Cafe LOL owner Paul Martin and Wall Street manager Regan
Bennett put out sandbags and boards in St Andrew St to
prevent water from flowing into the mall yesterday. Photo
by Craig Baxter.
A brief deluge yesterday had central Dunedin on standby
again as the mop-up continues from a storm on Monday that
overwhelmed the city's stormwater system.
Contractors were out inspecting drains and the entrance to
the Wall Street mall complex in George St was sandbagged in
case yesterday's forecast storm had the same results as
But while the water on the west side of George St rose
rapidly from 2.40pm as 8mm of rain fell in 10-15 minutes -
compared with 30mm in 30 minutes on Monday - it drained away
Wall Street mall manager Regan Bennett said sandbags and
sheets of plywood were used to direct the water away.
''I think we might have to think about a more permanent
solution if this is going to keep happening.''
On Monday, Dunedin was lashed by a one-in-50 year event that
led to water flowing through about 20 businesses, mainly in
Passing vehicles pushed water from flooded streets into shops
while water flowed from the street into one store due to a
problem the DCC is going to fix.
The council is also to consider whether drilling holes in
drain covers would help divert water more directly to the
drain in such situations.
DCC roading maintenance engineer Peter Standring said the
stores were affected by water that overwhelmed city
stormwater mains. He said it was appropriate for water to
collect on roads in such situations, as long as it flowed
away in the end, but not for it to flow into private
Contractors and council staff had investigated the issues at
the corner of St Andrew and George Sts, where water flowed
into clothing store Jay Jays, and would rectify the problem.
Yesterday, a similar issue appeared to be looming at the
opposite corner of the same intersection - St Andrew St is an
open drain for water flowing down from York Pl so flow is
particularly heavy there during a downpour - but was relieved
when a contractor lifted a drain cover.
Rings and Things retail assistant Stacey Fraser, who stood
with a mop, towels and buckets as the water began creeping
towards her doorway again yesterday, said a T-shirt,
toothbrush, mop head and a hairdresser's spritzer bottle
emerged from the drain as the water flooded towards her door.
She was upset the council had not done anything about the
problem previously, saying ''the DCC should keep the drains
cleaner''. Mr Standring said the issues both days were
related to the stormwater mains being too full to take any
more water, rather than any blocked drains. Mud tanks were
checked before the rain on Monday and again afterwards.
A massive amount of rubbish washed into Dunedin's CBD drains
and mud tanks every day and a tank could contain rubbish
again minutes after it was cleared, Mr Standring said.
An item such as a supermarket bag, caught up in
rapidly-flowing water, could slow water flow significantly if
it covered a grille. The city's mud tanks were checked and
cleared regularly - some weekly, others monthly - and all
were monitored in between.
''The cause of all this is not how good or bad the drains
were; it's the fact the main stormwater drain was chocker,''
Mr Standring said.
A stormwater system big enough to cope with that much water
could be built but whether it was worth the cost to cope with
rain events which happened two or three times a year - was
questionable, when the system coped most of the time.
Mr Standring said temporarily closing the road, to prevent
traffic pushing stormwater into premises, was impractical,
because by the time a message got through the problem was
The council took any damage seriously and after each flood
tried to improve different aspects of the network to prevent