Tag Archives: Infrastructure services

Christchurch City Council : Highly Dubious Entity #YaldhurstSubdivision

Subject: Ongoing Property Dispute at Yaldhurst Subdivision

Christchurch City Council held a full council meeting on 27 July 2017.

Readers, the CCC meeting video of Agenda item 26, about Yaldhurst Subdivision, is recommended viewing/listening.

Legal advice to Council is given by Rob Goldsbury, CCC Head of Legal Services – an atrociously lacklustre, unjust and obstructive performance.

The Council stupidly steps itself into (again!) the Constructive Fraud Action being progressed at the Christchurch High Court by Residents/Caveators of the Yaldhurst Subdivision. Although, we see that Councillors supposedly have no idea they’re already in it up to their eyeballs through the actions of Council staff and issues of non-compliance. Interesting.

Christchurch City Council Published on Jul 26, 2017
Christchurch City Council VIDEO
27.07.17 – Item 26 – Yaldhurst Village Subdivision – Dedication of Road – Sir John McKenzie Avenue

The video continues at about 1:26 after a preliminary silence [muted blue screen] – keep watching. The quality of picture is poor throughout. The discomfort of those seen in the public gallery is most perceptible.

Meeting Agenda and Unconfirmed Minutes follow here below – minus Attachment A, Yaldhurst Village Lots 601,613 Plan.

The Council did not vote unanimously.

The Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board motion was lost.

With the second motion, in short, the Council resolved that Lots 601 (residential) and 613 (commercial) on LT 448725 will be dedicated under Section 349 of the Local Government Act 1974 as a road, in order for the road to vest.

The resolution goes against the Residents’ private property rights.

See the previous post to refresh on the Residents’ situation.

Note, by the votes for, the dishonesty and incompetence present.

Note, by the votes against, the integrity of those supporting the Community Board and members of their community: the private property owners (the Residents), in their protracted, brave and courageous fight against an unjust malevolent council staff working in cahoots with unscrupulous developers.

Vicki Buck is a class act.
Rob Goldsbury, an utterly shameful man.

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Christchurch City Council
Agenda

Notice of Meeting:
An ordinary meeting of the Christchurch City Council will be held on:

Date: Thursday 27 July 2017
Time: 10.05am
Venue: Council Chambers, Civic Offices,
53 Hereford Street, Christchurch

….

[agenda item]
Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board

26. Yaldhurst Village Subdivision – Dedication of Road – Sir John McKenzie Avenue ………. [page] 529

[the report]
Council
27 July 2017

Report from Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board  – 13 June 2017
 
26. Yaldhurst Village Subdivision – Dedication of Road – Sir John McKenzie Avenue

Reference: 17/733313
Contact: Richard Holland richard.holland@ccc.govt.nz 941 8690
 
Note that this report was left to lie on the table at the Council meeting on 6 July 2017.
 
1. Staff Recommendations
 
That the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board recommend to the Council:

1. That Lots 601 (residential) and 613 (commercial) on LT 448725 will be dedicated under Section 349 of the Local Government Act 1974 as a road, in order for the road to vest.

2. Note that a Deed of Indemnity will be executed by Infinity Yaldhurst Limited which will indemnify and keep indemnified the Council from all actions, proceedings and claims made by any land owner in relation to the Council accepting the dedication of Lots 601 and 613 on LT 448725, as road.

3. Also note that the Council shall not be required to issue a Section 224(c) Certificate under the Resource Management Act 1991 in respect to Lots 601 and 613 on LT 448725 until all the safety audit requirements as specified by the Council, and included in the Variations of the subdivision consent, have been physically built to the Council’s satisfaction.

4. That the General Manager City Services be delegated authority to negotiate and enter into on behalf of the Council, such documentation required to implement the dedication.
 
2. Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board Recommendation to Council
 
Part A

That the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board recommend to the Council:

1. Option 2 of the staff report, namely, That the Council not agree to a dedication process and inform Infinity Yaldhurst Limited to pursue the matter through the Courts in accordance with the Property Law Act.
 
2. That the Council agree to meet with the adjoining property owners to discuss options on a way forward regarding the Yaldhurst Village Subdivision.
 
Vicki Buck and Anne Galloway requested that their votes against the above decision, be recorded.
 
Attachments
There are no attachments for this report.
Continue reading

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Delta | Infinity | CCC staff collude to defeat Yaldhurst residents (again)

Yaldhurst Subdivision (former Noble Subdivision)

S T A T E ● O F ● P L A Y

Christchurch City Council is failing to ensure compliance with the subdivision consent and is then assisting the developer Noble/Delta – Infinity/Delta, to screw the Yaldhurst residents.

[click to enlarge]

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About five of the affected Yaldhurst residents gave deputations to the full meeting of the Christchurch City Council on Thursday, 6 July 2017.

