Tag Archives: Mudtanks

Regional state of emergency lifted in Otago (incl Dunedin & Waitaki)

Otago’s state of emergency has been lifted.
Emergency Management Otago this morning lifted the state of emergency which existed since deluges and heavy wind battered Otago’s eastern coast over the weekend. The region has now officially entered a recovery phase with teams moving on to assessing the damage and checking on the needs of those affected by the devastating floods. Emergency Management Otago group controller Chris Hawker, in Dunedin, said the move towards recovery did not signal any reduction in effort.

● Dunedin City Council (03) 477-4000
● Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646)
● Otago Rural Support Trust 0800 787 254
http://www.rural-support.org.nz

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DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL

Dunedin July Severe Weather update
10.45am Monday 24 July 2017

State of Emergency lifted

The Dunedin State of Emergency was lifted at 9am today. Under the Civil Defence Emergency Act 2002 we are now operating under a Notice of Local Transition Period as we move into the recovery phase.
The transition period is in force for 28 days (expires 9am 21 August) unless extended or ended earlier. The notice still gives the local authority powers to carry out essential emergency-related work.
More information about the work happening as part of the recovery phase will be provided today. The work will be led by Dunedin City Council Recovery Manager Simon Pickford.

Evacuation map – Upper Taieri Pond (PDF, 3.3 MB)
Mill Creek ponding area (PDF, 2.3 MB)

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DCC ORC : Heavy rain warnings preparations #PublicNotice

See new post : Regional state of emergency declared in Otago in support of Dunedin & Waitaki

██████ DCC TWITTER FEED AUTOMATICALLY UPDATING

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(sp) Oturehua, Ida Valley, Central Otago

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At Facebook:

### ODT Online Fri, 21 Jul 2017
Storm hits: what you need to know

Oamaru
Oamaru and surrounds are bearing the brunt of the storm, with widespread surface flooding and some homes flooded.

Mosgiel
There is surface flooding in Mosgiel, which is being closely monitored.

Sandbags
Mosgiel people concerned about rising water can access sandbags and sand from the Memorial Park car park beside the stadium/Mosgiel Memorial Gymnasium.
Sandbags are also available in South Dunedin at the car park behind St Clair Tennis Club, Victoria Road.
Where possible, people should bring a shovel to fill the bags, although contractors are available on-site at both locations to assist with filling and loading.

Information centres
As a precaution the council has opened information centres in South Dunedin, in The Mercy Room, Catholic Social Services, 42 Macandrew Rd, and at Mosgiel Fire Station Theatre, 3 Cargill St.

Freedom Campers
Due to the weather the Dunedin City Council recommends all freedom campers find alternative accommodation rather than staying at either of the council’s two freedom camping sites tonight.

Roads
NZ Transport Agency has issued road warnings for surface water and flooding across Otago, including SH1 from Waipahi to Waitaki Bridge.
Warnings are also in place for SH88 from Dunedin to Port Chalmers, SH 87 from Kyeburn to Outram.
SH83 from Pukeuri to Duntroon is also affected by flooding and is closed between Gray Rd And Horse Gully Rd.
In Canterbury SH 82 Waimate To Kurow is closed.
SH1 is now closed between Pukeuri to Morven

Rivers
The Kakanui, Shag and Taieri Rivers, the Silver Stream, Water of Leith and the Lindsay Creek are all rising steadily.

Flights cancelled
Flights to and from Dunedin Airport have been cancelled this afternoon.
The cancelled flights include Air New Zealand flights to and from Auckland and Christchurch.
The Jetstar flight from Dunedin to Auckland at 4.15pm has been cancelled.
Air New Zealand is advising customers booked to travel to and from Dunedin to consult the arrivals and departures information on our website here for up to date schedule information.

Sports grounds
The Dunedin City Council has closed all sports grounds for the weekend because of the weather.
The club rugby semi-finals may still go ahead at Hancock Park on Saturday depending on the weather. The decision will be made by the Otago Rugby Football Union.

Power cuts
There are reports of power cuts in Oamaru. In Dunedin power has been cut to about 100 customers in Green Island, Fairfield and Abbotsford suburbs of Dunedin after a power line came down.
Aurora Energy says it has a response crew working to fix the fault and power was expected to be restored by 5pm.

