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Thames coastline in focus as coastal project gets underway

14 February 2020

The spotlight shines initially on Thames and the Thames Coast as our major project to develop four Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) across the Coromandel enters the next phase.

Thames Coast will be the first area to start work on an SMP, defining the flooding and erosion risks to people in the community and the cultural, economic and natural environment over the next century and beyond.

Mayor Sandra Goudie says the SMP project is focused on building resilient coastal communities. 

"The Thames coastline, from Kopu and the mouth of the Waihou River to Wilsons Bay, has been identified as a high priority for the project," Mayor Sandra says.

The initial focus within the Thames ward will be on identification and modelling of coastal hazards in the area, allowing us to then explore: what do we value that's at risk, now and in the future?

Other areas to be progressed in due course include Mercury Bay, the Coromandel-Colville coast and the coastline from Tairua through to Pauanui and Whangamata. 

This milestone coastal project is being managed by our Council in partnership with a consortium led by Royal HaskoningDHV, which is preparing SMPs across all parts of the Thames-Coromandel coastline over a three-year period.

So far, work has been in a ‘scoping phase’, which included several engagement initiatives with community meetings held across the district last year.

At a meeting this week, Council adopted the next steps and recommendations of the SMP scoping report, which outlines the approach to assessing coastal hazards and presents conceptual coastal process models for our coastline. The scoping report is available to view here.

“These plans will establish a framework for managing coastal hazards by addressing more immediate issues in the context of long-term adaptation to coastal change. The plans will be grounded in the best available science and build from the aspirations and concerns of our diverse communities,” Mayor Sandra says.

"The project is all about helping our communities and coasts adapt to coastal hazards through site-specific plans for the entire length of our coastline, including our offshore islands," Mayor Sandra says. 

Each SMP will be presented to Council for adoption and eventual integration into relevant strategies, policies or actions within the Long-Term Plan or District Plan.

Our Council is establishing close working relationships with partners and key stakeholders including mana whenua, Waikato Regional Council (WRC), New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the Department of Conservation (DOC) in this project.

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Coastal Panels to provide support

Other next steps in the SMP project include establishing ‘coastal panels’ from volunteers, community representatives and other key stakeholders in each of our four SMP areas across the district. 

"These panels are a critical element of the SMP project and will be tasked with identifying the risks on their local coasts, and proposing policies and actions to address these as they work through the development of the SMP for their area," Mayor Sandra says.

“The panels will be asked to consider the nature and scale of coastal management issues and recognise that coastal processes and their potential impacts ignore administrative boundaries,” she says.

Panel members will be made up of local mana whenua representatives, Community Board members, community businesses and organisations and citizens.

Expressions of interest will be sought for positions on each of the coastal panels in March/April, with panels proposed to start meeting in June.  More information will be available at

Have your say in Our Coromandel Coast Summer Survey 

If you love and use our iconic Coromandel coastline, make sure you have input to our SMP project, through our Coromandel Coast survey.

Take the survey online here. It includes questions about the activities you enjoy around the Coromandel coast (eg surfing, swimming, boating, hiking, gathering shellfish or dog walking), your thoughts on coastal hazards and sea level rise and where you go for information on coastal hazards and risks.

On completion of the survey, you’ll go in the draw to win a $500 petrol voucher.

The information we gather is important for our Council and will inform the SMP project. 

“As we work through this project, we need our coastal communities to tell us their stories, pass on knowledge of coastal environments, engage in dialogue and work through solutions," Mayor Sandra says.

“The Coastal Survey is a great way to hear what you think, so make sure you find some time to complete the survey before it closes on 21 February," Mayor Sandra says.

“Your knowledge, observations and concerns will be a big help in developing these plans. This is your coast. We value your input and encourage you to find some time to sit down and take the survey, and share it with your family and friends in the Coromandel," she says

Take our survey

Take the survey online here. We estimate it will take no longer than ten minutes to answer the questions. The survey closes on February 21, 2020.

Stay informed about our SMP project at

Get in touch with us about this project at