Eurobodalla council debates sea-level rise policy

EUROBODALLA Shire Council was on Tuesday night due to debate its sea-level rise policy at its ordinary meeting.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance has urged the Eurobodalla Shire Council to ditch its current interim sea level rise policy in favour of a more workable policy until such time as more timely and relevant local data becomes available.

Low-lying areas of Narooma however already experience minor inundation and flooding during king tides and weather events as documented by the Green Cross project.

Mayor Lindsay Brown said council had been in regular contact with Mr Constance and the debate would take place when the motion to discard the current guidelines was put forward.

Mr Constance said the NSW chief scientist and engineer had identified uncertainty in the projected rate of future sea level rise given that the scientific knowledge in the field was continually evolving.

“The council should follow the NSW Government’s lead and scrap Labor’s ill-conceived state wide sea level projections,” Mr Constance said.

“For the Council to maintain its current policy is damaging to property owners both in terms of the value of their property and their ability to sell and or do a renovation.”

The NSW Government has recently released a new planning circular following advice to the NSW Government from the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer who examined this issue in April 2012.

“The NSW Government has adopted the Chief Scientist’s recommendation that more regionally specific calculations be carried out, that took into account specific sea level, topography, flood risk and other conditions along the NSW Far South Coast” he said.

“I understand a debate is to occur this week and I would urge the councillors to adopt an interim projection that does not hinder investment in the shire.

“We have ensured councils have the ability to consider coastal hazards in the context of their local circumstances – the State Government no longer recommends to councils state-wide sea level rise benchmarks,” he said.

The NSW Government has also invested in a Coastal Processes and Responses node at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/climateChange/adaptreshub.htm

The Coastal Processes and Responses node is charged with providing the best and most up-to-date scientific information on a range of coastal issues that will help local communities and councils in coastal zones to undertake risk management and adaptation responses in the coastal zone.

“Managing erosion and other coastal hazards is a complex and challenging task,” Mr Constance said.

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