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A report to the regional council this week outlined its previous and upcoming work assessing natural hazards and the effects of future climate change in South Dunedin.
While the regional and Dunedin City councils have been involved in various science projects on the subject since the June 2015 floods, the report noted there was no agreement on direction for work in the area.
The regional council resolved for governance of both councils to meet and agree on a timeframe and "joint vision" for the area.
The report said the regional council will create a geological model of South Dunedin as part of the NZSeaRise project.
This involves staff working with GNS Science to create a drilling programme of deep investigation bores.
It will combine with other work to create a 3-D model of the subsurface beneath South Dunedin.
The regional council will also work with GNS Science to update active fault mapping in the Dunedin and Clutha Districts in the coming year.
An EQC-led project will use a series of 20-cone penetrometer tests to investigate the sediment properties beneath South Dunedin.
This testing will also allow for piezometers, which are specialised pipes for measuring groundwater levels, to be installed while the tests are carried out.
Cr Gretchen Robertson said extending the groundwater model from the central business district to the harbourside and out to the coast was "fantastic and a lot of extra science".
"We need to plan out what adaptation looks like. We’re on the right path."
Cr Michael Deaker said it was important the report did not disappear into "two rabbit holes".
"From the start we need to have collaboration; this is a shared venture."
Cr Andrew Noone said in a meeting in South Dunedin last year he told the crowd the area would "not be forgotten about" by the council.
"We have some pieces of puzzle, but we’re not there yet."
Cr Michael Laws said he "loathed" joint governance groups.
"They don’t work and you’re just about to find that out."
Cr Bryan Scott said the council "did not really know where it was going" with the work.
"We need a managed adaptation plan. We need to protect the quality of lives of the residents who are already there."
Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said he spoke to Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull this week to start the process of a joint vision.
"This is a long journey. The next conversations need to be had jointly with the city."