South Dunedin views sought

Dunedin City Council South Dunedin Future programme manager Jonathan Rowe (left) and senior...
Dunedin City Council South Dunedin Future programme manager Jonathan Rowe (left) and senior communications and engagement adviser Ian Telfer are keen to get broad-ranging input from the community into future plans for the area, including through a family-friendly expo next weekend. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
After several years of research and preparation, the Dunedin City Council South Dunedin Future project team are calling on the community across South Dunedin and the wider city to have their say on what they want for the future of the area.

In its user-friendly flyer, the joint DCC and Otago Regional Council programme offers a long-list of 16 ideas to help the South Dunedin community adapt and prepare for a changing climate and future flooding problems.

To get the ball rolling, the flyer is being delivered this week to 6500 South Dunedin households, and a five-week online survey has been launched to collect community feedback.

And to encourage direct input from as many people as possible, the team will host a family-friendly South Dunedin Future Expo on March 2 and 3, from 10am to 4pm upstairs at the Edgar Centre, in Portsmouth Dr.

DCC South Dunedin Future programme manager Jonathan Rowe said the expo would be a chance for the whole family to get involved in games and creative activities, including the "township flood challenge" and the "South D Lego build".

"It will be an ideal way for people to learn about the issues, have their say and have some fun at the same time," Mr Rowe said.

"We are also very keen to get input from young people on the plans for South Dunedin — obviously, they have a huge stake in the future of the area and the city.

"A lot of the aspects of climate change will impact on them," he said.

For those who were unable to make it next weekend, there would be other chances to get involved, including via stalls at the South Dunedin Street Festival on March 16 and Moana Nui Festival on March 23.

The team were pushing hard to get as much feedback as possible, as they worked to transition the discussion from focusing on the problems of the past, to looking at the opportunities of the future, Mr Rowe said.

"We all want South Dunedin to be a vibrant place where people will want to live," he said.

Among the important questions to answer was how to create spaces that might have one purpose most of the time but that could adapt in the event of a major rain event or rising water table.

"How do we think of creating spaces like that?"

The list of 16 approaches in the South Dunedin Future flyer, which are the result of merging 280 ideas from the community and experts, are grouped under the headings of Protect, Accommodate, Retreat and Avoid.

They include lowering groundwater, land elevation, improving water flow, dedicated water storage, coastal protection, changing residents’ responses, modifying properties, reactive retreat, managed relocation, more restrictive standards and no new development, and all are up for discussion.

South Dunedin Future senior communications and engagement adviser Ian Telfer said working through the 16 options could seem complicated for people, which was why the team were keen to get people to come along to the expo, hear explanations and ask questions.

Another exciting factor now in the mix was the former Forbury Park raceway site, which was recently bought by the Dunedin City Council for $13.2 million.

Acquiring the 11.76ha site created a wide range of options for the council, including around stormwater management, he said.

"It is a very strategic site for South Dunedin, and it will be great to have it as a vital piece of the puzzle," Mr Telfer said.

Mr Rowe said once community feedback and ideas had been gathered, the original 16 options would be refined and more work would be done on costs, feasibility, implications and trade-offs, and then more feedback would be sought.

"There are going to be a lot of chances to get involved over the next two years, and we encourage everyone to take an active role," he said.