Tag Archives: Peer reviews

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}

****

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.]

****

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.

****

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.

8 Comments

Filed under DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Education, Geography, Health & Safety, Housing, Infrastructure, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, South Dunedin, Town planning, Urban design

South Dunedin mainstreet Hub : no direct relevance to distant Gasworks

as well as (pre-Election)
DESPICABLE DCC / ORC CLIMATE CHANGE MASSAGE

[click to enlarge]
DCC Webmap - South Dunedin Hub area incl gasworks museum JanFeb2013DCC Webmap – GREAT DISTANCE except by computer or Segway….
South Dunedin | from King Edward St (red) to Gasworks Museum (blue) via Lorne and Braemar Sts (green) – colour overlays by whatifdunedin.

█ DCC doesn’t need Athfield Architects to justify the LONG DURATION need and solution. No disrespect to colleague, the late Ian Athfield —or the current firm (love them heaps).

DCC, DO NOT OVER THINK THIS, FOR CRISSAKES
Give South Dunedin a community facility as was Promised YEARS AGO. Leave the goodie-two-shoes Gasworks Museum lobbyists out of it, or very much to the side. They mean well, but for too long they’ve been praying on the feckless DCC, soaking up Ratepayer dollars with little justification, and they keep wanting more.

COLLECTIVELY, WE HAVE LOCAL SOLUTIONS – WE DON’T NEED TO BE HELD BY THE HAND TO SET UP SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLY SIMPLE AS AN ECONOMICAL WELL-CRAFTED COMMUNITY HUB IN KING EDWARD STREET

How many people is this “out of control” Dunedin City Council wanting to Massage – BEFORE the October Local Body Elections.

VOTE BUYING
The CULL Stench around this is SO DISGUSTING.

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Drop-in sessions start of community conversation on South Dunedin’s future

This item was published on 22 Aug 2016

A series of drop-in information sessions hosted by the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council early next month are the start of a community conversation around South Dunedin’s future. The sessions will be at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum on Thursday, 1 September and Friday, 2 September.

DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose will be presenting information about what happened in the 2015 flood, how the current stormwater system works, and how the DCC plans to invest and work with the community in the future.

Ms Bidrose said that it was important to plan carefully for South Dunedin’s changing environment. It was also important to take the time to involve the community in the decision making along the way, rather than to just do things on their behalf.

“Addressing the challenges of the future requires the DCC and ORC starting to have conversations with the community about the challenges, and the expectations and options for what can be achieved. The rest of Dunedin’s population needs to be involved as well. There is a great opportunity to turn some of the challenges into opportunities and give confidence for long-term investment in the area. These drop-in sessions are the beginning of the process. The DCC will be actively seeking local people’s thoughts on these issues and working with the ORC on what the long-term responses might be. I’m looking forward to seeing as many people as possible from the South Dunedin area at the sessions.” –Bidrose [employed by ????]

ORC director of stakeholder engagement Caroline Rowe said the drop-in sessions were part of a wider South Dunedin community engagement plan, aimed at developing a conversation with locals and groups about managing the risks associated with the changing environment. Ms Rowe said they follow the recent release of the ORC’s Natural Hazards of South Dunedin report. The [BULLSHIT ORC] technical report pulls together information and analysis gathered over the past seven years on natural hazards facing the area, particularly the increased likelihood of surface flooding associated with rising sea level. [FALSE AND MISLEADING BULLSHIT]

Presentations, with accompanying video, will be at each session and people will have an opportunity to talk individually to staff from both councils. The hour-long sessions will be repeated several times, with Thursday sessions starting at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 4.30pm and 7pm. The Friday sessions will start at 10am, 11.30am, and 1pm.

Ongoing engagement planned for the next few weeks also includes briefings for support service agencies and other specific interest groups such as the South Dunedin Business Association, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, and school and early childhood centres.

Contact Sue Bidrose, chief executive DCC on 03 477 4000.

DCC Link

█ Feedback on the proposal can be provided online on the council’s website at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/council-online/currently-consulting-on/current-consultations/south-dunedin-community-hub

The feedback period runs from Saturday, 20 August until 4pm on Monday, 29 August.

****

Mon, 22 Aug 2016
ODT: South D hub proposal unveiled
The Dunedin City Council is calling for feedback from residents on its preferred option for a library and community hub in South Dunedin before a report is presented to councillors next month. Council services and development general manager Simon Pickford and architect Jon Rennie, of Athfield Architects, presented the council’s preferred option to about 50 people at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum on Saturday morning. Under the $5.25 million proposal, a library would be built in the former BNZ building in King Edward St and the facility linked to the Gasworks Museum through Lorne St. Some facilities, such as a café, would be based at the museum. Mr Pickford said residents had until August 29 to provide feedback to the council on the proposal.

█ For more, enter the terms *south dunedin*, *flood*, *hazard*, *vandervis* (sane) and *cull* (VOTE Cull OUT) in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

40 Comments

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ORC, DCC continuing Deceptions : Natural Hazards for #SouthDunedin

W H A T ● P L A N ?

ORC stakeholder engagement director Caroline Rowe said the sessions were part of a wider “South Dunedin community engagement plan”.

### ODT Online Tue, 9 Aug 2016
Sessions on natural hazards
By John Gibb
South Dunedin residents will be able to learn more about natural hazards facing the area through drop-in sessions to be held at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum early next month.
The Otago Regional Council is organising the September 1 and 2 sessions, in collaboration with the Dunedin City Council. The drop-in session on the first day will run from 1.30pm to 7pm, and on the second day from 10am to 2.30pm.
Last month the ORC released a report titled “Natural Hazards of South Dunedin”. This report consolidated information and analysis gathered over the past seven years on the natural hazards facing the area, particularly the “increased likelihood of surface flooding associated with rising sea level”.
Read more

W H A T ● R I S K S ?
Answer ……. M I S I N F O R M A T I O N via ORC Hazard Plans and Maps

F I G H T >>> To Protect Your Property Values

“In a report to be tabled at the ORC’s technical committee tomorrow, Ms Rowe said South Dunedin was “an integral part of the wider Dunedin community” and many people and groups had an interest in how its risks would be managed. The report said the ORC also planned several other communication activities over the hazards plan, this month and next.” –ODT

ORC : Combined Council Agenda 10 August – Public.pdf
● Go to Agenda Item 5 (pp 34-35)
2016/0988 South Dunedin Community Engagement Report
The report outlines the approach management is taking to the community engagement as was verbally communicated at the Technical Committee meeting held on 20 July 2016 where Council received the report entitled “The Natural Hazards of South Dunedin” and made the decision to “endorse further community and stakeholder engagement within a timely manner”.

[screenshot – click to enlarge]
ORC Report 4.8.16 South Dunedin Engagement Plan [ID- A924516]

General reading (Otago including Dunedin City District)
ORC : Natural Hazards

● Information coming to this ORC webpage: ORC committee report – natural hazards of the Dunedin district: technical documents

Natural Hazards of South Dunedin – July 2016

● See also, the DCC second generation district plan (2GP) hazard zone information and maps based on ORC data, via the 2GP Index page.

Related Post and Comments:
6.8.16 LGOIMA trials and tribulations with peer reviews #SouthDunedinflood

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

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

10 Comments

Filed under Baloney, Business, Climate change, Construction, Corruption, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Finance, Geography, Health, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, ORC, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

LGOIMA trials and tribulations with peer reviews #SouthDunedinflood

The following letter has had names removed, except those previously cited by broadcast and print media (public domain). -Eds.

Received from Neil Johnstone
Fri, 5 Aug 2016 at 11:41 p.m.

Subject: DCC and the LGOIMA

Message: I have read concerning comments on your site regarding DCC’s apparent failure to comply with its LGOIMA obligations. You may wish to post my account of my recent experience.

[begins]

Dunedin City Council took ten months to produce its second Infrastructure Report, entitled ‘South Dunedin Public Infrastructure During June 2015 Flood Event Follow-Up’ (Author: R. Stokes). On 28 January 2016 (still three months before the report surfaced), then DCC Group Manager Transport Ian McCabe told the Otago Daily Times “the lengthy timeline was needed to ensure the report was robust, including an external peer review of its findings”. Mr McCabe went on to emphasise that “the report had been widened from an initial focus only on mudtank maintenance, and now also included a fresh look at the network’s design capacity”. That all seemed fair enough.

When the report was ultimately released in late April 2016, it contained no reference to any external (or other) peer review. However, when interviewed by John Campbell on Radio NZ’s Checkpoint programme on April 22, shortly after the Report’s release, Mayor Cull repeatedly referenced “independent” peer review(s) as supporting (“parts of”) the Report’s content. Mr Cull stated that he didn’t know which parts of the report had been reviewed independently. “You would have to talk to her (Ms Stokes) about that,” he said. Presumably, therefore, he hadn’t seen the review(s) either.

