Work on South D issues

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says it is too early to make a formal approach to the Government for help with the problems facing South Dunedin.

Mr Cull made the comments while outlining the council’s response to its vote last month to "immediately engage" the Government over the threat groundwater and sea-level changes pose to the low-lying area.

Mr Cull said that in recent weeks he and chief executive Sue Bidrose  briefed local MPs  on the situation in South Dunedin and in the past he had spoken to ministers Bill English and Paula Bennett about the possibility of "collaboration" between local and central government in addressing South Dunedin’s  issues.

"What we want to do is have discussions with Government — and all MPs for that matter — so we all understand and are on the same page about what the issues are."

It was too early to make a formal approach, but  one  might be made once the situation became clearer.

If, for example, the solutions involved "massive urban renewal or massive pumps" then Government help could be sought.

"If the solution had a big number next to it, then we would sit down and say how we are going to resource it?"

It would also need to go to the Government if after conversations with the South Dunedin community it was decided  large-scale urban renewal was needed, for example lifting the ground level in an area and building  homes.

Such urban renewal could require the power to amalgamate titles or  compulsorily buy land.

"That would be something  we would definitely need to talk to central government about, because we don’t have those powers and they can only come through legislation."

When councillors voted on the issue last month, Cr David Benson-Pope’s original proposal was softened and references to government funding were removed.

Some  councillors felt more detail was needed about the challenge facing South Dunedin before any requests for funding were made.


Which councillors? We need a fully informed vote.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter