Media release

Combating climate change is a Long Term Plan priority

Friday 6 March 2015

Special emphasis on developing a targeted response to the effects of climate change in the Otago region will form part of the Otago Regional Council’s 2015-2025 Long Term Plan.

ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker says the treatment of climate change is the result of research in recent years by council staff on the likely impact of natural hazards on the regional environment.

A key part of this would see ORC engaging with the Dunedin City Council in the development of a natural hazards risk management strategy for South Dunedin.

ORC’s overall natural hazard identification work involves assessing the potential scale and significance of earthquakes, tsunami, and flooding. The work on South Dunedin would include investigation and assessment of options for reducing the impact on people and property of a natural disaster.

“We can’t ignore the ongoing impact on climate change on sea level rise or the associated impact a major flood or earthquake would have on Dunedin and other communities on the Otago coast,” Mr Bodeker said.

“The increasing volatility in our weather patterns means we also have to be vigilant in ensuring people build in safe zones, or at least are aware of the hazards associated with building in places that could be threatened.”

“Just because we haven’t had to cope with disasters on the scale of the Canterbury earthquakes in the last five years doesn’t mean we can afford to be complacent.”

Mr Bodeker said there was a proposal in the LTP to collate existing information about the location and characteristics of known active geological faults in Otago and investigate potentially new faults.

“We want to be proactive in ensuring we have as much accurate, up-to-date information as possible to inform and educate people about the risks associated with natural hazards,” he said.

Footnote: ORC councillors will consider an LTP consultation document on March 11. Submissions on the consultation document open in mid-to-late March and close on May 4.
Public hearings start on May 11. The consultative process will be the forerunner to the council’s consideration on June 24 of the LTP, after public submissions have been considered.

For more information please contact

Peter Bodeker
Chief Executive
Ph 0274 998 328