Visitor-Only Road Toll to Enter Thames-Coromandel District?

Here is a proposal that is somewhere between “nutbar” and “genius”. I’ll leave it to readers to judge.   

Rather than a visitor levy imposed on hotels motels etc, why not impose an electronic toll charge only on visitors’ vehicles entering the Thames-Coromandel District, but fully exempt anyone who permanently lives or works in the District of having to pay the toll? Bear with me while I set out how this might work. Continue reading

Hauraki Plains Land Subsidence Adds To Sea Flooding Risk

When I wrote my previous post last week discussing the potentially higher risk of sea flooding to the Hauraki Plains because the foreshore in the Lower Firth of Thames is sinking at around 10 mm a year, I thought that was pretty serious. But it turns out there is a lot of other data confirming subsidence on the land which is equally concerning. This other research confirms that the peatland which makes up a large proportion of the land on the Plains is subsiding at around 18 mm a year. Also, there is evidence that the land beneath the foreshore stop banks (which are meant to protect the Plains from sea flooding) is subsiding at the rate of about 5 mm a year. And finally, there is evidence that tectonic land movement associated with the Kerepehi fault is causing parts of the Plains to subside also. Continue reading

Greater Sea Flooding Risk? – Firth of Thames Mudflats Are Sinking Fast

There is a lot of mud in the Firth of Thames – in some places it is 3 km deep and it is sinking — fast…   New research by Andrew Swales of NIWA has revealed that the mud (sediment) in the Lower Firth of Thames is rapidly subsiding at the rate of close to 10 mm a year.  This rate is within the range of annual sea level rise estimates for the New Zealand coast not expected for another 80 years due to climate warming.  This is a very big deal and must be seriously taken into account by central, local and regional government when assessing the risk of sea flooding to the Hauraki Plains.  Continue reading

Smart Council Maps

In recent weeks and months I have issued a few brickbats to the Thames Coromandel District Council but this week it is time for a bouquet. The Council has done an excellent job with its Smart Maps Portal on their website.

A range of maps is available including Property Information, Planning Building and Resource consents, (some but not all) Hazards, and Civil Defence information including tsunami hazard zones. Have a look – it’s really worth having a look around and seeing what is available. Continue reading

Blueprint – How to Consult on Coastal Hazards/Climate Change

My previous blog highlighted haphazard Council planning around identifying all coastal hazards, and the lack of public consultation and engagement.

Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel about public consultation and engagement on climate change adaption and sea level rise.  There is a good blueprint from 2010 in Whitianga.  NIWA held an Open Day followed by a Workshop for Whitianga residents about changes to the coastline under climate change, and how they might adapt.  Unfortunately, with the election of a new Mayor and Council in late 2010 all this great momentum was lost, and no further similar meetings have occurred.

Take Action

If you agree that the time is well overdue for YOUR Peninsula community to be consulted about coastal hazards and climate change – then take action and email all or any of :-

Continue reading

Haphazard Planning For Coromandel Coastal Hazards

Who should pay over $1 million to attempt to protect a few east coast beaches from coastal erosion?  A narrowly focused debate is presently underway in Council as to whether just Mercury Bay or all District ratepayers should pay. Deplorably, this debate is taking place in an information and policy vacuum. If you want to request that the Council sets up community engagement/information meetings on coastal hazards and climate change in your town – see below for email addresses.

First, is the plan really about protecting the beaches?  The community engagement to achieve mass planting and the move away from “hard” structures is laudable.   But is the unspoken purpose really an attempt to capture public funds to try to protect privately-owned homes unwisely built on or near the sand dunes?  And does the plan have any realistic hope of even medium-term success when factoring in just conservative projections for sea level rise, or is the plan a futile waste of money?  Has the plan been peer-reviewed by independent climate change experts and has any cost-benefit analysis been done?   The plan makes only a passing reference to sea level rise impacts.  Has the option of letting the beaches naturally migrate inland been seriously considered? 

Second, the Regional and District Councils have failed to identify all coastal hazards on the Peninsula, including by inundation due to sea level rise.  This is legally required by Government directive.

Third, there is no coherent policy to inform residents or the Councils themselves about many of these hazards, or to determine when District-wide ratepayer funds should be spent.

Fourth, no has consideration been given how potentially massive future costs will be funded or even afforded when erosion and inundation flooding occurs around much of the Coromandel coastline.  The Mercury Bay decision will set a hugely important precedent. Continue reading

Friend-to-Friend Lift Sharing In Small Towns

An exciting new social media app called Localift has recently been launched which dovetails perfectly with the public transport minibus transport service for  Thames   Localift is a friend-to-friend lift sharing App which makes it incredibly easy to manage and share free local lifts between people you know. 

downloadThe App integrates and brings together all the elements of smart phones/tablets and social media such as your Facebook of other friend networks, mapping, messaging and calendars.  It makes it incredibly simple and safe for family, friends, and colleagues to share free lifts:-

 

  • Lifts for children to and from school, sports and activities.
  • Lifts for workers to carpool to work
  • Lifts for the elderly and people with disabilities
  • Lifts for young adults for social events and sports.

Continue reading