'Urgent' action on rain radar needed

Cr Aaron Hawkins
Cr Aaron Hawkins
The MetService needs to take "urgent" action to accelerate plans for a rain radar in Otago, a Dunedin city councillor says.

The call came from Cr Aaron Hawkins as he and Cr David Benson-Pope put forward a notice of motion to next week's Dunedin City Council meeting, calling for the council to lobby the MetService over the issue.

The motion would have to be backed by a majority of councillors at Tuesday's meeting before becoming council policy.

But Cr Hawkins said he was in no doubt such a facility was needed, as significant weather events like last month's flooding became increasingly common.

"It's already a major concern with the weather events we've been seeing in recent years, which are only going to get worse as our climate becomes more volatile.

"Unfortunately, it makes it extremely difficult from a Civil Defence emergency management point of view to manage extreme weather events without getting reliable information on the way through.

"The weather system is always going to be unpredictable, but you're fighting with one hand behind your back without having a radar anywhere near the city."

The motion to next week's meeting called for the council to make "urgent representations to the Meteorological Service and other agencies in respect of the installation of rain radar(s) for Dunedin city and the surrounding area".

Cr Hawkins said that left room for more than one facility to be built, if necessary, to provide sufficient cover.

The fresh push came after the MetService last month confirmed a delay to the planned rollout of the facility, until May 2020, because its preferred site had been sold and further negotiations were needed.

The Otago Regional Council discussed the delay last month, and noted the absence of a radar for Otago could affect public safety, as it was "difficult to confirm whether some rivers had peaked" during last month's flood.

 

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