General preparedness
The Dunedin City Council is encouraging all residents and businesses across the city to make their own preparations.
Residents in low-lying areas who feel concerned should make plans to self-evacuate themselves to stay with friends or family who live on higher ground should it be required later on.
Check on neighbours, particularly if they are vulnerable.
Check spoutings and drainage channels for blockages and clear them if necessary
If your basement is prone to flooding lift items that could be damaged by water off the floor. Be sure garden sprays and other chemicals won’t be affected
Check grates near your house for blockages and keep them clear of leaves and other debris to avoid water building up and affecting your property.
https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/storm-hits-what-you-need-know

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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

█ For more, enter the terms *johnstone*, *flood* and *south dunedin* in the search box at right.

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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DCC leases space for South Dunedin community hub at Cargill Enterprises

How many years has this taken DCC
It’s still only “temporary” accommodation….

South Dunedin has been waiting for a public library since the time of borough amalgamation.

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Home found for South Dunedin pop up hub

This item was published on 02 May 2017

A home has been found for the South Dunedin pop up community hub. The Dunedin City Council this week signed a two year lease to set up a temporary hub in part of the Cargill Enterprises premises at 199 Hillside Road.

[screenshot – click to enlarge]
DCC Webmap – 199 Hillside Rd, South Dunedin JanFeb 2013

Group Manager Arts and Culture Bernie Hawke says, “We are delighted to have a confirmed location for the pop up hub. This is a well known, central location and we look forward to providing a range of services on site for local residents.”

The DCC is leasing about 200sq m, which includes space for community activities, meeting areas, DCC service centre and library activities, and kitchen and toilet facilities. The hub will also provide access to Gig wifi for the South Dunedin community. It is hoped the pop up hub will be open about mid year. As well as providing access to DCC services, the hub will provide an opportunity for the community to have input into the development of the permanent South Dunedin Community Hub. While the opening hours for the pop up hub are still to be confirmed, the hub is expected to be open about 25 hours a week, across five days and including one evening and Saturday morning.

Cargill Enterprises Chief Executive Geoff Kemp says, “Cargills are thrilled to be in a position to accommodate the city’s South D interim hub initiative. “A community centre and library adjoining the main facility will give our 94 staff easy access to the many services planned, particularly the opportunity to explore a wide range of reading material and multimedia. We view the hub as complementing our employer-led numeracy and literacy training programme. Very exciting!”

Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull comments, “The establishment of the pop up hub shows the Council’s commitment to South Dunedin and is a key part of a much wider engagement with the South Dunedin community and agencies working in the area.”

DCC Chief Executive Officer Dr Sue Bidrose says, “When the pop up hub has been established, we will turn our attention to the location and development of the permanent hub. The signing of a lease for the pop up hub is an important step in this process. In addition to the pop up hub development, our Community Development team has been working alongside groups within South Dunedin to look at the social and economic needs and strengths of this community. As part of this, on 18 May we are organising a number of local community-based groups and individuals to meet to see if a collective action plan to support improved social and economic wellbeing can be created within the South Dunedin area.”

Contact DCC on 03 477 4000.
DCC Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Baron de Gurgelaars on “Accountability” @ #DUD #Delta

bender-futurama-cartoonswallpapers-net-1

Received.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 at 7:34 p.m.

The Pimp from hell is back.

Le Baron de Gurgelaars on de French political system.

Le Interviewer: a qvestion

Le Cull de Mare- Cur, can you pls advise your council’s response to the suggestion that Delta is not involved in electricity generation.

Le Cull de Mare- Ve vill not find any vone guilty.

Le Interviewer- During 2016 your council has stuffed up on flooding, mud tank cleaning, paying Delta for a truck that did not exist in Dunedin, reducing the value of all houses in South Dunedin and not charging for water takeoff on the peninsula. What do you have to say about diese errors of judgement.

Le Cull de Mare- Ve vill not find any person guilty, particularly me.

During 2016, You personally blamed the flooding of South Dunedin on climate change. Do you believe that heavy rain did not fall on Dunedin prior to man’s intervention?

Le Cull de Mare- naturlich- Dunedin was a Desert.

During 2016- Fulton Hogan was exposed for not having any vehicle capable of cleaning the mud tanks and thus completing their mud tank contract. Did you consider a drawback of over $200,000 on their unperformed contract?

Le Cull de Mare- Nein, how can DCC staff get their Christmas bonuses without recourse to increase in rates unless they are allowed contractual licence (see poetic licence)

Le Interviewer- Today Cull de Mare, some properties in South Dunedin particularly Victoria street had reduced QV values. Whilst that will reduce their rates by 1%, their valuations can cause mortgagee sales by banks, increased weekly payments apart from divorces and suicides.

Le Cull de Mare- vot are you saying, you blame me for naming climate change for causing these personal catastrophes, you tink I am ze cause, vot u think I vant diese resulten?

Do u think I am Adolf Hitler?

De Interviewer-

Not Yet.

But power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: cartoonswallpapers.net – Futurama Bender the Pimp

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Meanwhile . . . . #SouthDunedin

Received from Douglas Field
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 at 1:06 p.m.

cull-barks

Press Release: Greater South Dunedin Community Group

MEDIA RELEASE
18 September 2016

South Dunedin to grill election candidates this week

South Dunedin has emerged as a significant issue in the upcoming local body elections and as a result two candidate forums for councillors and mayoral candidates have been organised this week by the Greater South Dunedin Community Group, acting chair of the Greater South Dunedin Community Group Philip Gilchrist said today.

The forum meetings will hosted in the Mayfair Theatre on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21 September from 6.30pm – 9pm in order to provide all candidates with an opportunity to provide their views on the challenges and opportunities for this important part of the city.

An electronic survey sent out to the candidates before the forums has drawn responses from 34 of the 44 candidates standing for the Dunedin City Council. We believe the large number of responses is a recognition that issues concerning the future of South Dunedin are high on their list of priorities.

At the forums, candidates will be asked a question and then given two minutes to respond, and there will also be about 90 minutes when questions can be asked of the candidates from the floor. Previous meetings that our group has hosted have prompted vigorous and relevant questioning from the public and it is expected that this meeting will provide the similar level of interaction as the people of South Dunedin are now, at last, having their voices heard. The June 2015 flood has certainly brought South Dunedin to New Zealand’s attention.

We are pleased to be hosting the event in the magnificent Mayfair Theatre, which is the significant Heritage Building in South Dunedin, Mr Gilchrist said.

█ We attach a link to the survey responses:
The results are un-edited and can be downloaded or read online.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5xylrw1b16ciaet/AACcsRBhqCw1XpJRqVecerGHa?dl=0

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

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Johnstone on ORC report : ‘The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin’ (July 2016)

The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin – July 2016 [read online]
Otago Regional Council
ISBN: 978-0-908324-35-4
Report writers:
Michael Goldsmith, ORC Natural Hazards Manager
Sharon Hornblow, ORC Natural Hazards Analyst
Reviewed by: Gavin Palmer, ORC Director Engineering, Hazards and Science
External review by: David Barrell, Simon Cox, GNS Science, Dunedin

Received from Neil Johnstone
Sun, 29 Aug 2016 at 8:17 p.m.

Message: Misinformation on the causes of the June 2015 South Dunedin flood have abounded since the event. As if the victimised residents haven’t suffered enough from others’ inactions (before and during the event), they are now being subjected to a hazards discovery process whose vigour appears to be exceeded only by its own recklessness. Following are a commentary of the hazards approach adopted by the Otago Regional Council (ORC), and a summary of my investigations into the flood event that I commenced after the publication of Dunedin City Council’s first flood report back in November 2015.

You can download Neil Johnstone’s report or read it below (formatted slightly differently to suit the WordPress template).

█ Download: A REVIEW OF ORC REPORT THE NATURAL HAZARDS OF SOUTH DUNEDIN (1) (PDF, 587 KB)

AN APPRAISAL OF RECENT REPORTING OF SOUTH DUNEDIN HAZARDS

N.P JOHNSTONE, BEng (Civil), MIPENZ

1. Introduction

There is some irony that DCC and ORC should be planning “drop in” sessions for residents in respect of South Dunedin hazard issues during September 2016, some 15 months after the major flood. The prime cause of flooding in June 2015 was DCC’s failure to maintain its infrastructure (not just mudtanks), and its failure to operate its pump stations to their intended capacities. The subsequent spread of misconceptions (i.e. groundwater levels, rainfall significance etc) surrounding the flood causes was at least partly due to inaccurate ORC analyses and reporting.

