Otago Daily Times

Shaw lauds climate change plan

- TIM SCOTT PIJF cadet reporter

A PARTY leader has praised the Dunedin City Council for its longterm plan to adapt for climate change in South Dunedin.

Green Party coleader James Shaw attended a street meeting for the South Dunedin Future work programme on Saturday.

The joint initiative by the Dunedin City and Otago Regional Councils would help South Dunedin address flooding problems and adapt to climate change, Mr Shaw said.

The programme had done a great job at consulting the community and listening to their concerns, he said.

‘‘This is probably one of the best case studies in the country of how a council is getting to grips with the process of engaging a community in a longterm plan for how to adapt,’’ Mr Shaw said.

‘‘I’m actually thrilled to see this because people have been talking about this for a really long time, for years, and I think the kind of plan they’ve got and the way they’ve engaged with the local community is superb.’’

Programme manager Jonathan Rowe said the meeting was a chance to engage with the community and collect metrics about what they valued.

This would increase staff’s confidence in assessing what the community wanted.

Mr Rowe said the metrics obtained would be used to advise the council on the future direction of the programme as accurately as it could.

Members of the public weighed in on which issues mattered the most to them, by assigning adhesive dots to boards listing the DCC’s focus.

Dunedin resident Fran Radley said her main concern was people’s lives being affected.

‘‘There are . . . less financiall­y healthy people in South Dunedin that are worried that if this goes where do they go,’’ she said.

‘‘There are a lot of people here that need the security that their home here is still here.’’

Fellow resident Thelma Greer wanted the council to keep them informed on the process.

‘‘Talking openly about all of the issues and all of the things that can be done and the possibilit­ies within budgets, it needs to be out there so people know,’’ she said.

Mr Shaw said the need to adapt to climate change in South Dunedin was ‘‘critical’’.

Coastal erosion and a high water table meant it would not take much to turn into extreme flooding.

There were four responses to climate change: do nothing, accommodat­e, defend and relocate.

He said the programme was a combinatio­n of all of those things,

He commended it for being gradual, phased and long term, as this would ensure a sense of stability and safety in the event of a voluntary buyout or relocation.

‘‘My sense is that the DCC has done a really good job of engaging the community on this.

‘‘They’re actually asking for guidance in terms of where should we focus first, what’s most important to you — that will help to shape the plan over the long term.’’

 ?? PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON ?? Dunedin resident Thelma Greer talks to Green Party coleader James Shaw at a South Dunedin Future street meeting on Saturday.
PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON Dunedin resident Thelma Greer talks to Green Party coleader James Shaw at a South Dunedin Future street meeting on Saturday.
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