Need to work side by side on sea-level rise

The Otago Regional Council yesterday officially reaffirmed its commitment to working with the Dunedin City Council to tackle the impact of sea-level rise in the South Dunedin and harbourside areas.

''We need to work side by side. It is a significant challenge for the city and ourselves,'' regional council chairman Stephen Woodhead said.

The regional council's technical committee yesterday considered an update on groundwater monitoring in the South Dunedin area.

Mr Woodhead asked the committee to formally recommend the council work collaboratively with the city council on climate change adaption work in the city's southern flat areas.

Both councils had responsibility for managing and adapting to hazards and the regional council had the expertise and technical know-how to advise the city council on the planning adaptions it might be considering, he said.

''We owe it to the community to think now, not just about the next decade, but the next 50 years or the next 100 years. It'll not be done overnight or next month.''

Cr Michael Deaker questioned why the committee needed to formally adopt such a recommendation when it had already been working with the council and providing technical information.

He did not want the council to be seen as influencing city council decisions as how it dealt with the regional council's information was up to it and its ratepayers.

''We'd be very resentful if the situation was put the other way.''

Mr Woodhead said the relationship could go beyond just sharing information but it was difficult to quantify how when dealing with such a long-term issue.

Regional council engineering, hazards and science director Gavin Palmer said under legislation the council's involvement was required to go beyond just providing the information.

After the Christchurch earthquakes, the regional council was criticised for not advocating strongly for the information it held on liquefaction beforehand, he said.

Committee chairman Cr Bryan Scott said it was a case of ''not telling them what to do but not keeping out mouths shut either''.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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