On 17 May I sent a LGOIMA request to DCC Chief Executive Sue Bidrose, asking for a copy of the review(s). On 20 May I received an acknowledgement from DCC which rather defeated the purpose of my request but, more importantly, indicated that I would receive a response asap, but within 20 working days. I immediately queried why it should take such a long time to simply send a copy of a recent review, and asked simply for confirmation whether the review actually existed.

This time I received an email from the Group Manager Corporate Services suggesting a “discussion” before they left for overseas. There was no mention of my straightforward query as to whether the review actually existed. I replied immediately, and asked again for a simple yes/no to that question. Again, the question was not answered.

A full month (the maximum allowable period of 20 working days having elapsed since my simple request) later, I received an email from DCC. They were able to report that they had received information from the General Manager Infrastructure and Networks thus: “The response to Mr Johnstone is that we have had a peer review done, however this is still in draft and yet to be finalised (as staff have been focusing on forward work demands, and we have staff away). Once the review is finalised it will be publicly released.” “Therefore we have decided to refuse your request under section 17(d) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, as the information requested will soon be publically (sic) available.”

I considered that response was unsatisfactory. The review, apparently under belated construction, was clearly not what I had repeatedly requested. I should by then have received the review referenced by Messrs McCabe (“external”) and Cull (“independent”), or received an acknowledgement that it did not exist.

Then on the evening of 6 July I was emailed by the General Manager Infrastructure and Networks, a copy of a new review, seemingly hot off the press, and authored by Opus in Auckland. This obviously was not the review that I had requested back on 17 May, as all DCC personnel involved should have known.

On 9 July I wrote to Chief Executive Sue Bidrose, expressing my concerns. I asked the following key questions:

Why, almost two months after my original LGOIMA request, I had still not received an admission that the peer review sought did not in fact exist?
Or, alternatively, if it did exist, why had it not been provided?
Why it took a month after my initial request for me to be merely told (irrelevantly) that a (different) peer review was being prepared, but with no attempt to satisfy my simple, legitimate request?

Almost a week later, a DCC officer returned to the list of respondents. They advised that my (follow-up) enquiry was being treated as a new request, and (you all know the drill) would be dealt with as soon as possible, but within 20 working days of receipt at the latest.

Nineteen working days later I received an emailed response from a Manager Civic and Legal. None of the three questions (above) were answered. They stated that my enquiries had been answered as soon as possible, given the volume of other requests. But the most interesting part of their response reads as follows: “The reported reference in the ODT (Mr McCabe, cited 28 January) to the external peer review was actually a reference to work the Council was undertaking to investigate the performance of the mudtank maintenance contractor…..”

So external means internal in the DCC, and widening means narrowing?

If the manager had been informed correctly, then there was no external review. Why, in that case, was I not told that nearly three months ago? Why did the Mayor apparently believe there was an external (independent, to use his wording) peer review? Furthermore, why did DCC fail to answer my three questions above.

I could, of course, ask these questions of DCC via LGOIMA, but I could then only expect an interim response followed by 20 more working days of inaction and worse.

Instead I have initiated a series of complaints to the Ombudsman, and decided that the public should view yet another example of how our City Hall is operating.

My intent throughout has been to identify the true causes of the June 2015 flood, so that real solutions can be identified and “political” solutions avoided. I have no intention of stopping, despite DCC’s apparent resistance.

[ends]

Neil Johnstone is welcome to publish emails supporting his story; it appears most if not all of the emails he received pertain under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and therefore reside in public domain. However, the Ombudsmen are best to advise on these matters. In the meantime DCC is welcome to correct any factual errors, in the interests of accuracy and balance. -Eds.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

7 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Economics, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, What stadium

South Dunedin stormwater pipes —getting past the desktop ICMP

Dunedin City Council (website) on Stormwater:

Stormwater is rain or snow runoff that does not soak into the soil.
When an area is developed, stormwater generally increases due to runoff from impermeable surfaces (eg roofs, roads, carparks, or compacted soil). It flows naturally from higher to lower ground, and ultimately discharges into natural watercourses such as wetlands, creeks, rivers or the sea. Land development results in the creation of both private and public stormwater systems, which collect and transfer stormwater to lower ground more efficiently. The public stormwater system is a network of drains, gutters, pipes, mud tanks, detention ponds, stormwater reserves and other associated infrastructure.

