Adapting Swansea: Planning for future flood risks

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Thank you for all of the tidal inundation and flooding survey responses received. We are now reviewing the information to assist us in developing a combined Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. Please view the initial survey results engagement summary and the follow-up survey results engagement summary.

The impacts of climate change and tidal inundation are expected to develop gradually over coming decades. We are planning for them now so that when the time comes to act, we have a plan in place to mitigate flooding and tidal inundation risks as much as possible.

We’ve recently completed a feasibility assessment on a number of shortlisted adaptation options determined by the joint Council and Community Working Group.

The following online resources are available to provide more information on the feasibility assessment outcomes and upcoming cost benefit analysis.


Thank you for all of the tidal inundation and flooding survey responses received. We are now reviewing the information to assist us in developing a combined Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. Please view the initial survey results engagement summary and the follow-up survey results engagement summary.

The impacts of climate change and tidal inundation are expected to develop gradually over coming decades. We are planning for them now so that when the time comes to act, we have a plan in place to mitigate flooding and tidal inundation risks as much as possible.

We’ve recently completed a feasibility assessment on a number of shortlisted adaptation options determined by the joint Council and Community Working Group.

The following online resources are available to provide more information on the feasibility assessment outcomes and upcoming cost benefit analysis.


  • Let’s Talk: Understanding the Cost Benefit Analysis for Local Adaptation Planning

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    18 Nov 2020
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    Join Council representatives and guests from the Centre for International Economics for a session sharing insights and recommendations from the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) recently completed, which will inform the Local Adaptation Plan (LAP).




    Session details:

    • Monday 30 November 11.00am - 12.15pm
    • Participants may attend online or in-person (attendance in-person is capped at 10 people due to COVID)
    • Registration is essential - visit our Eventbrite webpage for venue information and to book.


    What this session will cover:

    Over the last year members of the joint Council and Community Working Group co-designing the Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea LAP have been working with consultants to prepare a CBA examining a number of potential adaptation options for the area.

    Nigel Rajaratnam and Joseph Caruana from the Centre for International Economics will present:

    • The LAP options examined in the CBA
    • Methods and assumptions used in the analysis; and
    • Results and recommendations that will help inform the LAP being developed by the Council and the community.

    There will be an opportunity for a Q&A at the end of the talk.

    You may submit questions beforehand to: AdaptingSwansea@lakemac.nsw.gov.au


    Register now.

  • Responses to community comments - inundation surveys

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    by kmarples, 24 Aug 2020

    Responding to comments received recent tidal inundation surveys during May/June and July 2020

    Council carried out a community survey on tidal inundation during May and June 2020 as part of its Local Adaptation Planning work in Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and Caves Beach.

    Community members asked Council to comment/respond to the major themes raised in the survey. Please see example comments and responses below.


    Acknowledgement of king/high tides and tidal inundation

    “I have lived in Peel Street, Swansea adjacent to Black Neds Bay for almost 10 years. The worst I have seen this street affected by flooding has been small pools of water on the road. and, I have never been inconvenienced in any way or restricted”

    “We have lived with a degree of inundation during King Tide periods and freak storm cells with the impact mostly affecting channel and lake perimeters”

    Tidal inundation would cause much damage & inconvenience especially if it coincides with heavy rain for an extended period like April 2015 or when the “Pasha Bulka” was beached in 2007.

    A: Council and the local community have records of tidal inundation during periods of king tides and when tidal anomalies take place (eg. trapped coastal waves or low barometric pressure). Areas impacted include the Swansea cycleway adjoining the Pacific Highway, Bowman Street (near Plains Creek Gully Bridge), Wood Street, Jonathan Street and Channel Street Swansea. Also, the car park and access road to Grannies Pool.

    While the impacts associated are considered ‘minor’ by many at present, the frequency, duration and extent of this inundation is projected to increase over the coming decades. Council and the community are working together to help identify and manage current and future flood and inundation risks.


    Dredging of the entrance channel

    “I believe the best option is to dredge the Swansea channel and replenish the sand dredged from channel to local beaches or use it as road base for road projects.”

    “Dredging of the channel and lake entrance full time is a must”

    If you went to the expense of dredging the lake and Black Neds Bay then any water level concern would be much less. Put a brick in a bucket, what happens?

    A: Dredging the channel has been shown to increase the amount of water entering the lake from the sea. This can worsen flooding in the channel and low-lying areas of the lake. Dredging can also lead to faster velocity of tidal flows in the channel which can worsen erosion/scouring of the bank. Dredging is primarily related to navigation access and is not a feasible strategy for managing flooding or projected sea level rise. For further information on the impacts of dredging on the channel and lake, please refer to the Lake Macquarie Coastal Zone Management Plan.


    Keep drainage clear

    “Storm water drains need to be kept clean at all times”

    “Flooding occurs [at times] throughout the year depending on the season and the moon. All a part of nature. Maintenance of drains and gutters would go a long way to addressing the problem”

    “Drains and clearing of creeks to insure run off into lake is paramount We use to live in Marks point and we experienced flooding which came from the road not the lake. Poor, blocked and ineffective drainage was the issue not sea rise. To my knowledge this is still the situation LMCC are not addressing the drainage issue. It seems to me they are looking to claim sea rise to be responsible not their failure to address what is a blatant failure over many years”

    “I live in Bay Street. Our street endures rain water running in from Lake Parade / Catherine St / Moxey St towards the lake. Also, when the street gutters are not cleared by Council on an annual basis, the rising lake water backs up and our street floods regularly in addition to rain and storm water not able to get away. Our only drainage is into the lake”.

    A: Council has a program to maintain local drains on an annual basis, or more twice yearly when assessed as a priority (for example, a number of low-lying areas around Swansea, Pelican and Blacksmiths). Poor drainage has been and will continue to be an issue in and around parts of Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea as the area is low-lying and very flat. The lack of fall in local streets means that inadequate grade is available to allow water to drain. This is exacerbated by a shallow groundwater table. The 2D Stormwater Model and report prepared by WMA Water in 2018/19 indicated that in many low-lying areas of Swansea, doubling the pipe capacity in the drainage network won’t be effective in reducing flooding as there is insufficient fall to convey drainage waters into the lake. The local adaptation plan currently being prepared will provide direction for alternative drainage solutions to be introduced in combination with and sequenced with other adaptation options.


    Kerb and guttering

    “Council should be planning kerb and guttering all streets in Swansea with the correct fall so water runs away instead of pooling, the soccer oval which fronts Pelican Street should be kerb and gutter as a matter of urgency. It is a disgrace in 2020 that LMCC does not planned to do this. This would ease the problem of flooding in various areas”

    A: Poor drainage has been, and will continue to be, an issue in and around parts of Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea as the area is low-lying and as lake and sea levels rise so too will tidal, flood and groundwater inundation. Kerb and gutter has been used successfully in suburbs with higher elevation and enough slope to allow water to run off downslope. The grades in local streets in these areas do not allow for this to occur. The local adaptation plan currently being prepared will provide direction for alternative drainage solutions to be introduced in combination with and sequenced with other adaptation options.


    Evacuation routes and Bowman Street flooding

    “Bowman St will still need to be raised to allow residents to enter/leave Caves Beach soon! Already floods on high tides”.

    “To exit or enter Caves Beach there is only one access point which is the junction of the Pacific Highway and Bowman St. This area is highly subject to flooding. In the event of any emergency this would mean that the rapid evacuation of Cave Beach would be impossible as well as emergency vehicles being unable to enter. A second access road is required and the upgrading and reopening of Scenic Drive to access the Pacific Highway would seem to be a reasonable solution”.

    A: Council and community members preparing the local adaptation plan have been working closely with NSW State Emergency Service representatives. Emergency preparedness including identifying and maintaining suitable evacuation routes has been identified as an essential part of the adaptation plan.