Prior to the meeting, the Infinity Joint Venture of which Delta is a majority partner (with its $13m gift investment from Dunedin City Council) had convinced CCC staff to sway Christchurch City councillors to vote for the dedication of private roads as opposed to vesting ownership in the Council. This in the attempt to first defeat land covenants the affected residents have over the property registered in 2003 to protect their inclusion in any subdivision. However, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) cannot accept roads vesting in ownership with the Council when there are any encumbrances on the land – such as the residents’ covenants.

For the residents, Colin Stokes, at the council meeting, distributed to councillors a review of what CCC staff have done over the years.

Of course, as the facts flow they continue to entwine around Delta.

The residents are fighting to protect and enforce their rights in the subdivision consent; and to halt Delta and their Southern associates’ onslaught against them.

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Received from Colin Stokes (Yaldhurst resident and caveator)
Wed, 12 Jul 2017 at 9:16 a.m.

Thanks for your ongoing support Elizabeth

Chris Hutching’s piece (The Press 10.7.17) is weak and void of facts that present our case.

● We have Land Covenants registered over all the land in 2003 to protect our inclusion in any subdivision – our specific Access Lot road has to be formed and vested to Christchurch City Council standards with CCC as a term of extinguishment of the covenants.
● The encumbrance on the land prevent vesting of roads as LINZ won’t allow roads to vest with the council with them on.
● Infinity/Delta behind closed doors with CCC staff came up with a scheme to dedicate the roads under old rules (not compliant with the RMA and the subdivision consent) so as to circumvent our covenant protection.
● The real story is that CCC is breaking rules and NOT requiring compliance with the subdivision consent so as to cheat the residents of their protection and their interests protected by that protection so as CCC and the developer can cut them out of the subdivision.
● CCC and the developer Noble/Delta – Infinity/Delta have taken conditions out of the consent, varied the consent, and permitted non-complying undersized infrastructure that makes our part of the subdivision impossible – specifically stormwater pipes and basins required on the lower lying developers’ land which is where the consent (and physical topography and site layout) requires our stormwater to go.
● CCC failing to enforce the conditions of the consent as the law requires means our Access Lot road cannot be formed, meaning we can not subdivide.
● Delta with the misuse of mortgagee powers passed the property to itself, or at least part of the property ($13.4m of an $18.35m “sale” = 73% of which $12.5m was left in the property in passing it to Infinity in the orchestrated “sale”).

[ends]

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Prepared Summary and Review with subdivision plans as tabled at Christchurch City Council’s meeting (6 July), to assist understanding:

███ D 2017 07 04 Summary and Review of Circumvention of Covenants for Councillors Yaldhurst (16 pages)

1 Plan RMA92009135

2 Plan RMA92009135 hlite

The coloured plan shows the residents’ Access Lot between green lines going from Yaldhurst Rd and then dog-legging east to west. What is inside the yellow border is what is within the Subdivision Consent (note there is an internal yellow small 2 sites that are NOT in the consent – and 3 other of the residents’ lots in common ownership on the NS leg are not included in the consent).

It is this east west leg of the Access Lot that requires widened roading to enable the Lots each side to be subdivided pursuant to:-
– 2002 Agreements for sale and purchase (and 2008 further agreement)
– 2003 Registered Land Covenant Protection [see Summary and Review, page 1 para 2 for terms of extinguishment]
– 2009 Subdivision Consent (Condition 5 and stormwater Conditions for it 9.) [see Summary and Review, page 5 para 12]

The problem is
– the Security Sharing Joint Venture (Noble/Delta/Gold Band) SSJV designed and constructed their part of the subdivision such that it made the East West Access Lot owners (residents) parts of the subdivision impossible AND that the Council permitted this.

– Undersized stormwater infrastructure was corruptly installed without consent to NOT include the residents’ subdivisions (all the while falsely assuring residents it did).

– The stormwater is required to be on land the residents transferred to the developer in return for this stormwater and other provisions. It is required to be there for numerous reasons including physical and legal reasons;
* Residents transferred the land in return for this provision
* 2003 Land Covenants protect this land for that provision (required for the Access Lot Road to be formed and vested)
* 2009 The Subdivision Consent requires it to be on the developers’ land (Condition 9.5 which “disappeared”) [see Summary and Review, page 5 para 12 and page 10 email 16 Feb 2010]
* Residents that are part of that subdivision consent have the legal rights to the stormwater (s134 RMA) – the Council is refusing to enforce the conditions of the consent; and permitted the developer to NOT comply with the conditions.
* Land topography and layout physically requires it to go there. The land slopes High NWest to SEast Low

– Delta went ahead and constructed the infrastructure without legal consent – [see Summary and Review, page 10 email 22 Aug 2012]
* This is akin to a builder building a house without consent.
* Council failed to issue an abatement notice for works being complete without consent, and to non-complying standards.

