Feasibility study into opening of inlet

A study has been commissioned to find a long-term solution to the problem of Hoopers Inlet blocking.

The inlet mouth became blocked earlier in the year and high water levels had been undermining the integrity of the surrounding roads and flooded parts of some neighbouring properties.

A meeting attended by representatives of the Otago Regional Council, Dunedin City Council and inlet community, chaired by Otago regional councillor and inlet neighbour Sam Neill, was held last week to discuss the issue.

Cr Neill told a regional council meeting yesterday, it appeared the inlet was ''nobody's responsibility which is disappointing'' but ''that's the way it is''.

However, everyone at the meeting agreed the inlet should be opened, he said.

ORC regional services director Jeff Donaldson said while it was not the regional council's responsibility, chief executive Peter Bodeker had given him a mandate to see if a solution was available.

After the meeting, people had approached him saying trying to open the inlet was a waste of time, he said.

The council had since discovered a University of Otago researcher who had worked in the inlet, and had commissioned a feasibility study into what it would take to open the inlet permanently.

''The concern is that if we open it today, it'll close tomorrow unless we fully understand the dynamics of it.''

The regional council had asked the city council to split the small cost of the study.

''It should give us a lot of good detail and a lot of valuable information for the long-term future.''

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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