Providing solutions for the future of South Dunedin will take “significant time”, the Dunedin City Council says.
Speaking to a crowd of about 200 people at Nations Church in South Dunedin on Monday night, DCC community development manager Joy Gunn said the council had been asked if it could have some responses for residents by December, but while it was “fully committed” to finding solutions for the community, it would take “more than six months”, Ms Gunn said.
“They are not overnight decisions.”
She said data being gathered by the council, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and Otago Regional Council was enabling staff to develop models for different issues, including groundwater levels and sea level rise, that could affect the area.
“Climate change is complex and is a complicated issue.”
However, she said, contrary to some fears in the community, the council had no plans for a “planned retreat” from South Dunedin and any discussions about the future of the suburb would involve in-depth community consultation.
“[We are] very connected to this community.”
The meeting also included updates on the South Dunedin hub, stormwater systems, the South Dunedin Stakeholders’ Group, as well as audience comment and questions, and information from geoscientist Dr Simon Cox.
Many audience questions centred on the mud tanks and stormwater system that blocked in the June 2015 floods. The council’s wastewater treatment manager, Chris Henderson, had reassured residents earlier in the meeting the system was “working well”.
A new screen was operating at the Portobello Rd pumping station and a change in contractors for the stormwater cleaning and monitoring had led to more frequent cleaning of the mud tanks, he said.
Glen Mitchell, from the council’s civil defence management team, said the council’s “proactive” response to a forecast of heavy rain at Easter – with door-knocking, delivery of sandbags and continued weather updates – indicated that it had learned a lot from the 2015 floods.
“As a consequence, [there have been] a lot of changes.”