Whangaparāoa first to get Coastal Management Plan

Posted at 4:48pm Monday 15 Feb, 2021

Auckland Council has chosen Whangaparāoa Peninsula for its first Coastal Management Plan.

The plan sets out a sustainable approach to coastal management, looking at what short to long-term responses might be needed to tackle issues such as sea level rise and increasing flood and storm events over a total timeframe of 100 years.

It aims to: manage the impact of erosion and flooding; manage the impacts of rising sea levels; identify risks to safety, coastal defences and surrounding infrastructure; set a long-term plan to manage the coastline.

The Whangaparāoa pilot will inform around 14 other such plans to be rolled out around Auckland's 3200km of coastline, and involves extensive public consultation.

A series of public presentations, workshops and open days begin this week and go right through until May 22 (see below).

Council's coastal and geotechnical services manager, Paul Klinac, says at these meetings he expects to hear about issues at local beaches regarding structures such as stairs or cliff paths – and expects Ōrewa Beach to be raised, although it is out of the scope of the pilot.

“Although there has always been high public interest in Ōrewa Beach, it will have its own separate plan,” Mr Klinac says. “Coastal Management Plans are not about specific Council assets such as seawalls or stairs, it is about what people value about their coast,” he says. “Is that open space, playgrounds and reserves or walking on the beach?”

He says this information from locals will be overlaid with the most up to date climate change data, so that Council can prioritise what might need to be enhanced or protected and what the options are to do that.

“Previously the approach has been to react to issues that are already happening – along the lines of, ‘the coast is eroding, do we need a seawall?' But this is a proactive way to prepare for what lies ahead.”

The document does not provide a rulebook – it is a guide – but Mr Klinac says it will carry substantial weight because it reflects current data and the community's voice at that time.

As always, money is a key issue. The pilot is funded by rates, however whether or not the remaining plans can be rolled out will depend on Council's next Long Term Plan (10-year budget). The estimate for all 15 plans is just over $3 million.

Mr Klinac says the completed plans will give Council an idea of what specific funding will be required in future – such as to build, or take down, coastal structures.

He says managing coastal areas is a challenge and “a bit scary” in the face of sea level rise and climate change, but that is why this discussion needs to take place with communities.

“We can't protect all that coastline, so there will be hard decisions to be made in the medium to long-term. Both Council and private landowners have a role and responsibility. We shouldn't shy away from that.”

The aim is to have the pilot completed by July.

To participate in the pilot: – NEW DATES
The recent Covid-19 lockdown meant adjusting the dates of all the public meetings that Auckland Council is holding regarding its Coastal Management Plan for Whangaparaoa (HM February 17, p3). Please disregard all the meeting dates in that article. The new dates and details are:
• Public presentations at Hibiscus Coast Community RSA on March 3 and 18, and April 8, 6.30pm– 8.30pm • Public open day, Whangaparāoa Library, April 17 and May 29, 10am-2 pm • Join the conversation on Council's digital platform Social Pinpoint  from 3 March - 30 May 2021


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