For all the Council staff failings, and the consent holders and JV partners’ failings and corruption of making the residents parts of the subdivision impossible:-
– Delta/Infinity and Council staff are recommending to the Elected Council to vote to circumvent the residents’ Land Covenants so:-
* the residents roading and subdivisions will no longer be protected and will be impossible;
* the JV Infinity/Delta will make more profit by not having to comply with the conditions of the consent that requires the residents’ roading and inclusion (as above)
* Council staff “mistakes” and wrongdoing of permitting non-complying works and not enforcing the conditions of the consent (as required by law) will be covered up.

– Delta and DCC was the facilitator of transferring the property from the Delta/Gold Band/Noble Joint Venture to the Delta/Infinity Joint Venture.
– Delta (illegally) owned 67.5% of the 1st mortgage and controlled Gold Band through their Security Sharing JV.
– Delta’s assurances it had nothing to do with the mortgagee sale is a lie.
– Delta refused to allow Gold Band to accept offers to redeem the 1st mortgage (illegal under s102 & s103 Property Law Act).
– DCC refused to allow redemption of the 1st mortgage.
– DCC (and Delta) refused to accept assignment of the 1st mortgage when Colin Stokes and another (as parties with interests in the land entitled to redeem) offered it to them
* had they done, Delta could have registered about an additional $16m in agreements to mortgage they were sitting on
* all that was required in return was “our little road” which is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT of the subdivision consent in any event.

[ends]

As reported by The Press, the eight-year dispute involving the stalled Yaldhurst subdivision has now gone to mediation between the property owners and the developers.
The dispute has been aired in several High Court cases between the private landowners and the developers, which are continuing.

Related Post and Comments:
11.7.17 Delta has deep fingers into 8-year subdivision dispute at Yaldhurst

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *grady*, *luggate*, *jacks point*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *noble*, *yaldhurst* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Asbestos contamination at Dunedin Railway Station

[womentravelnz.com]

There’s a new tenancy at the Dunedin Railway Station.

People working on the project had been told the whole underfloor area was safe to enter; that there was plastic down.

Turns out the plastic cover ran short, and a number of site workers had crawled across bare dirt, kicking up a lot of dust as they went – it was found the area had been contaminated with asbestos.

We understand workmen from several companies have been affected.

The Dunedin Railway Station is a council owned property. Affected sitemen have since had their names added to the WorkSafe Asbestos Exposure Database; and Health and Safety meetings have been called to review safety drills and gear provision.

It appears a few people have slipped up along the ‘food chain’ of managerial responsibility for the workers, starting with DCC management (the building owner).

We hear DCC is now paying for workers to be educated on what protection gear they must wear on exposed asbestos worksites.

Related Post and Comments:
19.6.16 Thoughts on ODT Insight : Chris Morris investigates Asbestos plague

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

9 Comments

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Delta has deep fingers into 8-year subdivision dispute at Yaldhurst

Blind Justice (detail) by Beeler – Columbus Dispatch 2016 [caglecartoons.com]

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### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:37, July 10 2017
Delta and Infinity’s Yaldhurst subdivision dispute at mediation
By Chris Hutching – The Press
An eight-year dispute involving developers and a group of property owners in a stalled Christchurch subdivision has gone to mediation. Late last year Dunedin City Council agreed to authorise its Delta Utilities company to refinance a $13.4 million outstanding debt to go ahead and complete the Yaldhurst development along with Wanaka-based developer, Infinity. To allow the development to proceed, Christchurch City Council staff recently recommended the unusual step of “dedicating” the access road rather than “vest” it with the council. But a representative of the private property owners, Colin Stokes, told city councillors that his group’s rights to compensation for land for the road had not been addressed. […] The dispute has been aired in several High Court cases between the private landowners and the developers, which are continuing. Most people who originally signed up to buy properties at the subdivision have pulled out and meanwhile Christchurch’s residential property market has cooled significantly.
Read more

