prediction of rising sea levels a precondition is that temperatures should be rising. That this should be so is confidently accorded to by the IPCC. However, reality is not quite so simple.
Figure 2 shows the average temperature as recorded at the Musselburgh Pumping station by NIWA in its CliFlo database. http://cliflo.niwa.co.nz/

Figure 2. Average temperatures at Musselburgh [cliflo.niwa.co.nz]Figure 2. [click to enlarge]

Although this is a local measurement and rising sea levels are claimed to be a consequence of rising global temperature, the absence of significant warming and no evidence for any increase in the rate of warming must cast doubt on predictions of imminent catastrophic sea level rise.

3) The track record of predictions regarding climate change does not give rise to confidence in the validity of those predictions.
For instance in 2007 the Australian Climate Commissioner, Tim Flannery, claimed that Sydney was “facing extreme difficulties with water”, in 2008 that: “The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009.“ and others regarding an endless Australian drought.
These claims were influential in the decision to construct desalination plants in Australian seaboard cities at a cost of about $10 billion. His predictions have not come true, the drought broke and the plants have not been needed. This expense is probably not a complete waste as the plants do provide insurance against future droughts which are sure to occur.
Other predictions that have been made:
– from the UN in 2005, “50 million climate refugees by 2010”
– from Dr David Viner, of University of East Anglia, who confidently asserted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.
– and many others too numerous and many too silly to comment on.
All these predictions have failed to eventuate.
I suggest that we should not take at face value the predictions of claimed experts without corroborating evidence such as trends in the historic record or the success of previous predictions.

4) Sea level rise is largely due to melting of continental ice sheets exceeding their gain from snowfall. This is not an easy measurement to make accurately. It has been assumed that melting exceeds accumulation thus contributing to sea level rise. However, recent satellite measurements by NASA cast this in doubt. In fact they indicate that the opposite is the case.
Ref. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greaterthan-losses

Conclusion

It is critical that we should have a high degree of confidence in the predictions of sea level rise before committing ourselves to very expensive and socially destructive remedial or mitigation policies.
The issue at hand is not one of the reality or otherwise of global warming, we need make no commitment on that issue before deciding the fate of South Dunedin. The climate has changed over the millennia and will continue to do so. The issue is the making of a timely and appropriate response to its flooding problems.
The points I make above are intended to show that the confidence in alarmist predictions is misplaced and are insufficient in themselves to provide a sound basis for planning.
It is clearly unnecessary to address this problem immediately but continued attention is required so that appropriate actions can be taken if the situation is observed to change.

Fortunately in New Zealand the data relevant for making decisions such as that posed by planning for South Dunedin’s future is publicly available and of high quality. Citizens should avail themselves of this the opportunity of consulting the data themselves to draw their own conclusions rather than rely on second hand interpretations.

“You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows” Bob Dylan.

[ends]

█ For more, enter the term *flood* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

11 Comments

Filed under Climate change, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Geography, Infrastructure, New Zealand, People, Politics, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, South Dunedin, Town planning, Urban design

DCC: Council consolidated debt $623 million

If taken together, core council and stadium debt has increased $130 million, from $240 million to $370 million, during the past three years.

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Sep 2013
Varied stances on question of debt
By Chris Morris
Dunedin’s debt mountain is reaching new heights, but the Dunedin City Council says everything is under control. Reporter Chris Morris speaks to the city’s mayoral candidates about whether they would do anything differently. The eight men and one woman who want to be Dunedin’s next mayor are divided over debt. They are divided over the figures, divided over the plan and divided over what they would do differently.
Some have declared themselves happy with the Dunedin City Council’s approach to debt repayments. Others remain opposed, and have called for cost-cutting, more money from the council’s companies and even for assets to be sold, including Wall Street mall and Forsyth Barr Stadium. And, in the meantime, the debt mountain continues to climb towards a projected peak that is still two years away.

As it stands, the council’s consolidated debt – shared between the council, its companies and the stadium – has reached $623 million, council staff confirmed yesterday.

That was up $125 million since the start of incumbent Mayor Dave Cull’s term in mid-2010, albeit mostly – but not completely – as a result of spending on major capital projects agreed to by previous councils.
Within the debt mountain, core council debt – the bit ratepayers are directly responsible for servicing – stands at $225 million. That has actually gone down $15 million, from $240 million in 2010, but only because stadium debt – totalling $145 million – has been split from the core council debt tally, to become its own category, since 2010. Add the $253 million in debt held by Dunedin City Holdings Ltd and its subsidiaries – the council’s group of companies – and the total reaches $623 million.
Read more + Mayoral Candidate Views

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Mayoral candidates 2013Dunedin Mayoral Candidates 2013
Left to right, (top) Hilary Calvert, Dave Cull, Kevin Dwyer, (middle) Pete George, Aaron Hawkins, Olivier Lequeux, (bottom) Steve McGregor, Lee Vandervis, Andrew Whiley

DCC website — electoral information

Council Elections: STV Q&A – see Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgelar

Faces appearing – and disappearing – in all manner of places (ODT 26.9.13)

