Over 20 years ago when Moanataiari severely flooded in the 1990’s we all knew that coastal flooding was a serious issue for Thames/Coast. Three years ago, after discovering Thames was one of the most at risk towns/cities in New Zealand from sea level rise and coastal flooding, I started pressuring TCDC to take urgent action. For ages it seemed no one took these threats seriously. The January 2018 storm surge was a huge wake up call.
Now thankfully, TCDC have finally acknowledged that coastal flooding on the western side of the Peninsula poses the greatest risk and will take priority under their Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) scheme.
As can be seen from the map, apart from Thames/Coast – Mercury Bay, Tairua/Pauanui and Whangamata are other high-risk hazard areas.
TCDC has adopted the recommendations of a SMP scoping report from its consultants see here.
In other good news TCDC says –
- It is establishing close working relationships with partners and key stakeholders including mana whenua, Waikato Regional Council (WRC), New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) in this project.
- Next steps will include establishing ‘coastal panels’ from volunteers, community representatives and other key stakeholders in each of our four SMP areas across the district.
The panels will be tasked with identifying the risks on their local coasts, and proposing policies and actions to address these. Panel members will be made up of local mana whenua representatives, Community Board members, community businesses and organisations and citizens.
Expressions of interest will be sought for positions on each of the coastal panels in March/April, with panels proposed to start meeting in June. More information will be available at tcdc.govt.nz/coastal
It is excellent news that TCDC has finally acknowledged that Thames/Coast will be a priority for coastal hazard action. Now we have to make sure we get the best possible research to inform the community panels, TCDC, WRC and the other stakeholders and the views and cultural aspirations of mana whenua are listened to and actioned.