At other threads (here and here), contributor JimmyJones has cited the South Dunedin Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP) to draw attention to the actual or perceived state of the stormwater pipes at South Dunedin. He believes the type of pipeways and the deteriorating condition of the pipes contributed to the June 2015 South Dunedin “flood event”, and will require budgeted upgrade.

But is the South Dunedin ICMP correct about the underground pipes and their condition?

Largely, the ICMP was a desktop assessment carried out by consultants for the Dunedin 3 Waters Strategy. Namely, Opus International Consultants and URS New Zealand (now trading as Aecom) in association with Dunedin City Council.

South Dunedin ICMP – Integrated Catchment Management Plan
Sth Dunedin ICMP (PDF, 11.1 MB)
Sth Dunedin Mapbook (PDF, 12.0 MB)

Read more about the 11 ICMPs for Dunedin here.

DCC says ICMPs are used for planning and management of the stormwater system. For each stormwater management area, or catchment, issues are identified and prioritised, and solutions are identified and implemented. The ICMPs are mainly in the metropolitan Dunedin area (including Mosgiel and Port Chalmers). They inform investigation and planning decisions and help focus council priorities for future operational and capital works. Implementing the ICMPs is also a key requirement of DCC consents to discharge stormwater into the coastal marine area. Further information is available on the Stormwater monitoring page, see also the Stormwater responsibilities page.

The Pipes at South Dunedin
Local water and drainage experts familiar with the stormwater system say:

Received.
Sat, 18 Jun 2016 at 10:52 a.m.

The South Dunedin ICMP report has been read, it’s “ok”. But it’s also described as “…glossy and costly for the consultant(s). Basically, such reports tell the Council stuff they neither read nor understand, but would have mostly been trivial knowledge (where accurate)” to local experts familiar with the design and day-to-day workings of the stormwater system.

“You can believe any part of [the ICMP] or not. It’s a desktop study, which speculates on pipe condition. Robinson and Hendry have read it and obviously don’t agree. Pipes last for an eternity with limited maintenance (other than blockage removal) provided there isn’t ground movement or corrosion (these pipes are concrete).”

Listener, June 11-17 2016, pp22-29 (not yet available online):

[excerpt —click to enlarge]
Listener11-17 Jun 2016 pp26-27_0003

ODT 13.2.16
“Mr Hendry believed South Dunedin’s infrastructure, which he spent six years helping build as a surveyor in the 1960s, would have been good enough to prevent much of the damage had it been properly maintained. […] My view is that these people out here, a lot of them have got nothing. Now they have got a hell of lot less. It’s not fair on them. Nobody’s come out and said ‘we were wrong. Something wasn’t done right’.”

█ Come to the Public Meeting in South Dunedin on Monday evening, hosted by the South Dunedin Action Group.

Related Posts and Comments:
17.6.16 So we’re going to play it this way #SouthDunedinFlood
● 16.6.16 Public Meeting: South Dunedin Action Group #AllWelcome
10.6.16 “Civic administration” reacts to hard hitting Listener article
● 6.6.16 Listener June 11-17 2016 : Revisiting distress and mismanagement
● 4.6.16 Johnstone review … DCC Infrastructure Services meeting 26.4.16
3.6.16 DCC —godsakes, how did it get to this? #flood #property damage
● 19.5.16 Johnstone review of 2nd DCC report #SouthDunedinFlood
29.4.16 Vandervis emails batch 2 #Dunedin #infrastructure #flood #mudtanks
27.4.16 Vandervis emails batch 1 #Dunedin #infrastructure #flood #mudtanks
27.4.16 DCC meeting and apology NOT Enough— #SouthDunedinFlood
20.4.16 DCC Politics : Release of Infrastructure Report #SouthDunedinFlood
14.4.16 South Dunedin flood risk boosters #ClimateChangeCrap #PissOffPCE
31.3.16 DCC: Infrastructure report 2 pending —Mudtanks & stormwater…
● 8.3.16 Johnstone independent review of DCC report #SouthDunedinFlood
2.3.16 DCC compels extensions on LGOIMA requests #SouthDunedinFlood
26.2.16 Mudtanks and drains + Notice of Public Meeting #SouthDunedinFlood
21.2.16 DCC infrastructure … report (30.11.15) subject to ‘internal review’ only
● 13.2.16 South Dunedin Flood (3 June 2015): Bruce Hendry via ODT
4.2.16 2GP commissioner appears to tell Council outcome… #hazardzones
4.2.16 Level responses to Dunedin mayor’s hippo soup #Jun2015flood
30.1.16 DCC Rates: LOCAL CONTEXT not Stats —Delta and Hippopotamuses
● 25.1.16 DCC: South Dunedin Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP)
19.1.16 Listener 23.1.16 (letter): South Dunedin #Jun2015flood
16.1.16 NZ Listener 16.1.16 (letter): South Dunedin #Jun2015flood
14.1.16 ‘Quaking!’ Dark day$ and tide$ to come #Dunedin #Jun2015flood
10.1.16 Infrastructure ‘open to facile misinterpretation’…. or local ignore
5.1.16 Hammered from all sides #fixit [dunedinflood Jun2015]
24.12.15 Site notice: posts removed
● 3.11.15 South Dunedin Flood | Correspondence & Debriefing Notes released by DCC today #LGOIMA

