The Thames Coromandel District Council have produced a Coastal Management Strategy Engagement document. This sets out a range of coastal issues including coastal hazards for discussion. A series of public meetings will be held around the Peninsula in October.
This is all highly commendable and any amount of public engagement on climate change is welcome. Unfortunately, it is still just words and talk and no action. As I have said in many previous posts, what is urgently needed is to get on with the job of modelling and mapping all coastal hazards, particularly coastal flooding.
At the public forum before the Council approved the Engagement Document, I made the following points to the Council
- Identify All Hazards Now – No Cause For Further Delay
Council does not need to carry out public engagement before undertaking coastal flooding modelling and mapping. The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 provided a clear unequivocal direction eight years ago that identification of all hazards must be carried out. The Council already has a strong legal mandate from central government to get on and do this work immediately.
2 Identify the Hazards– Then Engage
The first priority must be to identify, model and map all coastal hazards THEN engage with the public. Without this knowledge, the public will be asked to engage with no real idea of the potential risks they might face. Ministry for the Environment Guidance makes it clear that identification of hazards is the first priority – followed by community engagement. Many other councils have done the required modelling and mapping work and are well advanced with public engagement.
The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and Ministry for Environment Guidance
The New Zealand Coastal Policy statement on Coastal hazards is a legally binding government directive made in 2010. Note :–
- Policy 24 (a)requires the “identification of areas that are potentially affected by coastal hazards”
- “hazard risks over at least 100 years are to be assessed” and
- “national guidance” on climate change must be taken into account.
This diagram taken from the 2017 government guidance makes it absolutely clear that the first priority is “Hazard and Sea Level Assessments”
Other Councils with Long Coastlines
Northland which has 3200 km of coastline (Thames Coromandel has 400 km) has engaged consultants, undertaken modelling and mapping, and is well advanced with community engagement. Similar work has been undertaken by Western Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Dunedin city, Christchurch city, and Hawkes Bay Regional Council – to name a few.
Partnership between Hawkes Bay Regional Council and Napier and Hastings City Councils
In Hawkes Bay they concentrated on Coastal Hazards – their First Step was to “Define the Problem”. In partnership with the Regional Council, that is what the District Council should and must do here.
In Hawkes Bay, a free coastal hazard report is available online for every coastal property. A comprehensive coastal hazard report including detailed maps showing potential sea flooding and/or erosion risk/liquefaction for the present, — 2060, — and 2110 can now be obtained for a specific title on the Hawke’s Bay Coastal website – free of charge. We have a good mapping portal for Thames-Coromandel, but Hawke’s Bay have gone a big step further and this is what we should be aiming for locally.