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Dunedin Hospital

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, May 8th, 2018 - 22 comments
Categories: david clark, Environment, health, quality of life, science, Social issues, sustainability, useless, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , ,

A couple of things.

I don’t have fins and am unlikely to grow any in the near future.  The people of Dunedin and the wider Otago region do not have webbed hands and/or webbed feet.

Which brings me to the question of what the thought might be behind throwing NZ$1.4 billion at Dunedein harbour building a hospital on reclaimed land by 2026. Some of the current hospital buildings were built in the 1940s. So, taking that as a very rough and ready baseline, we might expect a hospital to functional for some 80 years. Certainly, if we’re talking about just the site (so, allowing for refurbishments, upgrades, expansions and rebuilds), then much longer than that.

During the course of the next 80 years and beyond, NZ and the rest of the world will be suffering the effects of a rise in sea level that is (at current temperature and CO2 levels) going to top out at around 20m.

That 20m isn’t going to arrive all at once some sunny day in the dim and distant future. True, some of it won’t arrive until well into the next century. But some of it – the very beginnings of it – is coming up at an increasing rate right now, A fair whack of it could well be coming up in coming decades.

Whereas the IPCC is currently suggesting that 1m of sea level rise can be expected by 2100, that expectation does not take into account any contribution from Antarctica (west or east) or Greenland. Scientists and researchers studying those areas are suggesting some metres may be coming from those sources this century. They are also pretty adamant that sea level rise from those sources won’t be off the back of some slow and steady affair of gradual ice melt, but really quite fast as the ice, at least from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, undergoes a series of catastrophic collapses due to increasing physical instability.

There should be no need to point out that the conditions needed to collapse the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are being established right now. And that there’s nothing can be done to halt it, slow it or reverse it. Given that reality, an intelligent nod to the precautionary principle would have us build infrastructure well above the current level of spring high tides, not on some reclaimed land that we might reasonably expect to be back under water by mid century.

But hey, why bother thinking about stuff that isn’t about a current term of office, or that might be “a bit hard”, or that might lead to feelings of “discomfort”? Not one article I’ve read on this Dunedin Hospital build makes any mention of land elevation or sea level rise, and yet – wasn’t there a report by the Commissioner for the Environment on that very issue of infrastructure and rising sea levels not so long ago?

Whatever.

There’s a closed down chocolate factory (whisper it) at sea level, with the site of an ex-supermarket next door. It’s reasonably cheap central real estate.  Let’s do it.

Sad to say, location, location and money probably constitute the entire depth and breadth of the thinking engaged in by politicians who, by and large and across the board, simply aren’t grasping the magnitude of what’s before us, and so are stacking up some very bad shit for people being born in the present.

22 comments on “Dunedin Hospital ”

  1. jcuknz 1

    Since the dam fool greenie Mayor wanted it “in the city” what can you expect?
    But my reaction was I hoped they would provide good and plenty parking unlike the current hospital constructed when cars were ‘New fangled things”.[and some of the few provided were taken over by air conditioning plant or something]
    My thought was for at least a double storeid car park under the hospital so than when the water comes and folk use boat rather than cars to access the place the building will be high and reasonably dry for patients and staff.

  2. Ad 2

    The Dunedin Council did a report in 2014 assessing options to mitigate against sea level rise. It has some expected rises up to 2130

    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/437365/Assessment-of-Options-for-Protecting-Harbourside-and-South-City-from-Direct-Impacts-of-Sea-Level-Rise.pdf

    Dunedin Council appear to be aware of it.

    http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/your-council/district-plan/2gp/natural-hazards-phase/climate-change/climate-change-adaptation-harbourside-and-south-city

    But if you want to go all out, here’s a 10 metre rise scenario for Dunedin – the maps enable a zoom-in.

    http://www.musther.net/nzslr/Interactive/NZSI-10-Topo250.html

    Weka did a useful post on the future impact of sea level rise on Dunedin back in 2017. It included this interactive map in which you can model different average sea level rises.

    http://flood.firetree.net/?ll=-41.8022,174.1502&m=1

    South Dunedin residential is in for a hiding much earlier than the CBD and immediate environs.

    If the new Dunedin Hospital site lasted 50 years in its proposed site about 400 metres inland from the existing sea wall, then it will have lasted about as long as the previous one had been there in its old position. At which time it will be due for a replacement, and re-siting, just like this one.

    • Bill 2.1

      I’ve got zero time on my hands right now Ad, but will give that report a proper read later.

      I will note that all of their scenario’s are based on sea level rise from msl – ie, mean sea level, which is the mid-point of high and low tide. Meanwhile, sea level rise is more generally and intelligently taken from high spring tide marks. I believe in Dunedin the difference between high spring tide and msl is around the 3m mark, but I’d have to check that out to be absolutely sure.

