Coastal Hazard Report Presented

Christchurch City Council has released a report identifying areas at risk from coastal inundation and coastal erosion.

The Coastal Hazard Assessment Report was presented at this morning’s District Plan Review Subcommittee, as part of the proposed Stage Three Natural Hazards chapter.

The report, by environmental engineers Tonkin & Taylor Ltd, reviews the existing coastal hazard zones for southern Pegasus Bay and identifies coastal settlement areas susceptible to inundation and erosion around Lyttelton and Akaroa harbors, over a 50 and 100 year timeframe.

These assessments are in line with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement which requires local authorities throughout New Zealand to identify areas potentially affected by coastal hazards over at least 100 years. This work needs to take into account the likely effect of climate change.

This report provides us with essential information to consider in our current planning, so the timing is crucial as we continue our District Plan Review process, which includes a specific focus on coastal hazards,” said Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Coastal communities all around the world are facing the challenges of climate change and sea-level rise. Here in Christchurch, there is often confusion about our coastline, because it is currently accreting, with periods of erosion from storm events. However, the long-term trend is of a shoreline moving further inland, and this is the trend we need to plan for.”

Unit Manager Natural Environment and Heritage Helen Beaumont said that the report is the latest in a series commissioned by the Council over a period of years to gain a comprehensive understanding of sea-level rise and its potential effects.

The report released today includes the latest predictions on sea-level rise, and how this could impact our coastal areas in coming years.

“We appreciate this is difficult information for residents and communities, but you only have to look at recent storm events around the world, and here in New Zealand, to realize these are issues that can’t be ignored.”

The coastal hazard assessments in the report will be used to support Stage Three of the proposed Christchurch Replacement District Plan, which will be notified on July 25. The community will then have an opportunity to make submissions on the proposals.

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