New natural hazards plan 'a pulling back'

An updated natural hazards plan for Dunedin represents ''a pulling back'' from a previous proposal that would have blocked new development in some areas.

Under the previous version of the Dunedin City Council plan, new development would have been banned in areas at the most ''extreme'' risk of natural hazards.

New development in other ''non-compliant'' areas would have been allowed only in exceptional circumstances, DCC policy planner Sally Dicey said.

The new plan did not have any areas designated as ''prohibited'', and ''we have pulled back from the size of the area [designated] non-compliant'', Ms Dicey said.

It also marked a move towards a more ''case-by-case'' approach, whereby development in many at-risk areas would be permitted, but managed, she said.

Many coastal properties that were previously in extreme risk hazard zones, where new development would have been prohibited, were no longer in designated hazard zones under the new plan.

''That might be an area we revisit and get more technical assessments on in the future to have a better understanding of risk,'' Ms Dicey said.

The DCC received 181 submissions on the previous plan during public consultations last winter.

A major concern was the impact the plan might have on property values and insurance costs.

That was taken into consideration, Ms Dicey said.

''Compared to the original proposal, this plan is expected to have a lower impact on property prices and insurance,'' she said.

Aramoana League secretary John Davis made a submission on behalf of the league last year criticising the ''anxiety'' the plan had provoked among home-owners and insurance providers.

Mr Davis, whose own home was in an extreme hazard zone under the previous plan, said ''I don't believe we do [need a natural hazard plan]''.

Nonetheless, ''they've certainly listened to us, and possibly we're on the right track'', he said.

The Otago Regional Council was involved in drafting both versions of the plan.

ORC hazards director Dr Gavin Palmer said ''tolerance [for natural hazard risk] will always be a subjective thing, and that's why there's a process of consultation''.

''It's not simply a matter of where to occupy and where to not occupy, but how you do it,'' he said. Ms Dicey said, overall, the plan did not represent a retreat from action on natural hazards.

''It's a balancing act between allowing people to use their property, but also not having new developments which are exposed to future risks.''

Public consultation on the new plan would open in September, at which time the DCC would publish more specific information about the plan and mapping of the hazard overlays, Ms Dicey said.

carla.green@odt.co.nz

 

 


Dunedin plan

 

• 181 submissions on previous DCC proposal

• Plan addresses natural hazards, including predicted global warming effects

• Ban on new development in certain areas removed

• Other restrictions on new development relaxed

• New plan open for consultation in September


 

 

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