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Cr Kate Wilson moved the council include $75,000 in the draft plan to fund initial investigative work on the Dunedin coastline at high risk of erosion from sea level rise and extreme weather events.
The work would be done in consultation with the community and the Otago Regional Council.
Staff would approach the Government for support.
During debate there was discussion of the ORC's financial responsibility on the issue, as it was responsible for the marine environment beyond the beach.
Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said staff were discussing that issue with the regional council.
Crs Lee Vandervis and Mike Lord opposed the idea of the report, but Cr Richard Thomson said the council needed to understand the order of priority for any work, and what might "sneak up and bite us, before it does''.
Cr Wilson said the issue for Dunedin was not just Ocean Beach.
"We need to step back and find out what the big picture is.''
The council voted to include the funding in the draft plan.
It also voted to go ahead with an already mooted report on Ocean Beach, which suffered damage over the winter from severe storms.
The council ordered an in-depth engineering report on the issue from consultants Tonkin and Taylor in 2011, which recommended the continuation of a holding pattern for 10 years, followed by either managed retreat from the area or construction over 10 to 50 years of a buried backstop wall.
Parks, recreation and aquatics group manager Richard Saunders said that report had included indicative costs, but the new report would take that "a step further''.
Work at the area to repair sand sausages would continue, and would be done by June.
Mr Saunders said the council would have cost options when the report was presented in May.