    Climate change mitigation – preventing sea level rise

    “While there are many cities below sea level it is better to prevent inundation by rising sea levels because it may result in houses becoming uninsurable. Even slight temporary inundation suggested in many of the survey questions would cause inconvenience to everyone & have a negative impact on real estate values. “Prevention is better than cure” in this case”.

    A: Council and the community have shown a high level of support for climate change adaptation and mitigation. While the local adaptation plan being prepared is part of Council’s climate change adaptation programs, there are a number of other programs seeking to mitigate climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy and water conservation programs. For further information please refer to the recently adopted Environmental Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2027.


    Erosion at Blacksmiths dunes

    “I walked along the beach at Blacksmiths on Friday morning last with a friend so that we could pick up plastic and rubbish that had washed up by the tide. It was alarming to see the erosion along the frontal dunes”.

    A: Council and the community are aware of the episodic erosion of Blacksmith beach and dunes. Council is carefully monitoring erosion and damage caused. Options for monitoring and managing the beach and dunes now and in the future will be a key component of the Draft Local Adaptation Plan and Coastal Management Program being developed by Council and the community. For project updates, visit shape.lakemac.com.au/blacksmiths-beach-surf-assessment


    Lake flooding options

    “We live on the lake and suffer flood inundation from the lake. The options don't seem to address this”

    “I was very puzzled by the options being considered in the current exercise - it seemed to be confined to Swansea's CBD, with no mention of any actions further west. It seems logical that some measures must be taken to block the encroachment of the lake, but no details were given - what barriers or other measures? , where?, all parts of the suburb or only selected higher ground?

    A: Local adaptation planning options in the Feasibility Assessment and the Cost Benefit Analysis consider flooding and tidal inundation impacts and options for the foreshore areas of the lake and the channel, including lakeside residents and the Swansea economic centre (CBD). For more detailed information review the Feasibility Assessment Report, explore the document library and newsfeed on this project website or contact Council on 4921 0333.


    Seawalls, Levees and Pumps

    “Why don’t we raise our sea walls to form a protective barrier/levee bank?”

    A: Raising our seawalls and building levee banks may be useful for high lake and ocean levels. However, seawalls and levee banks often exacerbate the impacts of local rain events. For low-lying suburbs this option is considered to be inappropriate as it does not address the impacts of groundwater levels rising during flooding events and the long term increase in the level of groundwater as sea and lake levels rise.

    “Pump flood waters into storage”

    “For Figure 4, Black Neds Bay West and SBD stages 1-4: this is going to cost a real lot of money and community disruption, particularly raising buildings and highway and Wood Street and Lake Road will still flood. Who will pay for this? Why don't you build the raised revetment (non-porous or course) and install pits and pump at the ends of the drainage lines. Will only have to pump when rainy and high tides/floods. Plus, you will catch all pollution in these pits. It would have to be cheaper than what it proposed”.

    A: This option was considered as part of the feasibility assessment mentioned in the newsletter and is not currently supported due to the large volume of water generated during rainfall events. Storage capacity and pumps would need to be considerable. Pumps are often also at a high risk of failure during flood events. For further information please refer to the Feasibility Assessment Report.


    Sewerage concerns

    “The main problem we experienced during the flooding of June 2007 and April 2015 was not water over the roads but the fact that the sewer manholes were inundated and so Hunter water ceased to pump, meaning there was no proper sewer. A fix is a priority”.

    “We arrived in Swansea in 2004 and have been severely inundated twice, being 2007 and 2015. On both occasions our entire block was covered to a depth of over 30cms, flooding our house's ground floor and our detached garage (which we had built to the 1-in-25-year flood level). Both times the flood water was contaminated by sewerage.

    A: The combined Council and community working group preparing the Local Adaptation Plan have been liaising with Hunter Water representatives about the development of the Plan. Hunter Water has advised “Climate change presents significant challenges to the way we manage our water and wastewater infrastructure”. Hunter Water programs related to climate change action are available here: https://www.hunterwater.com.au/our-water/sustainability/climate-change-action


    Personal history/account of flooding in area:

    “Resident of the area for the past 45 years so I have seen some major flooding & inundation hence my acceptance of some natural interference with everyday life.”