      I didn’t say anything about 10m btw. So unless that’s your way of “squealing”, can I politely ask that you not insinuate I’m of the “OMG a meteor!” school of thought? Cheers.

      About Dunedin council. They insist (this was in an exchange with the Mayor) that their hands are tied policy wise by directives they receive from central government – ie, they operate on a 1m scenario because that’s what government says to do.

      Government says 1m, because that’s what comes out of the IPCC synthsis reports.

      The IPCC says 1m because it doesn’t factor in Antarctic or Greenland to any meaningful extent (1m is essentially thermal expansion).

      No scientist or researcher I’ve heard or read, and who’s focus is ice and sea level, reckons on 1m by 2100 as being in any way realistic.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Not proposing any squeal-like emanation.

        Just putting some links down to assist the discussion really.

        • Bill 2.1.1.1

          My apologies.

          It’s just that citing 10m hit me as redolent of that nonsense when someone exaggerates another’s argument as a prelude to dismissing the original point by holding it up against an exaggerated scenario.

          WAIS – which is the most likely source for most of any sea level rise this century on top of the projected 1m, doesn’t contain 10m worth of sea level rise.

    • Paul Campbell 2.2

      You’ll all notice from the maps the part of Dunedin that gets flooded first …. that’s right, the airport ….

      This airport:
      https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/150237337550455952

      It already has a dyke around it, one that occasionally fails.

      Building a dyke in the sand for South Dunedin is something we had better get on to right away, it’s going to take a while

  3. jcuknz 3

    In addition to the hospital there is the dental school to think about … my wife had an afternoon appointment and twice drove around for 90 minutes trying to find a park without finding one… she is 82yo and starting to find walking any distance is a hardship.
    True she could have got a taxi but since she owns a car our first thought is to use it …. I am no better than her in this respect.

    But not mentioned I think by Bill but what made me believe it is a serious problem that all that ice does’not have to melt since just floating in the sea would be enough if it comes from above current sea level.

    Still I will not be around to see it so why should I care? Perhaps the reason why our leaders do not take any action?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Still I will not be around to see it so why should I care?

      So, what you’re saying is that you don’t care what happens to your children and grand children?

      • jcuknz 3.1.1

        How I love DTB and his snipes.
        I think while I might not have any great reason to care I will be dead and hopefully cremated before anything foreseen here takes place so I do care not that I have any personal interest in the matter.

      • tracey 3.1.2

        Unfair. It was clear to me that he did care

    • Paul Campbell 3.2

      of course in some sense that’s part of the problem … driving rather than taking public transit and the resulting CO2 load …. and part of the reason why the hospital is going where it is a block from the central bus hub … so that people who can’t drive, or can’t afford to drive, or even can’t park can still get there.

      Dunedin (and Wellington, and particularly Christchurch) do have unique problems because their downtowns are so close to sea level – you can argue that Christchurch shouldn’t have been rebuilt at all and should have been moved many kilometers inland

    • Bill 3.3

      In addition to the hospital there is…the university, all the industrial zone between the train station and the harbour, the train station, anything on the one way systems heading north and south through town, the oval, Andersons Bay Rd, South Dunedin, Taieri Mouth, the 50km or so worth of road around the harbour, sections of the southern motorway, State Highway 1 north of about Waikouaiti….

      And that’s just quickly off the top of my head.

      • Paul Campbell 3.3.1

        Let’s not forget the stadium – Logan Park used to be Lake Logan – I’m looking to seeing water polo with real horses

        • Bill 3.3.1.1

          Sometimes I like to imagine that tumbling slowly off down the harbour like a big discarded “tupperware” lunch box. 🙂

  4. Macro 4

    I guess an argument can be made for utility buildings like hospitals to be replaced on a regular basis – new processes and systems don’t always fit happily within existing structures. But this going to be a massive investment, and there is going to be a need for increasing expenditure on CC mitigation to protect not only this building but others. and working towards a managed retreat for residents and businesses in the area as physical barriers become steadily overwhelmed.
    Fortunately Dunedin is more up with the play on these matters than many other local bodies in NZ and resource consent will be an issue. However, I would have thought that the Government would be looking beyond a 50 year life cycle for such an expensive undertaking. Current generations have already loaded a huge burden onto our children and grandchildren, and continue to do so. This will be a massive white elephant on their backs in the not too distant future.

  5. jcuknz 5

    South Dunedin gets a hiding and we all pay for it through insurance premiums every time a decent rain comes coupled with its rumored incompetance by the Council who just sit and discuss the problem and permit building to continue in the area.
    If people are going to continue to inhabit Dunedin then Wakari is a more logical site for a rebuilt hospital … because when it happens there will be little money available for hospitals or much else I suspect.

