Beginning in 2019, the Dunedin City Council took its first steps in developing a forward-looking and community-oriented climate adaptation plan for the city’s Whakahekerau – Rakiātea coast (St Clair – St Kilda coast). The primary objective of the St Clair – St Kilda Coastal Plan engagement was to work with the community to co-create a vision and climate adaptation plan for the St Clair – St Kilda coastline by;
A diverse range of methods were used to encourage participation in the process. A carefully devised and iterative programme incorporated both innovative engagement activities alongside tried and tested methods. Innovative engagement methods included printmaking sessions (art workshops), online multimedia and multi-criteria decision-making surveys. These methods helped to diversify the set of engagement tools and mitigated several key engagement risks such as certain groups being under-represented, Covid-19 restricting face-to-face engagement, and overcoming a history of distrust in decision making at the coast.
Through the St Clair – St Kilda Coastal Plan engagement process feedback was received from approximately 2,300 individuals, with several thousand others also being reached. More than a dozen different engagement methods were used to source feedback and many more methods were used to advertise and supplement our engagement activities.
During a time when local authorities and communities are grappling with the effects of coastal hazards and climate change, this engagement process has made significant contributions to the field of public participation. The team navigated a national Covid-19 lockdown, retaining momentum and using delays as opportunities for iteration and improvement. They received positive feedback from stakeholders that the engagement process was excellent - even when they could be deeply impacted by the outcomes. Our engagement values were focused on being authentic, transparent, and inclusive to empower our communities and stakeholders.
In parallel, a stream of technical work packages has been completed to inform the process of public participation and enable conversations on what can be done to adapt. The St Clair – St Kilda Coastal Plan has been informed by community input, technical rigour and policy direction set through the New Zealand Coastal Policy statement and the Ministry for the Environment’s Coastal Hazards and Climate Change: Guidance for Local Government. The team are proud to have been a part of this journey with their community and are committed to ongoing conversations and implementation of a plan that is both informed and understood by our community.