Thames Coromandel Council will now add a link on LIMs to a sea level rise coastal flooding simulator produced by Waikato Regional Council. The simulator alerts potential buyers of property on the Coromandel Peninsula about how coastal flooding may affect properties after sea level rise.
I’m really chuffed about this decision because I have been trying to convince the council to take this step for the last six months. Initially the council refused, but three legal opinions and scores of emails later, they have finally agreed that they are legally obliged to provide this information. Council deserves credit for doing the right thing.
Another excellent article from Eloise Gibson in Newsroom sums up what all this means, and what was involved in convincing the council to come to the right conclusion –
“In the Coromandel the new LIM notes won’t contain any information specific to a property; they will simply include a pointer and a web link to the regional council flooding simulator, should people want to use it.
Tegg won the concession after successfully poking holes in the external legal advice that the council had received from law firm Brookfields. Brookfields had concluded there was no need to include any information about the regional council tool on LIMs because future coastal erosion was already covered on the district’s planning maps.
Brookfields acknowledged the existence of the regional council flooding tool was the kind of hazard information the council was required to disclose, even though the district council had not designed the tool, and the risks it displayed weren’t certain. But the law firm said the council didn’t need to refer to the tool, because the district planning maps would already have alerted people to the risks of flooding.
On the basis of that legal advice, the council decided not to act.
Tegg wrote to the council pointing out that only river flooding and coastal erosion were included on its planning maps. There was no reference to inundation from the sea, which affected different parts of the district, meaning people in places such as the Matarangi and Whangapoua estuaries, Whitianga township and swathes of Tairua could be unaware that their properties might be at risk of flooding with seawater unless they saw the regional council coastal inundation tool.
This week, the council told a now-pleased Tegg that future LIMs will include a pointer to the regional council’s online tool, where curious potential buyers and homeowners can add up to 2m of sea level rise to today’s maximum storm surges and see on a map what could happen. According to the council the “notation will appear under the heading “General Planning and Property Information: Other agencies” in future LIM reports and will tell people that “Waikato Regional Council holds and administers a ‘Coastal Inundation Tool’ for the Waikato region….to attempt to identify those areas in the Waikato region that may be subject to coastal inundation.”
It will include the disclaimer that: The Thames-Coromandel District Council makes no representation as to the completeness, accuracy or otherwise of any information or data provided by the Coastal Inundation Tool, or its use. The pointer will also link to the regional council’s own disclaimer, explaining, in essence, that the simulation is a rough guide only.
The district council also confirmed the move to Newsroom.
Tegg said the council’s change of heart was “very welcome.”