Media release

South Dunedin adaptation long list approved

Thursday 7 December 2023

Councils have strongly endorsed the long list of 16 adaptation approaches for low-lying South Dunedin for community engagement early next year.

South Dunedin Future is a joint programme of the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council to respond to flooding problems, climate change and the other natural hazards facing South Dunedin. We are aiming to create an adaptation plan for the area by 2026.

Both councils have this week noted three reports outlining the long list, as well as an initial risk assessment and a report on national and international case studies relevant to the South Dunedin context.

Mayor of Dunedin Jules Radich says, "I am delighted to have the South Dunedin work get to this point. It is vital for our city. Lifting the social and economic resilience of Dunedin in the face of climate change will be critical to our future."

Otago Regional Council Chair Gretchen Robertson says, "This is a significant step towards identifying how South Dunedin develops in the future. South Dunedin has long been a place of change, starting as a wetland to now being home to 10% of Dunedin's population.

"Today we have taken another significant step towards making a strong plan for South Dunedin's future", Cr Robertson says.

The long list was created by combining the most promising approaches being used around the world in similar contexts with the 280 ideas collected from people in South Dunedin through community engagement throughout this year.

The approaches range from protection schemes like drainage and water storage to new planning controls and forms of partial retreat. Some new approaches highlighted include designing open spaces such asĀ roads and parks to be floodable and diverting water from buildings, ground strengthening, building land up and resilience measures such as lifting or waterproofing houses.

During their discussions, councillors emphasised the need for national support for the adaptation plan being developed.

"We are running a nation-leading process and it is my expectation this will attract significant Government support to make South Dunedin both safer and better for all," Mr Radich says.

Both councils resolved to talk about the approaches and gather feedback from the public starting early in 2024.

"We want the community to help us look at all the approaches that have been identified and be part of the decisions made," says Mr Radich.