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Related Posts and Comments:
15.6.17 Site Notice : post(s) removal [we heard from Steve Thompson’s solicitors]
4.3.17 Christchurch housing : ‘If you build the right thing, buyers will still come’
17.2.17 Gurglars visits the Delta/Noble JV subdivision at Yaldhurst
2.2.17 Hilary Calvert complaint to Auditor-General #DCHL
30.12.16 Hilary Calvert on Deloitte report for Aurora/Delta
12.12.16 Deloitte report released #Delta #Aurora
7.12.16 Audit and Review, Deloitte
26.9.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #14 : The Election and The End Game revisited
22.9.16 DCC : Delta deal 1 Aug 2016 Council meeting (non-public) #LGOIMA
9.9.16 Calvert on DCC, ‘We could have a much more democratic and transparent operation of council’
2.9.16 Delta Yaldhurst : Local Opinion + Update from Caveators via NBR
18.9.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #13 : Councillors! How low can you Zhao ?
26.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —EpicFraud #12 : The Buyer Confirmed
24.8.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes —Boult under investigation
8.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #11 : The Buyer
3.8.16 LGOIMA requests to DCC from Colin Stokes #Delta #Noble #Yaldhurst
1.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —The End Game according to CD
31.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #10 : The Beginning of the End : Grady Cameron and his Steam Shovel
29.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #9 : The Long & Winding Road…. Leads Back to Delta’s Door
21.7.16 Delta EpicFail #8 : Cr Calvert goes AWOL, 23 Questions for Mr McKenzie —Saddlebags !!
19.2.16 Delta: Update on Yaldhurst subdivision debt recovery
17.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #7 : The Long & Winding Back Road
15.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #6 : What do you mean, Property Law Act ?
12.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #5 – Delta and the ghostly hand of Tom Kain
8.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #4 : Tales from the Courtroom….
30.6.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #3 : Security Sharing and not Caring….. who’s got that Constricting Feeling ?
27.6.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #2 : WWTKD – What Would Tom Kain Do ?
5.6.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision —Epic Fraud
13.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Noble Subdivision : [rephrased] Conflict of Interest
11.3.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes and ancient Delta history
6.3.16 Delta #EpicFail —Nobel Subdivision : A Neighbour responds
29.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision ● Some forensics
21.1.16 Delta #EpicFail —Yaldhurst Subdivision

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *aurora*, *grady*, *luggate*, *jacks point*, *dchl*, *auditor-general*, *noble*, *yaldhurst* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Greater South Dunedin : Public Meeting, Monday 12 June 6.30pm

Public Meeting South Dunedin: It’s your future!
Monday 12 June 6.30pm Nations Church. Please come!

It’s almost two years since the devastating 2015 floods which hit the suburbs of Greater South Dunedin, affecting more than a thousand homes, businesses, community organisations and schools.

It is timely to hold another public meeting in order to give you a voice and to provide an opportunity for some information sharing and discussion about the priorities for our community.
We hope you will attend.

Ray Macleod, Chair
The Greater South Dunedin Action Group

Background Information:

There’s been a lot of talk about the future of Greater South Dunedin.

Some of that talk has been muddled by poor quality information collected and published around the extent and causes of the flooding on our community. Eventually the Dunedin City Council acknowledged that its lack of maintenance of the mud tanks and its lack of oversight of the performance of the Portobello Pumping Station contributed 200mm to the flooding that occurred.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, warned earlier in 2016 that South Dunedin presented the “most troubling example” of high groundwater in the country.

The DCC and the Otago Regional Council have produced reports on the flooding and the issues facing Greater South Dunedin due to rising groundwater and the impact of climate change. Their reports are largely based on predictions and modelling assumptions.

There have been reports by GNS Science and the University of Otago’s School of Surveying of potential subsidence in South Dunedin and other parts of the city. At the time, GNS cautioned against reading too much into the subsidence data, as more work was required.

The DCC has finally announced a temporary community hub will open at Cargill Enterprises on Hillside Road mid-year.
After much public outcry, the South Dunedin Work and Income and Police station re-opened their doors.

The DCC formed a stakeholder group of organisations and government agencies, some of whom have a presence in South Dunedin, which meets every month or so.

Heavy rainfall over Easter demonstrated that the City’s civil defence preparedness and response has improved, although local people are yet to be fully informed about how they can be better prepared and understand how a civil defence emergency may affect them.

The DCC’s Second Generation Plan has held hearings into the Hazard 3 (Coastal) Overlay which covers the area bounded by Forbury Rd to the west, Victoria Road to the south, the Caversham bypass motorway to the North and Portsmouth drive to the east. This includes a provision to require new residential dwellings to be “relocatable”.

The DCC also recently announced new “minimum floor” levels for new buildings in South Dunedin of 500 mm for those not affected by the 2015 floods and 400mm above the floodwaters for those affected by the 2015 floods. This will result in some new houses having to be a metre above ground level in order to get a building consent. GIVEN THE DCC CONTRIBUTED 200MM TO THE 2015 FLOOD LEVEL THIS RAISES A QUESTION REGARDING THE NEED FOR ANY MINIMUM FLOOR LEVEL REQUIREMENT OR A CASE BY CASE EVALUATION AS THE NEED ARISES.

If you live or work in the Greater South Dunedin area, all of these proposed changes and approaches affect you. Put together they provide a confusing picture of an important community which is receiving mixed messages about its future and doesn’t yet feel it has a strong voice and a plan.

In all of the discussions about the future of Greater South Dunedin, the people who call these suburbs (of South Dunedin, St Kilda, St Clair, Forbury, Caversham, Caledonian, Portsmouth Drive, parts of Musselburgh and Tainui) home or work are not yet part of the discussions.