    “Worst storm at Pelican was over 30 years ago when bulk carrier Signa washed up on Stockton Beach. Water covered Pelican Park and Lake View Parade to 400mls for about 4 hours but receded by 9am. Nothing since last 30 years.”

    “20 years, despite big storms, heavy rainfall and high tides, this has never breached the breakwall of my property. I live between Swansea and Black Neds Bay.”

    “From my 70+ years association with Swansea, flooding has been caused by stormwater in the catchment area and not sea level rise.”

    “Swansea has always had flooding and high tides. Why should we bother with this project?”

    A: The largest recorded flood in Swansea occurred in 1949 and measured around 1.2m AHD. Other large flood events occur approximately every 10 years (recently 2007 and 2015). The Signa storm in the 1970’s was one of our highest recorded events.

    A 1% AEP (annual exceedance probability) event is a very large flood with a probability of 1% (1 in 100) of occurring in any one year. Tide gauges at Swansea, Belmont and Fort Denison (Sydney) show that sea and lake levels have risen at around 2.5-3mm per year over the last couple of decades. This rate of rise is predicted to increase over the next few decades. The local adaptation plan is looking across 10, 50- and 100-year planning horizons. We are planning for the worst, hoping for the best, and only acting when necessary.


    Property Prices and Insurance Premiums

    “Is this work going to devalue my house/property?”

    A:Many factors affect the property market and the individual choice of buyers, including interest rates, the health of the economy and the desire to live in a particular location. Studies of the value of property in flood affected areas here and overseas show some consistent patterns:

    • There is already a discount built in to the market for properties that are known to flood
    • Even in known flood areas, other factors such as aspect, views, and direct water frontage are strong drivers of value
    • After a major flood or other disaster prices may drop (typically 5-10 per cent) but generally recover after one or two years

    New information such as flood conditions being made publicly available (such as Brisbane’s ‘Floodwise’ program) can cause a drop in prices (about six per cent in Brisbane) but they generally recover after one or two years.

    Council reviews independent annual property market reports from the Real Estate Association of Australia and compares 10-year profiles with non-low-lying suburbs. Recent figures show that there has been an increase in the number of units and villas in Swansea and that sales in Pelican and Blacksmiths are trending similar to other suburbs across the local government area.

    By planning for the worst, monitoring and responding to recognised triggers only when required Council and the community can help reduce uncertainty of housing prices in potentially impacted areas.

    “Won’t this work drive up my insurance premiums?”

    A:Insurance is provided for the period of the premium (typically one year) and for a specified event or hazard, not for a gradual process such as sea level rise. Therefore, the level of a lake, river or the sea in 20 or 50 years’ time should have no effect on the premium calculated for the current year.

    Flood insurance has only been widely available on the Australian market since 2009. Prior to that, information about flood hazards in Australia was considered so poor that most insurers were unwilling to provide insurance. As state and local governments complete more high-quality flood studies, insurers can more confidently judge the risk and offer appropriate cover.

    Flood levels are predicted to rise with projected sea level rise – and the number of houses impacted by flooding will also increase. As this happens, a naturally accompanying increase in premiums may occur. This is not caused by adaptation planning. It is hoped that adaptation planning will help to reduce future impacts and minimise insurance premium increases.

    Council liaised with the independent Insurance Council of Australia to better understand how insurance is calculated for Australian insurers.


    Raise and fill options

    “Swansea needs to be built up at least to 450mm above current high-water level, all new builds should conform to that, current floor levels must remain. This is expensive but I believe it's the only way to save Swansea and I feel would be enough to keep the suburb open even in bad weather”.

