Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Natural Hazards Approach Being Revised
This item was published on 10 Apr 2015
The Dunedin City Council is responding to community concerns and revising its planned approach to managing natural hazards such as landslides, flooding and sea level rise.
Following public feedback from consultation carried out from June to September last year, the planned approach now has greater provision for flexible case-by-case assessment. This would apply where the level of risk is more uncertain or variable. In areas where risk is lower, there would also be opportunities to manage risk through measures such as minimum floor levels.
A technical assessment of the risks posed by natural hazards was prepared by the Otago Regional Council. DCC staff used this to develop a proposed approach for managing land use and development in at-risk areas. This approach, or preferred option, sees natural hazards managed through a set of hazard overlay zones.
Rules attached to the hazard overlays set out what activities and development would be permitted, the standards for some types of development and what may be assessed on a case-by-case basis through resource consent. Under the original proposal, approximately 8600 of Dunedin’s about 46,600 houses in residential zones were affected in one way or another by the proposed overlay zones.
DCC City Development Policy Planner Sally Dicey says the preferred option is still to manage natural hazards through hazard overlay zones. However, following submissions from 184 individuals and organisations, a peer review of a flood risk assessment and discussions with experts in the natural hazards and risk management fields, a revised approach is being developed.
Feedback highlighted the difficulties in limiting development where there was uncertainty around assessments of natural hazard risk, due to limited data, variations in and changes to topography, and site specific factors.
“Allowing for more case-by-case assessment provides greater opportunities to take site specific factors into account. Where the risk from a natural hazard is lower, mitigation measures will be required. These are likely to include higher floor levels for houses or requiring homes to be relocatable.”
–Sally Dicey, City Development Policy Planner
Developed areas within dune systems have been removed from what was originally proposed to be the extreme hazard overlay. This is because there is a lack of information about how erosion might occur over the next 100 years along our coastline. These areas are likely to be the subject of future studies and may be included in mapped hazard areas in the future. A strict management approach has been limited to areas where there is a high degree of certainty about the risk from natural hazards. Prohibited areas are no longer proposed.
“This is a sensible and practical response to balancing the known risks we all face and the concerns of the community. Staff should be congratulated both for the thorough way they have researched and prepared these documents and for responding in this way to the matters raised at public meetings and in submissions.”
–Cr David Benson-Pope, Planning and Regulatory Committee
Ms Dicey says it’s important to remember the proposed changes mainly affect new development. In general, existing activities will carry on as usual.
Hazard overlay zones are proposed for floodplains, low-lying coastal communities and hills prone to landslides. This includes areas such as Brighton, Karitane, Macandrew Bay, Waikouaiti, Waitati and parts of the Taieri Plain.
The Dunedin City Council is preparing a new District Plan, the second generation District Plan (2GP). The ultimate goal of the Plan is the sustainable management of Dunedin’s natural and physical resources. Under the Resource Management Act, the DCC is responsible for managing land use to avoid or mitigate the effects of natural hazards. The DCC is also required to consider the effects of climate change and keep a record of natural hazards. The District Plan is scheduled to be publicly notified in September. The revised approach to natural hazards will be released as part of that consultation process. That will give people an opportunity to raise any remaining issues or concerns on the revised approach.
█ A report summarising the feedback received last year on the preferred approach to natural hazards is available at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/2gp
Contact Sally Dicey, Policy Planner on 03 477 4000. DCC Link
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