You may have attended a public meeting after the floods which resulted in the formation of the Greater South Dunedin Action Group. We consider you to be an important part of this group as it aims to:

• Facilitating effective communication between the community and the city and regional councils
• Advocating, representing and promoting the present and future interests of the community
• Ensuring the area is well serviced by Council in terms of social and infrastructure services as a foundation for a vibrant community
• Exploring the opportunities for the area including inner city redevelopment, renewal, and support for new job opportunities & enterprise
• Developing a sustainable plan for the future of the Greater South Dunedin area and its community

[ends]

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Greater South Dunedin Action Group

Public Meeting
6:30pm Monday 12 June 2017
Nations Church
334 King Edward Street South Dunedin

Agenda
Meeting Chair: Hon Stan Rodger

1. Welcome: Hon Stan Rodger

2. Apologies

3. Dunedin City Council & Otago Regional Council on what has been achieved over the past two years. Response to questions submitted to DCC copies are which will be circulated to the meeting. (15 Minutes)

4. Dr Simon Cox: A geoscientist’s perspective on the problem at hand.
(15 minutes)

5. Mr Geoff Thomas: Property Council of NZ. Impact on property values.
(10 minutes)

6. Questions from the floor (if wishing to ask questions please try to write these down and direct them through the Hon Stan Rodger).

7. Proposed resolutions:
a) That the meeting provide a mandate to the Greater South Dunedin Action Group to act as an advocate for the community interests.
b) That the DCC are requested to provide an initial engineering plan and response by 1 December 2017 with the intention of providing protection and support to people, homes and businesses in the Greater South Dunedin area.
c) The DCC be requested to commence the establishment of a community board to represent the interests of the Greater South Dunedin Community.

8. Any other business.

9. A wrap up and thank you from the Chair of the Greater South Dunedin Action Group. (5 minutes)

10. Final words from the Hon Stan Rodger.

█ Download: SDAG Public Meeting Agenda (DOCX, 25 KB)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Cumulative DCC rates rise; council boffins continue ruse of ‘found savings’

At Facebook:

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The council had engaged with the public well, and arrived at a figure under the 3% limit. It was pleasing to keep faith with the community, and keep that promise. –Mayor Cull

### ODT Online Wed, 17 May 2017
2.99% Dunedin rates rise
By David Loughrey
Despite an extra $100,000 of spending approved this week, the Dunedin City Council scraped in under its self-imposed 3% target for rates rises for the next financial year. The council approved a budget that will see ratepayers asked for an extra 2.99% for 2017-18. Annual plan deliberations ended yesterday, after councillors spent a day and a-half discussing spending for the year ahead. The only major changes affecting ratepayers were an extra $100,000 approved for two projects, changes that came after staff found a further $100,000 in savings. […] Mr Cull said some people had reservations about the annual plan process, which featured feedback meetings rather than formal submissions this year, before full submissions are brought back for the long-term plan next year.
Read more

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### ODT Online Wed, 17 May 2017
DCC approves $1m for artificial turf
By David Loughrey
Dunedin is set to get two artificial turf sports fields at Logan Park late this year or early next, after a proposal set to cost the city $1 million won unanimous approval yesterday. The move has delighted Football South, which had asked for the money to be provided urgently to attract available funding from Fifa. The Dunedin City Council annual plan deliberations meeting supported the proposal despite concerns from Cr Aaron Hawkins there had been no official public submissions this year, and others had been discouraged from suggesting new projects until next year’s long-term plan.
Read more

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We’re not interested in (thank god) ex Cr Jinty MacTavish’s or the Green Party’s vision (what vision). DCC’s job IS to look after the environment together with infrastructure service provision. No further strategy is needed. Note the contradictions and hypocrisy contained in this item (italics by whatifdunedin):

The council moved the decision to give the strategy $200,000 to continue work towards making Dunedin a zero carbon, healthy environment.

### ODT Online Tue, 16 May 2017
Funding set for strategy
By Margot Taylor
The environment, bus governance and pool admission fees dominated discussions at the first day of Dunedin City Council annual plan hearings yesterday. The absence of public submissions was a notable difference at the hearing. The public had a chance to voice their opinions on the 2017-18 draft annual plan at public forums and drop-in sessions from March 30 to May 1, rather than at annual plan hearings as in previous years. Dunedin’s environment strategy received 26 comments during the consultation. Mayor Dave Cull said the comments provided “a pretty clear response” about funding for the initiative.
Read more

CUMULATIVE RATES INCREASES –
NO FAITH IS KEPT AT ALL EXCEPT THAT MAYOR CULL HAS TO GO

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Dunedin’s second generation district plan (2GP) —notes on Natural Hazards

Received from Neil Johnstone
Wed, 3 May 2017 at 7:19 p.m.

Message: Last Thursday (27 April) I presented the remainder of my submission on Natural Hazards. Notes attached in case they might help anybody’s further efforts.

