Monday, 20 February 2017
Western Bay of Plenty residents are encouraged to have their
say on a proposed policy for how the District should tackle the threat of sea
level rise and erosion.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s draft Inner Harbour
and Coastal Erosion Management Policy 2017 is open for feedback from 20
February to 20 March.
The draft policy, if adopted, will determine how Council
responds to the growing threat of erosion on the District’s coastlines and
inner harbour margins in the next 30 years.
Harbour and coastal erosion happens when wind, waves and
water wear away the shore line and contribute to land slips. It is a natural
process that is also influenced by human activity.
The nature and rate of erosion along a coastline or harbour
is affected by the type of land (e.g. rocky ‘hard’ or sandy ‘soft’ shores) and
the energy of the sea (e.g. a ‘high energy’ surf beach or a ‘low energy’
New Zealand’s sea level has risen about 18cm over the past 100
years. It has also been subjected to coastal storm inundation (flooding) that
has been historically documented. This is expected to become more frequent in
the future. Coupled with a predicted further one metre sea level rise, what we
currently consider to be an extreme ‘one in 100 year coastal event’ – will
trend to becoming the norm.
Council’s Policy and Planning Manager, Emily Rogers, says
the draft policy was created following conversations with the community in 2016
through the ‘Living with the Changing Tides’
campaign. It also takes into
account all relevant national information and legislation.
“This policy is based on all of the feedback we received
last year, as well as the in-depth expert research and detailed projected
erosion maps for the District.”
Emily says the draft policy relates only to the future
management of Council-owned coastal land and assets – and informs the community
of the proposed consistent and precautionary approach.
It limits future Council funding to the protection of Council
owned land and strategic assets and states public money will not be spent on
the protection of private property.
“From a wider district and long term perspective this makes
economic and intergenerational sense. Any public intervention to protect private
property on the inner harbour or coast would be at a cost to all ratepayers and
a gain only to individual property owners,” says Emily.
Erosion protection works are expensive – with costs such as $3000
per metre for rock revetment walls. The District’s inner harbour coastline
alone – excluding the margins of Matakana, Rangiwaea and Motuhoa Island – is 140km. If the entire coastline was
protected by hard structures the cost could be in excess of $420 million. These
works would, in time, likely fail under predicted sea level rise too.
Council is inviting everyone to have their say on what’s
being proposed, regardless of whether they live by the sea or not.
“It affects you if you use beaches, parks or roads by
beaches and may also affect you if you pay rates. Some protection options
can be very expensive to construct, maintain and replace. The impact on
ratepayers will depend on what options are agreed and how these options are
Living with the Changing Tides re-opens for
feedback on the draft policy on Monday, 20 February. It’s open until 4pm on
Monday, 20 March. Visit haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz