If we thought the devastation and mess caused by a flood ripping through the old dump at Fox Glacier village was bad, just wait until a decent storm punches through the old dump of New Zealand’s fifth largest city on its coastline. It’s getting close.
Dunedin is now preparing to have the massive Kettle Park dump exposed to the sea.
It was previously a sand dune system, and has encroached into the sea over the last century.
But it looks like the sea wants it back.
It’s not like they weren’t warned. In 2015 the whole of South Dunedin underwent massive flooding, not assisted by poorly maintained DCC stormwater drains. I am aware of people whose houses were devastated by that storm that are still gradually recovering.
South Dunedin is also on average home to some of the poorest and most deprived people in New Zealand.
It’s not the paradise first advertised.
I no longer care whether it’s called climate change or the weather. I’m sure there are differences of timescale.
As The Otago Daily Times noted in 2017, most of South Dunedin is under threat from sea level rise, and some of it is under sea water table already.
If this rubbish dump gets exposed, the next thing to go will be the entire racecourse.
After which it’s harder to stop a whole bunch of houses with people in them getting less viable.
Cities that prepare for managed retreat with big plans that help their citizens move will have a better chance than most.
Here comes the next warning.