RISING CONCERNS: Woolgoolga residents Debbie Wookey, Trevor Goldthorpe and Ian Vary have concerns about Coffs Harbour City Council’s rising sea level predictions.
RISING CONCERNS: Woolgoolga residents Debbie Wookey, Trevor Goldthorpe and Ian Vary have concerns about Coffs Harbour City Council’s rising sea level predictions. Trevor Veale

Call for sea level rethink

CONCERNED ratepayers are arguing that it is not climate change that is threatening Coffs Coast homes, but "excessive" predictions of rising sea levels.

Affected residents are calling on the Coffs Harbour City Council to reduce sea level forecasts that are predicted to rise 40cm by 2050 and 90cm by the end of the century.

The call comes as the council enters the fourth and final stage of its Coastal Hazard Planning Policy proposal that seeks to revise provisions relating to coastal hazards.

Local governments were handed control of sea level projections from the State Government in 2012. Forecasts are based on levels included in the Government's sea level rise policy statement of October, 2009.

Coffs Harbour City Council's risk assessment stipulates that under "extreme" scenarios, sea levels are forecast to rise by 0.7m in 2050 and 1.4m by 2100.

Woolgoolga ratepayers Lynn and Bob Lollback live 40m from the beach and said the predictions have affected their property value and insurance premiums.

Mrs Lollback is calling for Coffs Harbour to follow the Gosford City Council that this month slashed its 2050 rising sea level predictions from 40cm to 20cm.

"We're at the stage where we're about to retire and looking to build a permanent home on the property," Mrs Lollback said.

"One third of our property is identified as an immediate risk so it limits what we're able to do"

Trevor Goldthorpe, 70, also lives on the street and echoed his neighbour's concerns.

Mr Goldthorpe said insurance premiums for flood cover had "skyrocketed" to the point where he's given up on accessing cover.

But while the council has already planned for worst-case sea-level predictions, local conservationist Mark Graham believes measures have not gone far enough.

Mr Graham said sea level benchmarks set by the IPCC and NSW Government are "quite plausible" and new foreshore construction should be limited.

Public submissions for the forth round of the Coastal Hazard Planning Proposal are due by April 15.

A report will be prepared and then put before Council to make a decision.

It will then be sent to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for approval before being incorporated into existing Local Environmental Plans.



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