{The notes from Mr Johnstone are public domain by virtue of the consultative 2GP hearing process. -Eds}

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2GP PRESENTATION NOTES: LANDSLIDES
Neil Johnstone

I have no property interest in any landslide hazard area (although I did previously), nor in the Water of Leith catchment, nor in South Dunedin. My main purpose in appearing at this stage is to bring to the panel’s attention that the expert (so-called) opinions received from Otago Regional Council’s (ORC) natural hazard analysts are often deficient to the detriment of the 2GP process and the city’s residents.

I am a long-term resident of Dunedin and am highly experienced in flood control issues and solutions. I am appearing here on my own behalf, therefore not strictly as an Expert Witness in this instance, although I have done so in past years both in both the High Court and the Environment Court. I also acted as lead technical advisor to the NZ Govt investigation into the massive 1999 Clutha flood. My detailed investigations have ranged from simple issues such as the Water of Leith (as Investigations Engineer at Otago Catchment Board and ORC) to the entire Clutha catchment (in varying roles). These investigations have often incorporated the construction and operation of accurate, properly verified models.

I am now semi-retired MIPENZ, but still running my own consultancy on a reduced basis. I am a highly experienced expert in flood issues, I am much less so wrt landslide identification and mitigation (but I know a nonsensical report when I read one). ORC hazard analysts responsible for the landslide buffer zones originally imposed across my former property (and many others) need to accept that their approach was seriously flawed, and far from expert. Paul Freeland has mentioned to me in a recent phone conversation that Dunedin City Council (DCC) should be able to have confidence that ORC hazard analysts are expert. I have no strong criticism of Mr Freeland, but those days have passed – in this region at least – when expertise was based on proven performance, and not on a position’s title. A property previously owned by my wife and me in Porterfield Street, Macandrew Bay was quite ridiculously misrepresented in ORC’s landslide report of September 2015. The landslide hazard zone on that property has apparently now been removed, but uncaring damage has been done to us, and no doubt to many others. The Hazard 2 zone was reportedly imposed without site inspection, or without anybody properly reviewing output or checking accuracy of references.

[Reason for submitting: Natural Hazards section of 2GP dominated (undermined) by ORC hazards staff input and DCC failure to verify/review; DCC presumption that ORC “experts” do/should have appropriate expertise. We appear to be witnessing a proliferation of Hazard Analysts in NZ Local Government with little relevant experience or skill.]

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2GP PRESENTATION NOTES: SOUTH DUNEDIN
Neil Johnstone

The comments re South Dunedin flood hazard contained in my original written submission were written prior to DCC’s producing its inaccurate flood reports in respect of the South Dunedin flooding of early June 2015 in which high groundwater levels were held to blame. These DCC reports were eventually released in late November 2015 and April 2016 respectively. My analyses (well after my original submission) demonstrated that the prime cause of widespread flooding in South Dunedin was DCC’s failure (in order of probable significance) to utilise the bypass facility at Tahuna Wastewater Treatment Plant, to fully utilise its stormwater pumping capacity at Portobello Road, and to maintain its stormwater infrastructure (mudtanks etc). Inflow of “foreign” water from the St Clair catchment added to the depth of inundation in some areas. All these can be remedied by a diligent Council. Some have already been remedied, as positively demonstrated in the admittedly rather over-hyped rain event of the subtropical cyclone remnant around this past Easter.

ORC natural hazard analysts were probably responsible for the origin of the groundwater myth as a cause of the South Dunedin flooding in their Coastal Otago Flood Event 3 June 2015 report. Reference was made there to “elevated” ground water levels. They followed up with a contentious report (The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin, July 2016). This opens by stating that the June 2015 flooding was caused by heavy rainfall and high groundwater levels, with no mention of mudtanks, or pumping failures (plural). Such reporting cannot be treated as balanced, nor its authors credible. Elsewhere, ORC essentially conceded the groundwater myth in Rebecca Macfie’s excellent NZ Listener article entitled Flood Fiasco (June 11, 2016).

Shortly after, however, ORC produced the aforementioned South Dunedin Hazards report (backed up by an embarrassingly inaccurate video presentation) that seems to reflect a desire to preach doom rather than convey a balanced defendable scientific analysis of South Dunedin realities and solutions where needed.

One of the worst features of the report and subsequent video was the depiction of projected permanently inundated areas of South Dunedin based on ORC modelling of rising sea level effects. These depictions made front page news in the Otago Daily Times with flow-on reporting nationally. The mapped areas of inundation are actually taken from an earlier ORC report entitled The South Dunedin Coastal Aquifer and Effect of Sea Level Fluctuations (October 2012). The modelling was based on limited information, and the findings would therefore be expected to be of limited reliability. The 2012 report essentially confirms this, noting that modelling of existing conditions overestimates actual groundwater levels (by the order of half a metre in places). Figure 2 (Scenario 0) of that report shows significant permanent ponding for current conditions. None exists in reality. Almost lost (in Section 3.8) are the following (abbreviated, and amongst other) concessions:

• Uncertainty of input data
• Potential inaccuracy of model predictions
• High level of uncertainty
• Groundwater system is poorly to moderately well characterised
• Aquifer properties are poorly understood or quantified
• Each of these uncertainties could have the effect of overestimating the groundwater ponding in the current setting.

