Media release

ORC seeking feedback on Leith river project with new tool

Friday 19 January 2018

Otago Regional Council (ORC) has begun public engagement on the enhancement of the Forth St to Otago Harbour reach of the Water of Leith, one of the final stages of the Leith Flood Protection Scheme.

ORC Director Engineering, Hazards and Science Dr Gavin Palmer said this stage of the long-term project is an exciting opportunity to transform the area.

“This section is well-known for its high walls and concrete channels, products of historic flood protection and reclamation of shoreline work going back to the early 1900s. Although the deep channels have made accessibility difficult, we believe it has the potential to become a new and functional space for the public.

“Before our team begin concept design development, we want to hear what the public would like to see happen in this area. Any enhancement work will complement the improvements already made with our previous flood protection works, and will maintain the flood protection aspect of these channels,” Dr Palmer said.

The council is asking for feedback on the project called ‘Love Your Leith’, with a trial of a new online engagement platform.

ORC Director Stakeholder Engagement Sian Sutton said this new platform enables the public to choose how they want to give feedback.

“This is a chance for people to share their big ideas on how they’d like this classic Dunedin feature to look and feel. Whether it’s about facilities, access or ecology, the online tool gives a variety of options for people to respond. We know that people are busy and coming to a face-to-face meeting is not always an option. Having modern online engagement tools ensures that everyone gets to get involved without leaving the comfort of their lounge room. We’re also keen for younger people to have voice in this project and the fact is that these generations are moving more and more toward digital platforms.” 

Ms Sutton also said there will also be other opportunities to provide feedback: “Obviously, we will never replace seeing our ratepayers face-to-face – what we’re really seeking to do is give a broader range of choices for people, and do it in a way that is fun and engaging.”

ORC is also taking a joint approach to design development. A Working Group for the project has been established, with representatives from ORC, Dunedin City Council, University of Otago, Otago Polytechnic, and Aukaha on behalf of Kāi Tahu. With the guidance of an external facilitator, the group will collaborate to develop design concepts based on the community feedback gathered from ‘Love Your Leith’ public engagement.

To have your say, visit

For more information contact:

Dr Gavin Palmer
ORC Director Engineering, Hazards & Science
03 474 0827

Sian Sutton
ORC Director Stakeholder Engagement
027 757 1799

Communications contact:

Eleanor Ross
ORC Senior Strategic Communications and Engagement Advisor
027 558 9914