Finally Some Action on Thames/Coast Coastal Hazards

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.

SMP map priority

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.

Whitianga Water Shortages

A Statement from Waikato Regional Council about the water shortages in Whitianga

Thames-Coromandel District Council (TCDC) holds resource consent, that expires in 2025, to take up to 8000 cubic metres of water per day from the Whangamaroro River to supply water to Whitianga. This consent was granted in 2006 and replaced a previous consent that authorised the taking of up to 5450 cubic metres of water per day.
 
“When applying for the consent, TCDC expected this would provide for foreseeable future needs. The conditions attached to the consent were established based on technical advice provided by TCDC, that was prepared by NIWA and reviewed by Waikato Regional Council scientists. The historical record of the daily volume provided by TCDC indicates that the maximum volume that has been taken is around 6000 cubic metres per day, so there appears to be sufficient capacity for supply within the current consent.
 
“The consent also includes conditions that require the volume of water taken on a daily basis to be reduced when the river flow falls to specified flow levels. These levels were identified by NIWA as appropriate to protect in stream values. It has been for TCDC to determine how it goes about achieving these reductions when/if they are needed.
 
“The option is available to TCDC to seek a new consent prior to the existing consent expiring, if it considers that necessary.
 
“Other options available to TCDC include the provision of additional storage. This was a matter raised by other interested and affected parties when the current consent was processed in 2006. At the time the decision noted that the 19 year consent duration provided sufficient time for TCDC to consider other options to manage pressures on water supply during periods of low flow.
Denis Tegg Waikato Regional Council Representative for Thames Coromandel