Community conversations on coastal hazards are ramping up
Nationally we’re seeing an increasing awareness of the impacts of sea-level rise resulting from climate change. In Kāpiti, our communities consistently identify climate change as a key threat to their sustainability and resilience.
The impact of climate change is most clearly seen on our coast. We’re experiencing more frequent and extreme storms causing coastal hazards such as erosion and inundation (flooding by the sea).
Coastal hazards don’t just affect private property. They damage council infrastructure like pipes, roads and parks that our rates pay to fix, and they reduce access around the district and along the coast for recreation.
For decades, off and on, our district has debated how we tackle coastal hazards. It’s time to have those conversations not just on the back of severe weather events, but to help us plan deliberately and carefully so we are more resilient when a response is required.
The need for action is becoming more pressing than ever. That’s why we’re facilitating a coastal adaptation project based on Ministry for the Environment guidance on planning for coastal hazards.
The Takutai Kāpiti project will support an independent Coastal Advisory Panel made up of local people and tangata whenua representatives to engage directly with you, our community. Those conversations will draw on a range of social, cultural, economic, ecological and scientific studies and new online maps and videos.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn more and give your views to the panel. Their job is to use that information, assess the various options for adapting to coastal changes on the Kāpiti Coast, then provide recommendations to Council on how to tackle current and future coastal hazards.
It’s time for a national approach to sea-level rise
We welcome central government stepping up to support local government and our communities grapple with the issues around sea-level rise.
We need a national approach, both to achieve consistency and to manage the costs for ratepayers around the country.
The Ministry for the Environment is asking the public to have a say by 3 June on a draft national adaptation plan and proposed legislation for ‘managed retreat’. This is the careful and planned relocation of people, places and sites of significance away from areas at high risk from the impacts of climate change. The consultation is on their website at mfe.govt.nz.
Councillors will consider Council’s draft submission at its full meeting on 26 May. You can read the draft submission in the Council agenda our website from Friday.
Read it at kapiticoast.govt.nz/meetings.
Government releases new sea-level rise tool
A new online tool just released by the government-funded NZ SeaRise programme allows New Zealanders to see how much and how fast sea level will rise along their own stretch of coast under different sea level rise scenarios.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how much seas will rise, over what timeframes, and the amount of impact this will have on our coast, homes, public land and infrastructure, so we need to take a flexible approach that allows us to prepare, adapt and act as conditions change.
Visit searise.nz for more information.
Social impacts study for coastal adaptation project
We’ve asked Wellington-based consultants Maven Consulting to run a social impacts study to inform our coastal adaptation programme.
They’ll be interviewing individuals and groups to find out how our coast matters to you and what will change for you as a result of sea-level rise and coastal erosion.
We’ll also be looking into the impacts of sea-level rise on cultural sites of significance and tikanga, and the economic and ecological impacts on our district.
This information will support the community conversations being run by the Takutai Kāpiti Coastal Advisory Group on our options for adapting to coastal erosion and inundation.
Keep up-to-date with the project’s progress and the panel’s events by signing up to the Takutai Kāpiti e-newsletter
Now we understand our vulnerability, we can assess our risk
To have a constructive community conversation about how we adapt to coastal hazards, we first need good evidence about what we’re dealing with and by when. That’s the purpose of the first two volumes of the recently published science-based vulnerability assessment for the Kāpiti Coast.
The upcoming third volume is a risk assessment, which considers consequences. These can be very subjective as they revolve around personal, social, political, economic, cultural values and situations. It’s difficult to get agreement about how we deal with the problem, adapt to change, and share costs when people are affected differently, and there’s uncertainty about timeframes and the amount of impact.
The Coastal Advisory Panel will help assess the risks by considering and weighing the consequences, priorities and options for action from a community perspective.
New online maps and videos show Kāpiti’s future coastal hazards
Based on the data in our coastal hazards vulnerability assessment, we’ve launched new interactive coastal hazard maps on our online maps (GIS) portal, and videos to show how sea-level rise is projected to affect our district so we can adapt and plan well for the future.
The online maps show how coastal hazards are projected to impact us over the next 30, 50 and 100 years.
These timeframes relate to those we use for infrastructure and asset planning, building consents, and climate change planning.
Similar maps are already in use in Christchurch, Hawkes Bay and Wellington to help people understand the potential impact of coastal hazards.