Ruataniwha Decision – Damn the Miners

Great News For Coromandel No Mining Movement

The Ruataniwha Dam decision is a huge win not just in Hawkes Bay but for the communities fighting multinational mining companies here on the Coromandel. Why?  – because now the Government won’t be able to do devious land swaps with a mining company to allow them to get access to conservation land.

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Thames Bus Service Update

Green Light Expected Soon – Service Might Begin in September?

Some very encouraging news has emerged today about the Thames bus trial. The proposal has been favourably reviewed by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) and the Waikato Regional Council  (WRC).  Both agencies have advised the District Council that sufficient data has been gathered from the work myself and Transport Planner Adam Lawrence did, and from the Workshop held on 30 May, to put together a strong strategic case for the bus service.

 The work required to complete the strategic case is expected to be completed within the next fortnight.  In the meantime, the District Council has requested Regional Council staff to start work on preparing the public transport tender documents. This will mean that tenders from bus transport operators can be invited as soon as we have the green light from NZTA. Continue reading

Fantastic Not Plastic

Fantastic news this week – and congratulations to the Mayor and Thames-Coromandel District Council who have joined a mayoral campaign to support a point of sale levy on “single-use” plastic bags.  The campaign has been spearheaded by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and has the support of over half of the councils around New Zealand.

The levy is based on similar successful schemes overseas.  Last year, the United Kingdom government imposed a 5p (9c) levy on plastic bags, and money collected must go to charities. The move has led to an 85 percent reduction in plastic bag use and raised £29m ($52.3m) for charity in six months. Continue reading

Waves Add To Flooding Risk From Sea Level Rise

Not a Big Surf Break at Whitianga.

But Waves Still Worsen Sea Flooding Risks.

In recent blogs on the latest Ministry for the Environment Guidelines on climate change and sea-level rise and on the proposed extension of the Whitianga Waterways project I used the Waikato Regional Council coastal inundation tool.  The tool is very useful in illustrating the potential flooding effect of sea level rise on coastal communities around the Peninsula.

One of the flaws with the inundation tool is that it does not include wave effects.  Therefore, the potential effects shown in the inundation tool may tend to underestimate the severity of the sea flooding.  Continue reading

Holding Back Sea Level Rise With A Pen

Council’s Delusional “coastal environment line”

(you Canute be serious !)

When reviewing the Resource Consent application by Whitianga Waterways I discovered the bizarre maps in the Thames Coromandel District Plan which purport to define the “coastal environment”. These maps are of critical importance because the highly directive Government’s New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) only applies to land within the coastal environment. The NZCPS has very comprehensive policies directing all Councils to take account of climate change and sea level rise for the next 100 years at least.

The District Council maps are bizarre because the coastal environment line is drawn around all of the Peninsula coasts but the line comes to an abrupt stop and excludes the three major towns of Thames, Whitianga, and Whangamata. Why would the Council wish to exclude these towns from the coastal environment? One possible explanation is that the Council does not wish to be bound by the comprehensive policies in the NZCPS and therefore does not wish to have to account for climate change and sea level rise when considering new and existing development within those three towns. Continue reading

Sea-Level Rise – Should Whitianga Waterways Be Expanded?

 

New Government Guidelines on Sea Level Rise are a Gamechanger

The new Ministry for the Environment’s Guidelines on Sea Level Rise which were mistakenly released last week are a game-changer for Thames-Coromandel District Council and Councils throughout New Zealand.  New coastal “greenfield” development such as subdivisions will now have to be “stress tested” out to at least 2150 against a sea level rise of at least 1.9 m above current high tide levels.  A case in point is the Resource Consent application (SUB/2017/26) recently lodged by Whitianga Waterways for 72 new canal housing lots.  This application and many others like it will have to be assessed right now, against this new benchmark of a potential sea level rise of 1.9 m. This crucial decision-making must be made today, not next year or next decade.   Councils can no longer pretend that climate change and sea-level rise is something that future councils must deal with.

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