  6. Pat 6

    Given the current state of the construction industry it may not be realistic to expect an eighty year lifecycle….after all Middlemore appears to have only managed somewhere in the vicinity of 20 years.

    • tc 6.1

      stop using these corporate pirates (yes you Fletchers) and go back the the MOW model so work is done to a standard not a $ value.

      Quality costs, remediation/rectification costs even more.

      See it all the time in IT, cut corners don’t do the foundational items and it costs you more, causes disruption/breakages than doing it up front properly and moving on would cost.

      • Pat 6.1.1

        think the corporate pirates in Middlemore’s case were Hawkins….seems industry wide

  7. Timeforacupoftea 7

    I’ve written before on our useless Green Council – Not a brain amongst them.

    So here I go, I post again.

    1) A dam could be built between St Martins Island and Portobello.
A lock could be built between St Martins Island and the mainland near Port Chalmers and ships could be allowed up into the upper harbour when there was no chance of flooding in South Dunedin. But most of the time the upper harbour could be kept at half tide or whatever height tide was necessary to keep South Dunedin dry.
Which means there is this huge area for drainage during heavy rain etc.
Some parts of the Upper Harbour could be filled in for future housing.

    2) Part of the upper harbour could be filled in obviously higher than the Portobello Road and block by block of South Dunedin could be shifted there temporarily so each block of South Dunedin could be raised to the required height above predicted sea level, then the houses could be shifted back.
You might ask where would we get the fill from. Well there are many hills around Dunedin so no worry there.

    The Council knows best the sea is not rising.

    ME AGAIN here : It was far worse in the 1950’s 1960’s, our back yard in Tainui would go under water 5 times a year, but the water receeded very quickly.
Around the late 1960’s the council built a pumping station and our back yard would only flood once or twice a year.
We could dig down 2 spade depths in the winter and water would come and go daily, maybe it was tidal I never new why.
Old photos of Tainui showed most of the area as a sort of inlet.
Where Tahuna Intermediate School is, in the 1950’s that was a large pond where in winter it would freeze over and I could walk across it and play etc. It would stay frozen for a couple of weeks. Winters were much colder then at least at night but beautiful clear days.
If the sea is ever to rise we do have many options, here are two ideas.

    A couple of Months ago our hopeless Dunedin City Council announced a 30 year plan.
    One a hotel on the edge of the harbour.
    Incidentally it looks like an open sandwich with 3 sets of kitchen tongs standing in the air handles buried in sand.

    TODAY our idiot Dunedin City Councillors / majority green decided today to build a bridge across the railway line for (listen) $20million.
    The road bridge is only 40 meters south which I can cycle over with a puff or two and walk over easily.
    A foot bridge is available 400 meters north I see people push bikes up the stairs ok.
    Another 100 meters north a level railway crossing with automatic arms is available.
    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc-unanimously-back-harbourside-bridge

    The $20 million van Brandenburg bridge at the Dunedin harbourside has got the unanimous backing of the Dunedin City Council.
    The plan for a bridge on Rattray St between the Chinese Garden and the Steamer Basin was described as an ”extraordinary opportunity” that could spark development by the harbourside.

    The council included $20 million in its draft 10-year plan for an architecturally designed walking and cycling bridge as part of the city to waterfront connection project.

    The initiative comes after Damien van Brandenburg presented his vision for the redevelopment of the Steamer Basin, which included the bridge.

    Two other options were explored in the plan, including a basic design for the bridge or upgrades to the Jetty St overbridge costing between $6-10 million.

    At the council 10-year plan meeting, Cr David Benson-Pope moved the $20 million option, with the $6 million to $10 million ”lesser bridge” also put out for community consultation.

    Cr Benson-Pope said Mr van Brandenburg’s design was ”an extraordinary opportunity”.

    Councillors supported the bridge, though some raised concerns about the process by which it had been included in the draft plan.

    Cr Chris Staynes said the $20 million option would recognise the world class design that came from Dunedin, and attract the sort of investment required at the harbour.

    The council had to follow process, but ”surely we need some vision”.

    Mayor Dave Cull said the bridge was ”the only way to go”.

    A utilitarian bridge would not be good enough for the wider vision of the harbourside.

    Sorry about our South Dunedin Labour supporters, just bugger off and drown. that last sentence is me being a tad silly.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      If you’re going to copy and paste at least do the people you’re copying from the courtesy of formatting your comment so that we know that they’re not your words. You can start here. It’s not hard but your copy paste is rather rude.

    • Paul Campbell 7.2

      what I don’t understand is why they don’t just put in a railway crossing, they closed the old one when they expanded the shunting yards, now that’s gone we could have a pedestrian/walk your bike crossing for tens of thousands rather than tens of millions

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