Sea level rise letter lost at sea: Maps

A LETTER which was to be sent to 6000 ratepayers to inform residents their property is slated as at risk of sea-level rise has not been sent out.

It comes after council resolved in July to write to the owners of properties to which its interim sea-level rise adaption policy applies.

Affected areas include homes in Congo, Potato Point, Mossy Point, Broulee, Malua Bay, Batehaven, Caseys Beach, Long Beach, Durras Lake and South Durras as well as most of Tomakin, almost all of Maloneys Beach and much of Surfside.

Further south, Coila Lake, Wagonga Inlet, Kianga, Lake Mummuga and Dalmeny are also said to be at risk.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, a resident addressed councillors regarding his concern with not receiving the letter, knowing that he was one of the 6000 properties affected.

Peter Bernard, of Dalmeny, said he had spoken to neighbours in his street, who were also affected by the policy, and none of them had heard about the letter.

“None of the 6000 properties having notations placed on their 149 certificates have been advised,” Mr Bernard said.

Before this, councillors and council executives were not aware the letter had failed to send.

The letters was supposed to be timed with the exhibition of the draft South Coast Regional Sea Level Rise Policy and Planning Response, prepared by an independent consultant, which set new benchmarks for sea-level rise predictions in the Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven.

This report went on exhibition on Friday, August 1.

Cr Milton Leslight, who originally proposed notifying affected residents, said after Tuesday’s meeting, council’s director of planning Lindsay Usher made enquiries to the mail-out service provider, who confirmed the letter had not been sent out.

Cr Leslight said the original letter was not what he asked for and did “not do the job it is supposed to”.

“It doesn’t even suggest to the recipient they could be affected,” Cr Leslight said.

“It does not do what it was supposed to do, and that is flag it to the community and the owners of the 6000 affected properties.

“It is so ambiguous that the community would probably throw it in the rubbish, thinking it was just another propaganda letter.”

He thought that councillors would have seen the letter before it went to the community.

“It should have been approved by us in the first place, they know how passionate I am about this whole thing and they treat us with contempt,” Cr Leslight said.

Cr Leslight said the letter had to be redone and the exhibition period should re-commence.

“The letter says soon to be placed on public exhibition, but it went on public exhibition on August 1,” he said.

“I expect the administration to do their job properly and start the process again.”

Cr Leslight said the majority of the people who were affected would not even know it and the letter did not inform them, as it should have.

“These policies are having a detrimental affect on people’s properties and the value of their properties,” Cr Leslight said.

“Nobody is interested until it affects them.”

Cr Neil Burnside was of a similar view to Cr Leslight and said the original letter was “misleading”.

The mailout has now been placed on hold so an amended letter can be prepared, after concerns with the original letter were raised by councillors.

It is expected that residents will receive the letter in the coming week.

Cr Lelsight said having the chance to amend the letter was a “good thing” but it should have been done “right from the start”.

“I say we start again and give it a full exhibition period,” he said. 

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