Vote

### ODT Online Thu, 26 Sep 2013
Editorial: Rights and responsibilities
While the eyes of some people glaze over at the mention of local body elections, the fact is they offer the biggest opportunity for the average citizen to influence the direction of their community for the next three years – and often much further into the future.
Postal voting papers should now have been delivered to households, and voters have until Saturday, October 12, to make decisions about who they want to represent them as mayor, on city or district councils, community boards, licensing trusts, regional councils and health boards.
The choices we make in these local body elections will affect us, and others in our community. They influence everything from the health services we receive, to roading, water and sewerage infrastructure, social, cultural and sporting and recreational amenities, and planning and development. There are services we take for granted, those we believe are fundamental to our lives, those we bemoan the lack of, and inefficiencies we believe frustrating or unnecessary.
The choices should not be made lightly. Voters are encouraged to carefully read their supplied candidate and voting information and as much other material as they can source in order to make informed decisions about those who will then be expected to make educated decisions on behalf of us.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

120 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Stadiums, What stadium

Ownership and management of the Dunedin Town Hall complex, incorporating Municipal Chambers

Comment – Calvin Oaten
Submitted on 2012/02/06 at 1:07 pm

The Skeggs Gallery, last time I saw it was in the Municipal Building. As I also understand it, that building was built and owned by the DCC, and by extension the citizens. Have they established stratified titles in that building? If so, how come there has been no public notification of that intent? Indeed, is there any documentation of council approving of that process? If the answer is no to all of those questions, then how can part of the whole be said to be sold? Even if it is ostensibly to a CCO. Something very peculiar seems to be going on here, and it does not look to be to the citizens’ advantage. And they think there is disfunction in Christchurch. Link

See thread for related comments:
Davies “in the middle of a conversation” – how to fudge DVML, DCC, ORFU and Highlanders

6.2.12 ODT Online Venue subsidy plan

Report – FSD – 09/02/2012 (PDF, 96.9 KB)
Community Access to DVML Facilities

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

5 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Construction, DCC, DVML, Economics, Heritage, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site

Local government

Local government in this country is not delivering to the expectations of communities, and not just in strife-torn Christchurch City, writes Mike MacLeod, chairman of the Draco Foundation.

### ODT Online Fri, 3 Feb 2012
Opinion
Christchurch symptomatic of system
By Mike MacLeod
If the local government sector was a person they would be ponderous, socially-inept and morally bankrupt. They would be filthy rich and very lazy. If you had a problem they would not care and if you complained because something they did hurt you or your family, their response would be “so sue me”.

Even though the Local Government Act 2002 clearly outlines how local authorities should be run, it seems to be treated more as a loose guideline than a statutory requirement. And there is absolutely no recourse open for the public to demand compliance with the Act, aside from the extreme provisions allowed to the minister.

Read more

The Draco Foundation is dedicated to the protection and promotion of democracy and natural justice in New Zealand and among its many activities operates Council Watch and the National Residents Association Database. Further information can be found at www.civilsociety.org.nz (via ODT)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

4 Comments

Filed under DCC, Economics, Geography, People, Politics

HELP, if the elected Council was bright

The Dunedin City Council faces a financial meltdown of unprecedented proportion; a squalid bankruptcy of governance the cause. No-one knows the true dollar scale of the problem and many of the accounts are closed to public scrutiny.

In the absence of a fully developed all-encompassing strategy to bring order to the books, the implication is the Council will leave it to generations of ratepayers to foot the bills. The cost will be to every citizen. In effect, that’s what the Forsyth Barr Stadium Debt Servicing Plan report to this week’s Finance Strategy and Development Committee says. The dangers of isolationist hands-off thinking.

Warren Larsen Report
Governance review of all companies in which Dunedin City Council and/or Dunedin City Holdings Limited has an equity interest of 50% or more.

From the time Larsen’s recommendations were adopted (Stuff 12.8.11), how long for the Council to ring changes? 6 months, a year? Longer, after the councillors are voted out or forcibly removed?

The lack of outward communication appears contrary to the imperative of Larsen’s report. By now, surely Council has an indicative critical path for release to the concerned public.

What are some ‘unearthing’ options for information?

Pin Mayor Dave Cull for the timeline to effect Larsen recommendations.
Forensic audit.
Statutory management.
Commissioner / Panel.
Legal action.
Independent senior business commentators to talk through details of logistical steps Council must take (in response to Larsen) to get its books in order – to avoid and retire cumulative debt, at the same time manage/streamline all Council business.

It’s all about a local authority corporate re-structure, involving large sums of borrowed money to clear. It includes identifying elements of usury, mis-spending, laundering, corporate fraud, deceit, ignorance, and incompetence; and, above all, hammering with all firepower what continues as Council’s unethical immoral avoidance of the fiduciary duty of care to Community.

A clear interpretation of what is now, what has been, and what lies ahead will be difficult if not impossible to achieve while obfuscation continues at DCC, DCHL, DVML, DVL, CST, and related entities.

It’s a chill air at Dunedin.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

27 Comments

Filed under DCC, DCHL, Economics, People, Politics, Project management