Downloads:
Kerr, Elizabeth LGOIMA Correspondence Hendry and Williams 2015
Kerr, Elizabeth LGOIMA Flood Debrief Notes 2015

█ For more, enter the terms *flood*, *sea level rise*, *stormwater*, *hazard*, *johnstone*, *hendry*, *south dunedin action group*, *debriefing notes* or *listener* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

12 Comments

Filed under Business, Climate change, Construction, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

So we’re going to play it this way #SouthDunedinFlood

ODT 17.6.16 (page 10) —[click to enlarge]

ODT 17.6.16 Letter to editor Johnstone p10

whatifdunedin:

1. The claim of “factual errors” is surely able to be substantiated or thrown out by a suitably qualified (named) EXTERNAL peer reviewer acceptable to DCC and engineer Neil Johnstone. The ‘matter of degree’ (serious ?) is a matter for the peer reviewer to comment on. As are issues of professional competencies —which only an independent and transparent peer reviewer with nationally recognised engineering expertise can deal to. Not an in-house operational.

2. Neil Johnstone has issued three reviews, two of these deal to DCC’s formal reports on the June 2015 South Dunedin “flood event”, dated 30 Nov 2015 and 26 Apr 2016 respectively; and the third deals to comments (video recorded by Ch39 and published at DCC’s Youtube channel) during the DCC Infrastructure Services Committee meeting held on 26 April 2016. The reviews are published at this website – enter the term *johnstone* in the search box at right.

3. Neil Johnstone has requested that factual errors noted by DCC be made discoverable. DCC appears to be side-stepping qualification and quantification of its verbal assertions every which way.

4. It is highly likely that no expert external peer reviews exist or they would have been made public by now. More than a year after the “flood event”, we wait.

5. A peer review(s) is not something to hide. Why is DCC doing secret squirrel when challenged to substantiate its earlier comments (publicly stated on more than one occasion, recorded by mainstream media – for example, by Mayor Cull and Transportation’s Ian McCabe, who later resigned) – that external peer reviews of its formal reports did happen. After the fact is a little squiffy, if DCC is writing them now.

“Technical qualifications and experience with stormwater infrastructure design and management” are not provided. Rhetorical.

Holes being dug, an epitaph.

█ For related posts and comments, enter the terms *flood*, *sea level rise*, *stormwater*, *hazard*, *johnstone*, *hendry*, *south dunedin action group*, *debriefing notes* or *listener* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

17 Comments

Filed under Business, Climate change, Construction, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Events, Finance, Geography, Heritage, Hot air, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, Ombudsman, ORC, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Public Meeting: South Dunedin Action Group #AllWelcome

SDAG Meeting Notice 20 Jun 2016 Nations Church 6pm[click to enlarge]

Date: Monday, 20 June 2016
Venue: Nations Church, 334 King Edward St, South Dunedin
Time: 6:00pm (1800 hours)

Facebook: South Dunedin Action Group
https://www.facebook.com/SouthDunedinActionGroup/

Message to Mayor David Cull

M E M O R Y • P R O B L E M S • C A N • H A P P E N • A T • A N Y • A G E
keep managed retreat and climate change out of local body politics

ODT 16.6.16 (page 12) —[click to enlarge]

ODT 16.6.16 Letters to editor Stedman Oaten p12

█ For related posts and comments, enter the terms *flood*, *sea level rise*, *stormwater*, *hazard*, *johnstone*, *hendry*, *south dunedin action group*, *debriefing notes* or *listener* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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

58 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Geography, Health, Heritage, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, South Dunedin, Town planning, Transportation, Urban design, What stadium