Thames Coromandel yet to start mapping coastal flooding areas
Northland has just completed a major exercise to map coastal flooding and erosion areas along its 3200 km coastline. There are up to 13,500 potentially affected properties on Northland’s east and west coasts. The maps show estimated flood and erosion hazards, projected over 50 years and 100 years’ time, with conservatively predicted sea level rises of 0.4m over the next 50 years and 1m over the next 100 years.
Thames Coromandel has just 400 km of coastline, and we have not even started this mapping and modelling process on flood hazard . Hawkes Bay is even further ahead. They have not only done the mapping, they have come up with specific proposals about how local communities can adapt and/or provide protection from sea level rise for each segment of their coastline. (More on that later)
The new maps were the result of the largest coastal hazards study ever undertaken in Northland. They come just as central government, via Ministry for the Environment, released its own guidance on coastal hazards and climate change.
Northland is now effectively ahead of the game in terms of identification of coastal flooding and erosion hazards. After formal public consultation through Northland’s three district councils, the new maps and applicable rules are likely to be put into the district plans. They would then be taken into account in decision-making on subdivision, land use and building consents, as already occurs with the existing coastal hazard zones.
The January 5 storm surge has underscored the urgent need for our Regional and District councils to tackle coastal hazard planning. There are encouraging signs. TCDC and Regional Council have begun discussions at a staff level about adopting a similar approach to Northland and Hawkes Bay. TCDC has adopted the Guidance assumptions on sea level rise into its Long-Term Plan and has identified coastal hazards as a potential issue for funding in that Plan. But our councils have a lot of catching up to do.
When the public get a chance to have their say on TCDC’s Long Term Plan in a few weeks please ask Council to collaborate with Regional Council, and to commit the necessary funds for a coastal hazard planning project like Northland’s and Hawkes Bay’s.