Councillor calls for sea level overlays
Gosford East Ward's Cr Rebecca Gale Collins has argued in Council that residents should be provided with sea level rise overlay maps during workshops on a draft climate change policy.
The timing of the draft policy's exhibition and dates for the workshops are, again, uncertain.
The latest written statement from Council said: "Council is developing an education and engagement program, which will include a series of workshops as part of the public exhibition of the draft Climate Change Policy.
"This program and the dates of the public exhibition will be released in coming weeks."
"Council is responsible for planning the future development of the Central Coast," said Cr Gale Collins.
"As elected representatives, we are trusted to balance the natural environment, developing infrastructure and housing opportunities for the wellbeing of all our residents," she said.
"I believe that we should respect home owner investment across the Central Coast region.
"The New Climate Change Policy discussed by Central Coast Council last Ordinary meeting, may negatively impact more than 20,000 households.
"We can expect to see property values decline, and home insurance to rise.
"There will be instances where insurers refuse to insure properties due to the modelled, not proven track record, of projected sea level rise.
"Where the 149 Certificates are added to property sale documents, the property value will decrease.
"All Central Coast property owners should have an opportunity to attend workshops and understand the consequences of Planned Retreat as designed within the Climate Change Policy where it states 'relocate or retreat as sea level rises' as an appropriate plan.
"If residents disagree or think this is an unfair policy, they have time to put forward their submissions.
"On March 10, 2015, council adopted a median sea level rise benchmark with localised sea level rise projections of 20cm by the year 2050, and 74cm by 2100.
"Today, Council's new policy endorses the highest IPCC RCP projection for sea level rise which could increase flood mapping to 54cm by 2050 and 98cm by 2100.
"As a transparent Council, we should offer all our residents the opportunity to attend workshops that have mapping clearly marking streets and suburbs impacted by this change.
"Tonight, the former Gosford Council sea level rise mapping showed a projection of 90cm, not 98cm, of a projected sea level rise.
"All residents across the Central Coast, should have the information and appropriate mapping to show projected sea level rise and potential impact to their property value.
"This mapping with a one in 100 probability, shows the impact in Empire Bay and St Hubert's Island.
"Residents from Rosella Rd in Empire Bay right back to the water's edge may have negative impact on home values and insurance.
"Almost all homes in St Hubert's Island may devalue.
"And on the Woy Woy map, we see homes from Victoria Rd, Park Rd and Robin Cr all the way back to the water's edge impacted.
"Again, if residents disagree with the implementation of planned retreat or the implementation of RCP8.5 Sea Level Rise now is the time to put forward their submission before the policy is adopted."
Cr Gale Collin's motion called for Council to hold workshops for residents across all five wards.
She called for overlay maps to be made available "to bring individual property asset value awareness, particularly in those suburbs deemed to be affected by sea level rise and planned retreat, as endorsed through the new Climate Change Policy".
The motion was successfully amended by mayor Cr Jane Smith.
During the debate at the Council meeting on August 27, Council's director of Environment and Planning, Mr Scott Cox said: "The notice of motion is premature because the draft climate change policy is not going to determine sea level rise."
He said a number of options had been included in the draft policy.
"The next phase will be action plans to go out with options for the community and we will run workshops in suburbs impacted by sea level rise," Mr Cox said.
"There are a number of case scenarios you can use that could be high, medium or low in identifying options but also, during the promulgation of the climate change policy, Council may not go with what's recommended and go with alternate.
"We are just putting it out to the community at this stage," he said.
Gosford West Ward's Cr Troy Marquart supported Cr Gale Collins' motion.
"I believe this motion is really important and I am not talking about anyone's ideology, what side of the fence you are on, how many tin foil hats you are wearing," Cr Marquart said.
"No one knows what RCP means, you know how I know that, because I have asked them," he said.
"I have been asking do you know what RCP is, do you know what planned retreat is and Central Coast residents don't know.
"Planned retreat, managed retreat, managed realignment, people on that map in Woy Woy have to lift their whole lot.
"I have being going to rugby league grand finals and asking, do you know what planned retreat is?" he said.
Cr Smith agreed to increase the proposed number of community workshops on the draft policy from two to five but commented that Cr Gale Collins' motion was focused on only two issues "when we are trying to consult on a whole policy.
"We still need to consult on the whole policy not only on concerns some councillors have about the science.
"People can ask questions about what sea level rise is and about RCP, let's consult on the draft policy not just on people's fears and anxieties," she said.
"My understanding is the draft climate change policy is not seeking to come up with the answers, it is not about attempting to come up with the solutions, it is about going out and saying Council wants to go through a process of addressing climate change and these are some of the things we are considering looking at.
"Planned retreat is not a position Council has adopted."
Media release, 27 Aug 2018
Rebecca Gale Collins, Central Coast Council
Central Coast Council agenda 7.6, 27 Aug 2018
Reporter: Jackie Pearson