Climate change impact report leaked

THE much-anticipated report into the impact of climate change on the Coffs Coast has been leaked.

Before residents in the areas identified as likely inundation zones had been contacted, the 204-page report has been posted on a website published by the Northern Beaches Alliance.

“This is very disappointing,” said Coffs Harbour City Council mayor Keith Rhoades.

“The final stage of the report was to make contact with homeowners whose properties were identified as potentially impacted by coastal erosion or inundation.

“We wanted to ensure there was no alarm caused by people discovering this for themselves.”

See a PDF map of Coffs Harbour or a PDF set of 14 Coffs Coast maps.

The massive study, complemented by detailed maps, depicts predicted coastline changes for the region’s 38 beaches and coastal river systems.

It prepares for inundation, storm/cyclone surge, sand drift and sea level rise, over a 50- and 100-year period.

The report is based on state-wide projections that sea levels will rise by 0.4 of a metre by 2050 and 0.9 of a metre by 2100.

Commissioned by Coffs Harbour City Council, the Coastal Processes and Hazard Definition Study was completed by world-renowned engineering and environmental consultants BMT WBM.

The water levels illustrated on the maps assume beaches will recede, creeks and lakes will swell and tides, storm surges and waves heights will rise – all of which are predicted by the best available environmental science on offer in NSW.

The most prominent examples of predicted inundation under a one-in-100-year storm event include the Jetty Foreshores, Hogbin Dr, parts of Boambee East and properties near the Woolgoolga and Hearnes lakes, Arrawarra Creek and Corindi River at Red Rock.

The floodplains of Darkum, Fiddaman’s, Moonee, Coffs, Boambee, Bonville, Pine and Bundageree creeks would also expand vastly.

The report will be made available on Saturday by the Environmental Defenders Office at the Coffs Harbour Neighbourhood Centre.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s executive manager of Engineering Services, George Stulle, said a strategy for the community consultation process discussing the report was expected to go before the council next month.

“The report is the first step in the process of identifying any possible risks in the future,” Mr Stulle said.

“This process, which is anticipated will take at least 12 months, is aimed at determining options to manage potential hazards.

“The maps don’t really provide solid conclusions. All they do is try and project what might happen under different scenarios. This is important so council can act accordingly in the future and make sure the right controls are put in place,” he said.

At least one environmental group applauded the early release of the study.

“The Jetty Action Group is particularly pleased, as it has been seeking release of the coastal erosion and inundation report and maps since early December last year,” said group spokesman Noel Mackay.

The full report can be downloaded here:
(Please note: this is a 20MB download).

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