Repetitive and new doubtful information emanating from ORC via its latest report has been noted. Presentations and an over-simplistic video production have been observed. A footnote covering these observations is included at the end of this appraisal.

Long-delayed DCC reports on causes of the South Dunedin flooding have already been strongly criticised by the author. Specifically discredited are misrepresentations of sea level, groundwater and rainfall ranking. Accepted now by DCC as factors (somewhat grudgingly, and depending on the audience) are mudtank blockage and Portobello Road pump station failures (plural); still to be fully acknowledged are the failures at Musselburgh Pumping Station.

Attention is now turned to significant parts of hazard reports produced by the Otago Regional Council and utilised by DCC.

2. Coastal Otago Flood Event 3 June 2015 (ORC, published October 2015)

This report deals with a wider area than South Dunedin. It is apparent that ORC staff never visited the flooding areas of South Dunedin on 3 June, but took advantage of fine weather to take some water level readings the following day. The opportunity for useful progressive surface water level recording was thus lost. Levels were collected at some 150 points on 4 June. ORC’s main conclusion was that “localised variations in topography were probably the main driver of flood depth”. Or, put another way, water depth was deepest where the ground was lowest. This seems hardly surprising, and even trivial. No attempt was made to explain the photographic images presented of extensive ponding remaining well after the rains had ceased. The phenomena of blocked mudtanks and unutilised pumping capacity went seemingly unnoticed.

The report does usefully reference ORC’s four borehole recorders of groundwater, but makes the somewhat misleading assessment that groundwater levels were “elevated” prior to the rainstorm. This misinformation was seized upon by agencies such as DCC and the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to highlight climate change impacts.

Having obtained the actual groundwater level data from ORC via the LGOIMA process, the author was able to reveal this “groundwater fallacy” in reviews from February 2016, but it was not until the publication of NZ Listener’s article (June 11-17, 2016) entitled ‘FLOOD FIASCO’ that ORC admitted that pre-flood groundwater levels were in fact “just a little bit above average”. ORC now seems intent on resurrecting this fallacy.

The ORC report fails to address the real and key issues of pumping station failures (Portobello Road and Musselburgh), or comparisons with much lesser flood impacts in the larger rainfall event of March 8/9 1968.

The report states that the 2015 24-hour rainfall was the largest since 1923. This was patently incorrect, but again was utilised by DCC to divert blame from their role in the disaster.

3. The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin (ORC, published July 2016)

The report states unambiguously in its Opening Summary that the major flooding of June 2015 was “a result of heavy rainfall, surface runoff, and a corresponding rise in groundwater”. By now, most people are aware that the causes of the flooding’s disastrous impact were failure to optimally operate pumping stations, failure to clear mudtanks, and failure to deploy staff to key areas during the event. Again, none of these factors is addressed in ORC’s report.

The report presents a table on its second page entitled “Factors Which Can Influence Flood Hazard”. Examples of exaggerated negativity include:

1. Heavy Rainfall:
– Many recorded instances of rainfall leading to surface flooding.
– Heavy rainfall events have occurred frequently over the last decade.

Comment: These conclusions do not appear to be supported by the report’s text, and are vague, factually challengeable and alarmist. Prior to 2015, no major flooding had occurred in South Dunedin since 1968, and even that was minor by comparison.

2. Sea Level:
– Groundwater level fluctuates (by up to 0.5m near the coast) on a twice-daily cycle in response to normal ocean tides.

Comment: All of South Dunedin is near the coast; most of the area does not experience such large fluctuations. This should have been made clear by the inclusion of groundwater data from all 4 ORC sites across the plain, not just from Kennedy Street.

3. Seismic:
– Large earthquakes could result in increased flood hazard on the South Dunedin plain, due to liquefaction-related land subsidence or direct, sudden, changes in land elevation relative to sea level.

Comment: All areas of NZ have some susceptibility to earthquake damage. Dunedin is amongst the areas at lowest risk; no incidences of even minor liquefaction have ever been reported in South Dunedin, and little or no clearly liquefiable materials have been identified (Refer GNS, 2014*). Continue reading

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