Ways of adapting to coastal changes to be canvassed
Kāpiti Coast District Council and the Takutai Kāpiti Coastal Advisory Panel want your views on how our community should adapt to coastal erosion and flooding caused by sea-level rise. But what are our options?
We will be looking at these in more detail because different parts of our coast are affected differently by the coastal processes caused by climate change and sea-level rise. Ōtaki, Te Horo and Peka Peka in the north are generally more susceptible to coastal flooding, while south of Paraparaumu the coast is more prone to erosion. In some areas the beach is building up, at least in the short-medium term. With this in mind, experts will guide the panel of community representatives through a complex array of choices, trade-offs, and constraints on how we tackle these hazards.
They’ll have to think about the important natural landscapes and significant indigenous flora and fauna we want to protect. They’ll look at the social and cultural values that affect, and are affected by, the choices available to us. They’ll look at what public assets might be at risk from coastal hazards, as well as any relevant planning or legislative requirements that constrain what we can do. And they’ll consider the costs and benefits.
Generally speaking, communities have five broad options for adapting to coastal change:
We maintain and improve what we’re already doing.
Where we already have good protective features, like seawalls or large dunes, we could continue to maintain and strengthen them and do more environmental monitoring. It might be enough to live with what we consider an ‘acceptable’ level of risk, or improve our emergency response and increase community education and risk awareness.
We live with the hazard.
To do this successfully, we might require new or remodelled buildings to be relocatable or have higher floor levels.
We keep the hazard away.
‘Hard’ engineering options are usually the first to spring to mind for protection, such as the creation of sea walls, stopbanks, breakwaters, or flood gates. But protection can also be offered by ‘soft’ engineering solutions such as beach scraping, re-shaping or draining. Every site is unique.
We move away from the hazard.
Rather than battling nature, we could choose a deliberate and planned move over time. This could begin by limiting or prohibiting new or more intensive development in specific at-risk areas, and gradually compensating or incentivising landowners to move to safer ground, such as through buyouts, leasebacks, or transferable development rights.
We don’t move into the way of the hazard in the first place.
We could manage this with mechanisms such as zoning, time-limited land use consents, setback controls, or reducing intensification or development.
Not all approaches or options are suited to all areas, and people won’t always agree on what should be done, but the panel is keen to canvass your views as they get into the detail of this mahi.
- Join the conversation online. Share your ideas at haveyoursay.kapiticoast.govt/coastal
- Learn more about coastal hazards on the Kāpiti Coast at a public information event at the Community Centre, 45 Ocean Road, Paraparaumu Beach on Saturday 23 July, 11am–2pm.
Decision tool helps with tough choices
When there are lots of options and/or trade-offs we can use a tool called ‘multi-criteria decision analysis’ (MCDA) to help us decide the best way forward.
The Takutai Kāpiti Coastal Advisory Panel will use this tool to guide it through the process of choosing preferred options for adapting to coastal change.
The tool helps people juggle complex trade-offs between alternative values or competing viewpoints. It’s essentially a way of taking decision-makers through multiple iterations of thinking, re-thinking, querying, adjusting, testing, and finally deciding.
MCDA is useful for dividing the decision into smaller more understandable parts, analyzing each part, then bringing the parts together to produce a meaningful solution.
The panel will consider the adaptation options for different parts of the Kāpiti Coast, confer with the communities, then eventually suggest potential solutions for Council to consider. Final decisions on coastal provisions in the District Plan aimed at tackling coastal hazards will ultimately rest with Council.
Three ‘knowledge baskets’ support coastal project
Technical expertise, indigenous knowledge, and community input are three ‘baskets of knowledge’ the Takutai Kāpiti coastal adaptation project is drawing on to help develop an inclusive and enduring community response to coastal erosion and flooding from sea-level rise.
Mātauranga Māori, or indigenous knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, is important to our understanding of how the coast has changed over time and what’s at stake with future changes. Our coastline’s history and specific value to tangata whenua has been passed down through generations via kōrero tuku iho - oral traditions and histories.
Dr Aroha Spinks, Lindsay Poutama and Moira Poutama of Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tukorehe and Ngāti Kapu descent, are undertaking a cultural values assessment to look at what future climate and sea-level rise impacts means in relation to mana whenua. Council is planning to workshop the draft report later this year with the district’s three iwi: Te Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
How social values relate to coastal change
The Takutai Kāpiti coastal adaptation project has asked Maven Consulting Ltd to do some research on the social impacts to communities of sea-level rise on the Kāpiti Coast.
Social value is a measure of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. For example, it might be the ‘value’ someone gets from living by the sea. It’s important but can’t usually be expressed or measured the same way a financial value is.
This research helps us understand to what degree people think coastal erosion and flooding will impact on those values. Or what it would mean if they could no longer access coastal areas for recreation e.g. walking their dog. Or what it would mean for them if they had to pay higher rates to pay to protect public access to the beach.
Our community’s values are what makes the Kāpiti Coast a special place to live, work and play. Understanding community values is an important part of the Takutai Kāpiti project.
Coastal hazards public information event Sat 23 July
You’re invited to a community event to hear about how the Kāpiti Coast is being affected by increasing coastal erosion and flooding as a result of sea-level rise due to climate change.
Join our the Takutai Kāpiti project team, technical experts, iwi partners, and Coastal Advisory Panel members to discuss the effects these coastal hazards are having now and in the future. Let us hear your views on how we should respond as a community.
Bring the kids. We’ll have drawing and colouring activities to keep them occupied while you have a cuppa and a kōrero with the team. Come along for formal presentations from 11am-12noon then stay on or drop in between 12-2pm to mix and mingle with the Panel and our experts.