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Preparing our communities for coastal hazards

18 May 2018

We've been working on a coastal management strategy to help our communities be better prepared for the hazards on our coastline.

Stretching 400 kilometres, our Coromandel district has one of the largest coastlines in the country, and we are projected to have some big impacts from environmental factors, including weather.

One of our key objectives is to build resilient coastal communities to cope with coastal hazards, which are common to many parts of New Zealand.

This week, our Council approved a budget of nearly $2.6M over the next three years to investigate coastal hazards, fund community-based resilience, coastal hazard response planning and draft a shoreline management plan.

This work is part of implementing our Coastal Management Strategy (CMS), which we engaged with communities on last year, and which will adopted in June alongside the LTP.

The CMS provides strategic direction to help with our planning, to support responsible management of assets in our communities and to determine ways to help our coastal communities become resilient to coastal hazards.

As part of the CMS, major new council infrastructure and renewals will be tested against the assumptions in our LTP of a potential sea level rise of 1.4m by 2120, and up to a rise of 1.88m by 2150 - as adopted by our Council in February this year.

These levels are from the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) guidance published in December 2017, which is set out for councils across the country.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie says while the MFE guidance is a start, she wants to see more guidance from central government around projected sea level rises.

"Central government needs to take the lead and set the direction, including providing mechanisms to help local governments financially.

"This is because so much of this type of risk is directed and controlled at a national level, and smaller councils such as ours need help."

We will provide a further update on our LTP outcomes for coastal management in July, when the current LTP is completed by our council.

Here's what else we're doing around coastal management

Our Council has also established a coastal engineering section within our infrastructure team and hired a coastal engineer who has been out meeting with our communities to understand the different challenges we face across the district. The knowledge you share is invaluable, and we encourage those in coastal communities to keep sharing what they know with us.

One of the biggest challenges we face around coastal management, which we share with councils across the country, relates to the diverse ownership of coastal assets and, at times, the lack of clear ownership.

In our area, ownership is spread across the Waikato Regional Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, the Department of Conservation and other public and private organizations, each with their own performance drivers for managing coastal assets and environments.

We have started a process to work with all groups to ensure a unified approach to managing our coastline. Our council appreciates the support from our communities while we work through all this involves.