Sth D library design to reduce flood risk

The decision to paint the exterior of the building at the future site of the South Dunedin...
The decision to paint the exterior of the building at the future site of the South Dunedin library was made before the Dunedin City Council received new information that showed demolition and a new build was the most cost-effective option for the new facility, the council says. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
The planned $11 million South Dunedin library will be designed with raised floors to lower the risk of flooding, the Dunedin City Council says.

The site is near some of the most vulnerable land in Otago as sea levels rise over the coming decades.

The council plans on pumping millions into infrastructure in the area to lessen the damage extreme weather brings.

Yet, council community services general manager Simon Pickford said the new library and community complex would be built to last at the corner of King Edward St and Macandrew Rd for 50 to 100 years.

It would be designed to minimise the risk of flooding, he said.

Planning was being done in line with the council’s 10-year plan climate change assumptions, previous flood data and district plan rules, as well as the New Zealand Building Code, Mr Pickford said.

Due diligence, site assessments, risk management throughout the life of the project, and consideration of all relevant codes and standards, including for flood protection, had been done, he said.

Also, $11.6million has been included in the draft 2021-31 plan budgets to build the new building.

The council’s 10-year plan climate change assumptions show some uncertainty as to the damage that greater-than-projected sea level rise and extreme rain could cause.

It says there could be a need to accelerate council plans to lessen the effects.

But the assessments detailing the risk to the South Dunedin site were not confined to one report and the council could not provide more detail into its risk assessments of the site yesterday, a council spokesman said.

Late last year though, a government-funded report highlighted financial risks faced in Dunedin’s low-lying areas.

In areas exposed to intensifying climate change-related hazards, properties were likely to find it increasingly difficult to retain insurance, the report said.

Due to predicted sea level rise, storms that were typically given a 1% chance of occurring in any year, often called one in 100-year storms, would, before 2050, have a 5% chance of occurring each year.

An increase of the probability of these extreme storms to 2% would cause insurance premiums to rise, the report said.

An increase to 5% would render properties in the area uninsurable, it said.

Insurance does not appear to be discussed in the council’s climate change assumptions, nor its infrastructure strategy.

Nevertheless, the council notes increased construction in low-lying parts of the region.

Over the next 15 years, coastal Otago is likely to have $3.3billion of construction projects valued at $20million or more, the council says in its long-term plan forecasting assumptions.

Further, the council plans to spend $35million on flood reduction within South Dunedin over the next 10 years, on things such as new higher flow mud tanks, pumping stations and new ways of diverting or managing water to respond to the climate-driven challenges facing South Dunedin, it says.

The new library site is expected to be cleared by the middle of this year, and the facility is expected to open in 2023-24.


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