ORC seeks joint approach on South D

Andrew Noone
Andrew Noone
It is hoped a meeting between the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council can be held before Christmas to discuss a joint approach to tackling the environmental issues South Dunedin faces.

Regional council chairman Andrew Noone said he hoped an action-focused partnership would then be in place within a matter of months.

The regional council this week agreed to approach the city council about being involved in decision-making and work on solutions to the threats posed to South Dunedin by climate change.

The regional council’s appetite for more of a say in decisions about South Dunedin comes as a major report by Deep South Challenge has warned many properties in the area - which already struggles with flooding - face skyrocketing insurance premiums due to rising sea levels.

While the two councils already collaborate to ensure their work is aligned, it is not linked and instead progresses in parallel, a report presented to the regional council on Tuesday found.

Cr Noone said he expected the city council would agree to the regional council’s subsequent offer to form an oversight group and an integrated work programme, including shared objectives, scope and resources to make decisions on the future South Dunedin.

"It is logical that the governance arms on both councils should be involved in those decisions."

City council staff had spoken to regional council staff and asked them to indicate whether they wanted to have input, he said.

He believed the city council was likely to accept the partnership offer.

"I would say yes, it would be quite likely.

"It now seems that there is enough confidence in the analysis, or the data, that we are able to start making some decision around some sort of integrated work programme," he said.

The meeting was likely to include him, regional council chief executive Sarah Gardner, operations general manager Gavin Palmer, and the city council’s equivalent staff, including Mayor Aaron Hawkins.

During a strategy and planning committee meeting on Tuesday, he said it was time to lobby central Government on the issues the city faced.

That was best to come from the two councils as a collective, he said.

"There clearly needs to be a shoulder-to-shoulder approach."

The two councils had successfully worked together on similar levels in the past, including on coastal erosion issues and other natural hazards.

That involved sharing information to ensure landowners and the city were well informed about about natural hazards.

If it went ahead, the partnership should be formed within a matter of months, Cr Noone said.

A city council spokesman did not say whether it agreed with a joint governance structure.

It was already working collaboratively with the regional council at a staff level, but any new approach to governance would have to be considered by councillors first, he said.


Interesting. Now, I wonder which faction at the DCC will be talking to which faction at the ORC about this "working together" plan?







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