Opinion: Forbury Park sale raises questions

For a decade to just on 2 years ago, I was living in Corstorphine with a view over South Dunedin.

Every time there was any decent rain, Forbury Park would turn into a beautiful, silver, shimmering lake.

Often for quite a bit longer than might be imagined or thought good.

Not surprising, as is well known, South Dunedin is a drained wetland, and the "high" parts of Forbury Park are less than a child’s height above sea level, and the underlying, and connected, water table.

So, its common sense really, that Forbury Park should be able to be part of whatever mitigation winds up taking place in South Dunedin. Isn’t it?

It might, though, have been useful to understand the technical solutions with some depth first. Like, how much more water could Forbury Park absorb given how wet it already gets? How will water get from the rest of South D to the park? And what else needs to be bought up to do that?

But perhaps the larger questions are these:

What’s the public health take on living in houses with regularly wet piles which can cause rising damp, and ongoing respiratory problems? Because that will happen long before water is persistently on the surface.

And with roughly half of those living on the flat renting, and at least some residents having to move out regardless of the eventual solution, where is the money coming from to build the new rental stock that will be needed?

It’s not coming from the renters. It’s not coming from landlords unless they’re lucky enough to lose their properties to compulsory purchase for a canal or two.

We already have a shortage of low-income housing, and typically the poorest of us live in the worst houses.

It would be useful to understand how the council’s purchase of Forbury Park will help with that.

If you would like to support the Mission’s work with a donation, please visit www.givealittle.co.nz and search for The Methodist Mission.