‘New crowd’ attends South D Future expo

Lennon, 4, and Courtney McNeill, of Dunedin, place Lego on a map of South Dunedin at the South...
Lennon, 4, and Courtney McNeill, of Dunedin, place Lego on a map of South Dunedin at the South Dunedin Future Expo. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
About 200 people attended a council-organised community exhibition about managing South Dunedin’s water challenges at the weekend.

South Dunedin Future community engagement officer Ian Telfer said the South Dunedin Future Expo had brought in "a whole new crowd" and he had been particularly "delighted" to see children there as well as adults.

The free event at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin included workshops, a game and even Lego to help people of all ages think and talk about 16 options identified for managing the suburb’s future.

The options are a long list pulled together by the South Dunedin Future programme.

They were compiled from international best practice and a previous community consultation by the programme, which is led by Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council.

Thinking about the water issues could be "scary and confronting" for people, Mr Telfer said, but "in the end we owe it to people to give them the information".

The mood had been good on the whole and people were appreciative, though there was a range of views on risk.

"There are lots of worries, but also lots of positives. People want to know what will happen on their street, to their house."

Programme manager Jonathan Rowe said the event had enabled people to spend time with experts working within the programme, including engineers.

People had been able to discuss some of the trade-offs between different options, for example short term versus long term, and infrastructure and the environment.

Options include water storage solutions, building design restrictions, and managed relocation of people.

Otago regional councillor Elliot Weir, who lives in Caversham, said it was "big stuff" for people to take on board and there were "a million reasons" why more people did not come to such events.

There was a lot on the table for people to consider, he said, including adaptation, but also transition to a greener future.

"For a lot of people it is scary and for some it requires a paradigm shift they are not willing to undergo, but South Dunedin cannot continue business as usual."