The reader is advised to read the full Section 3.8 to ensure contextual accuracy. In my view (as an experienced modeller), a study that cannot even replicate known existing relationships is imperfectly calibrated and unverified. It cannot therefore be relied on. Strictly speaking, it does not qualify as a model. The relationship between possible sea level rise and consequent groundwater impact remains highly uncertain.

Unfortunately, the 2016 ORC South Dunedin Hazards report (and video) chose to reproduce the 2012 ponding predictions using more recent data (but without any better appreciation of aquifer characteristics), but the predictions are similar. It is noted that no Scenario 0 mapping is included in the latter report, nor are the model’s inherent weaknesses described. No admission of the potential modelling inaccuracies is presented other than the following note in Section 4.1: “Further discussion of the original model parameters, model calibration and potential pitfalls is included in the ORC (2012a) report, which can be accessed on the ORC website”. I believe that all parties were entitled to know unequivocally that the modelling was unreliable and unverified.

The 2016 report also makes reference to the fact that dry-weather ground water levels at the Culling Park recorder are at or below mean sea level. This is attributed by the authors to leakage of ground water into the stormwater and wastewater sewers. If that is correct (I would reserve judgement as to whether there may be other factors), then we are witnessing just one example of how an engineered solution could be utilised to dissipate increasing depth of groundwater. Such solutions are canvassed in the BECA report commissioned by DCC several years back.

To summarise, South Dunedin’s exposure to flood (current or future) is poorly described by ORC hazard analysts. The 2GP process seems to have seen these analysts “adopted” by DCC planners as their experts. I consider that to be an inappropriate approach to the detriment of our citizens.

The proposal to require relocatable housing in South Dunedin seems premature, and based on highly questionable information. The proposal for relocatable housing in South Dunedin also rather pre-empts the currently-planned DCC study of overseas approaches to sea level rise solutions.

Requiring relocatable houses will likely simply mean that aged houses that should in time be replaced will be repaired instead. Who is going to build a new relocatable house if they have nowhere to relocate to and probably insufficient money to acquire the requisite land? The proposal to require relocatable housing is ill-considered and premature in my opinion.

With respect to ground water issues across South Dunedin, the 2016 Hazard Report presents –

The reason for my pointing out these facts is to encourage Commissioners to take a step back from the current hysteria surrounding South Dunedin. Had the 2015 flooding extent been restricted (as it should have been) to that which occurred in a slightly larger rainfall event in March 1968, the event would have already been forgotten. Seemingly, at least partly as a result of that hysteria, the proposal to require relocatable housing in South Dunedin seems premature, and based on highly questionable information. Just as ORC floodplain mapping contradicts its in-place flood protection philosophy, so does the proposal for relocatable housing in South Dunedin also rather pre-empt the currently planned DCC study of overseas approaches to sea level rise.

Requiring relocatable houses will simply mean that aged houses that should in time be replaced will be repaired instead. Who is going to build a new relocatable house if they have nowhere to relocate to and probably no money to acquire the requisite land? The proposal for relocatable housing is ill-considered and premature in my opinion.

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2GP PRESENTATION: URBAN STREAM HAZARDS
Neil Johnstone

Urban Stream Comment re Leith and Lindsay Streams:

ORC’s mapping is said to be of residual flooding (post-flood protection works of the past 80-plus years), but actually represents what might have been envisaged many decades back in something considerably greater than the record 1929 flood with none of the very significant channel works of the 1930s, 1940s and 1960s; or even those lesser improvement of the 2010s in place. The ORC 2GP mapping includes areas that didn’t get flooded in 1923 or 1929. I agree with some potential dangers of stream blockage (especially in Lindsay Creek, and to a lesser extent at Clyde Street and Rockside Road), but one can only consider locations of feasible blockage in today’s conditions. Furthermore, accepted professional practice for flood plain mapping requires detailed hydrology, probability analyses, climate change allowance, hydrograph routing, in-channel modelling (allowing for stream capacity variability), and overland flow modelling. ORC’s flood mapping incorporates none of these fundamentals; instead, it reads as little more than a colouring-in exercise, when a professionally researched technical document is required. In short, ORC’s hazard analysts have carried out no fit-for-purpose analysis for a District Plan process.

Interestingly, the concerns expressed by ORC hazard analysts re channel blockage are entirely inconsistent with ORC’s own design philosophy and consent application evidence for the recent Flood protection scheme (so called). Design Philosophy minimises the issue.

Very briefly, the mapping is challenged for the following reasons (inter alia):

No descriptions of the effective flood protection initiatives (OHB -1920s and 1930s, DCC -1940s, OCB -1960s) are included. These works have ensured that overtopping is practically impossible in the George Street to Cumberland Street reach, the Clock Tower reach and Forth Street to Harbour reaches. Flood protection in these areas are all built to a much higher hydraulic standard than the so-called ORC scheme of the past decade, and to a far, far higher standard than existed pre-1929.

It is further noted that ORC’s own Design Philosophy Report (OPUS for ORC, 2005) for the proposed Leith/Lindsay flood protection scheme is adamant that debris traps recently (then) constructed at Malvern Street and Bethunes Gully would further mitigate any debris problems. Refer paras 7.7 and 10.6 of that document.

Ponding is mapped where water couldn’t even reach in 1929 (peak flood currently estimated at 220 cumecs, and predating flood protection measures) in the wider CBD area. Flows along George Street in the 1920s only occurred south as far as about Howe Street, then re-entered the river. Nowadays, the accelerating weir above George Street and the structural high velocity channel immediately downstream provide much more clearance than existed in 1929. [Most outflow then from the river occurred much further downstream.] In those downstream reaches, many of the bridges have been replaced or upgraded. Possible remaining points of interest are the hydraulically insignificant extension (circa 2015) of the St David Street footbridge, the historic Union Street arch footbridge, and the widened (circa 2012) Clyde Street road bridge. The flimsy St David Street bridge would not survive any hydraulic heading up so there would likely be of little flood consequence, and backing up upstream of Union St would be largely inconsequential because of the height of the Clock Tower reach banks immediately upstream. The Clyde Street bridge is acknowledged as being lower than optimum, but it has not created any issues in its half century existence. Any overtopping there could only impact on a limited area between the bridge and the railway line.

Overland lows beyond (east of) the rail line remain highly improbable because of the ongoing blocking effect of road and rail embankments. Flows as far as the railway station to the west of the rail line are also highly improbable nowadays as only the Clyde Street area could conceivably contribute.

The 1923 photograph showing ponding along Harrow Street is presented by ORC with an unfortunate caption stating that the water is sourced from the Leith. Some undoubtedly was, but the whole of the city was subject to “internal” stormwater flooding from Caversham tunnel, across South Dunedin to the CBD and beyond. To illustrate further, a NIWA April 1923 flood summary (accessible online) provides a summary of some of the information more fully described in technical reports and newspaper accounts, including:

• Portions of Caversham, South Dunedin, St Kilda, the lower portions of central and northern areas of the City and North East Valley were completely inundated.
• Water in South Dunedin was waist deep.
• The Water of Leith rose considerably and burst its banks in many places, causing extensive damage along its banks and flooding low-lying areas.

Today’s stormwater infrastructure is rather more extensive and effective (when maintained), and DCC has a continuing legal obligation to provide to maintain that service.

The levels plotted across Lindsay Creek seem highly pessimistic. Levels are shown to be of the order of 2 metres above North Road in some locations at least. I have [no] knowledge of any such levels ever having been approached. Care must be taken not to include unfloodable areas in the mapping. I don’t however discount localised channel blockage, and the channel capacity is substandard in many areas. The valley slope ensures that overland flow will achieve damaging velocities. Such velocities are noted in the NIWA summary.

Of greater concern to me, however, is that ORC’s mapping appears to have seriously underestimated the significance of potential Woodhaugh flood issues:-

The river channel through here is both steep and confined. The influences of Pine Hill Creek (immediately upstream) and Ross Creek (immediately downstream) add to turbulence and bank attack. The area was ravaged in 1923 and 1929, and there have been evacuations in some much lesser events in later decades. These areas are at considerable risk in a 50- to 100-year plus event. Hardin Street, Malvern Street had houses evacuated in the 1960s flood. High velocity, rock laden flows and mudslides can all be anticipated, and difficult to counter. Area below camping ground / Woodhaugh was overwhelmed in floods of the 1920s – a focus for flooding depth and velocity.

If the 2GP process is to include urban flood maps, these should be diligently derived, based on historical record and appropriate modelling. The mapping should reflect the real flood risks (including likelihood, velocity and depth). The decreasing flood risk from Woodhaugh (potentially high impact) through North East Valley (moderate impact) through to the main urban area south of the Leith waterway (localised and of little-to-zero impact) should be reflected in the mapping.

[ends]

2GP Hearing Topic: Natural Hazards
https://2gp.dunedin.govt.nz/2gp/hearings-schedule/natural-hazards.html

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Related Posts and Comments
6.6.16 Listener June 11-17 2016 : Revisiting distress and mismanagement #SouthDunedinFlood
10.6.16 “Civic administration” reacts to hard hitting Listener article

[DCC Map differs from what was notified]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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