STANDING GROUND: Community members gather at Arrawarra Headland to discuss the council’s coastal hazard policy.
STANDING GROUND: Community members gather at Arrawarra Headland to discuss the council’s coastal hazard policy. Contributed

Sea level concerns rise

COFFS Harbour City Council has come under renewed pressure to reduce the sea level forecasts it will use for future planning.

Concerned residents met with councillors at Arrawarra Headland on Tuesday as the public consultation period on the Coastal Hazard Planning Policy came to an end.

The policy seeks to revise provisions relating to coastal hazards.

Residents questioned the council's projected sea level rise of 1.4m by 2100, which many labelled as excessive and impacted on home values, insurance premiums and redevelopment plans.

Siding with the concerned residents, councillor John Arkan said he had concerns about the IPCC report that Coffs Harbour City Council's Coastal Processes and Hazards Definitions Study is based upon.

"In this work there is some science we may have wrong," Cr Arkan said.

"There are too many variables to set extreme benchmarks for the next 85 years for something that might or might not happen."

While councils such as Gosford have slashed their sea level forecasts by 50%, residents questioned why Coffs Harbour City Council benchmarks remain based on levels included in the State Government's sea level rise policy statement of October 2009.

"The mapping in 2009 was at the peak of a global warming frenzy and it certainly wasn't something to base projections on," Cr Bob Palmer said.

"We need to look at issues for specific areas taking into account wave action, direction of beach faces, height and how close houses are to it."

Cr Arkan added that a lack of leadership shown by State and Federal Governments around the issue had been extremely disappointing.

The proposal has received about 50 public submissions, with a decision on the policy expected by the end of July.

Changes would require approval from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment before being incorporated into existing local plans.



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