    “My house cost me about an extra $20,000 for foundations to cover future flooding”

    A: The current Flood Planning Level is 2.36m AHD, which takes account of the current 1% AEP (annual exceedance probability storm – similar to a 1-in-100-year storm occurring in any one year), sea level rise and a safety margin (called freeboard). This ensures that a house built today is more likely to stay “high and dry” over the commonly adopted asset life of 50 years.

    “To do rebuilds are up for huge costs to cater for flooding and yet the Council intends to get the highway and business area built up (who's cost). So the council would be better off building a large lock in Swansea channel instead of doing all these build ups and higher floor levels for all housing etc. because the streets will be flooded and we won't be able to drive around any way.”

    A:Council and the local community are currently examining a range of options to manage flooding and tidal inundation into the future. Building a lock in the entrance channel was considered in the feasibility assessment undertaken as part of the project. The option was deemed not feasible at the current time as a result of technical feasibility and cost. Review the Feasibility Assessment Report for further information. A shortlisted range of options was advanced to the Cost Benefit Analysis, which is currently being undertaken and results will be available on the project website shortly.

    “Why doesn’t Council start “ramp” filling Swansea now?”

    A: While filling in some low-lying areas can assist with nuisance drainage and flooding – large-scale filling would impact existing roads and properties and might exacerbate the problem. It is understood that future filling of land will take place on an as needed basis – please refer to option AC1 (raise and fill) in the cost benefit analysis options list. Any filling/raising of land needs to be carefully timed and sequenced with other local adaptation planning options.


    Swansea Holiday Park

    “With Swansea caravan park headed for inundation & possible relocation to elsewhere in the City, why is so much money being spent on infrastructure in the park i.e. swimming pool, cabins etc?”

    A: As part of the cost benefit assessment (CBA) being undertaken as part of this local adaptation plan, Council is looking two alternative options for the Swansea Holiday Park: i) to raise and fill the park, and ii) to relocate the park. The CBA results will be of interest in planning for the long-term future of the holiday park. In the short-to-medium-term, Council has developed strategic and operational management plans for all of its holiday parks. These plans have been informed by ongoing local adaptation planning in areas susceptible to flooding, tidal inundation and projected sea level rise. Much of the infrastructure in holiday parks is considered movable and as such adaptable to future impacts that may take place in 20-30 years or more. Council’s investment in more permanent infrastructure is informed by a business case considering costs and benefits over the projected asset life cycle.


    General comments questioning the survey:

    “The survey seems not to separate the difference between flooding of the lake and possible rise in mean sea level”.

    “Any local tidal disruption would be 2-4 hours max. The 24 hour + scenarios above relate to flooding due to heavy rain and not tide”.

    A: The survey was seeking community tolerance responses for flooding impacts caused by tidal inundation and/or lake catchment area flooding.

    “Having noted ‘Never’ in answering questions; I realise when we have super storms and natural events this is unavoidable”

    “See hard copy and adapt: qu. 6: 1 in 10 years qu 7: 1 in 10 years Qu 8: 1 in 10 years qu 9: 1 in 10 years qu 10. 1 in 25 years qu 11: 1 in 100 years. ie: i feel you should have had a 1 in 10 years and 1 in 25 years column as well so i put those occurrences in the never column.”

    A: This was a very valid point about the frequency options available in the initial survey conducted in May/June. It prompted the project to conduct a follow-up survey (in July) to investigate the community’s tolerance for impacts that didn’t occur annually but occurred in less frequently intervals such as once in five, 10, 25, 50 or 100 years. This survey has now concluded and received 168 responses. An engagement summary will be available soon.

    “The question asked about restricted access is via car or pedestrian?”

    A: The intent of the question was relating to all forms of access that you predominantly use.

    “Never not practical due to cost benefit to community. The answers are very dependent on the cost ratepayers re works programmes to reduce/eliminate impacts. If the questions were qualified by the expected impacts on other Council funding, then you would receive a much different outcome!!”

    A: A shortlisted range of options was advanced to the Cost Benefit Analysis, which is currently being undertaken and results will be available on the project website shortly. A key part of this analysis is to determine the distribution of costs and to identify the parties who benefit from the adaption works. Stay tuned to this project website to keep up to date with the latest local adaptation planning information and cost benefit analysis reporting.


    Mud Creek and Wyee Bay

    “Drainage has to be addressed and effective: we live on Mud creek which is blocked by foliage and trees falling into creek and blocking the creeks’ run off into the greater lake. The clean-up of these creeks is a must to reduce flooding. The road bridge across Mud creek causes a problem Hunter water ran gas pipes across Mud creek which is lower than the road bridge cutting access off to the greater lake and adding to the possibility of extremism flooding in a proclaimed and known flood area How can this happen.”

    “The tidal inundation and erosion to our local lake’s foreshore is slowly claiming more and more of the Wyee Bay shoreline. A combination of our predominant NE winds combined with the increasing big tides, with no sea wall protection is a problem.”

    “Prevailing North Eastern winds driving the lake to erode the banks on the reserve of Wyee Bay. 4-6 metres in areas in 10 years.”

    A: These comments refer to areas outside of the local adaptation plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. We have passed on these comments to the Lake Macquarie Coastal Management Program being developed 2020-21 and will also retain information for the proposed Fennel, Edmunds, Kooroora Bay Local Adaptation Plan, pending outcome of recent floodplain management grant application. Follow and contribute to the Lake Macquarie Coastal Management Program community consultation at shape.lakemac.com.au/coastal

  • Survey gauges community tolerance of suburban flooding

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    by kmarples, 19 May 2020
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    Lake Macquarie City Council will survey residents in parts of south-east Lake Macquarie prone to tidal inundation to gauge their response to future flooding risks.

  • Feasibility Assessment frequently asked questions

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    by kmarples, 11 May 2020

    What is a feasibility assessment?

    The feasibility assessment is a process to evaluate and highlight local adaptation options that are practical, effective and have minimal negative impacts. It collates the outcomes achieved so far by the local Community Working groups and employs the NSW Government framework to formalise the assessment process. The framework comprises the Coastal Management Act 2016, The Coastal Management SEPP2018, NSW Coastal Manual (2018) and the coast and estuary grant funding requirements. Local adaptation plans that are well aligned with the framework have an easier pathway to implementation and are more eligible for grant and funding opportunities.


    Why is it needed as part of the Local Adaptation Planning process?

    The feasibility assessment reviews the practicality of the selected options, evaluating the legal and technical and engineering feasibility and effectiveness of each option. A panel of community members, government representatives and Council consider the performance of each option under local conditions, and the potential for negative environmental, economic and social impacts. The panel also evaluates the likely lifespan of each option, its technical requirements and the complexity of planning, implementation and monitoring.

    Following the framework ensures options requiring greater technical or engineering design that are ultimately put forward in the local adaptation plan, are thoroughly considered to address the potential flooding and tidal inundation risks in the area.


    What consultant delivered the feasibility assessment?

    Council engaged consultant Umwelt Australia Pty Ltd to undertake the feasibility assessment for selected adaptation options. They were assisted by Salients Consulting.


    Who are the main stakeholders in this process?

    The main stakeholders in this process include:

    • Joint Council and Community Working groups, one for Pelican and Blacksmiths and another for Swansea and Surrounds. For this process, the two local community representative groups worked collaboratively together with Council.
    • A Steering Committee made up of Council, community and NSW Government representatives.
    • Industry experts including Dr David Wainwright, a coastal and environmental engineer with Salients Consulting and Umwelt Australia.


    How many options were assessed?

    Thirty-one options were part of the final feasibility assessment process. These included coastal protection options, such as foreshore protection works, accommodating options, such as raise and fill residential land, and major changes, such as relocation of Swansea’s economic centre (CBD).

    A list of the 31 options assessed is available in the Feasibility Assessment Report on page 38, Table 3.11 and throughout sections four to six of the report.


    Process to shortlist the adaptation options

    Council has been working with the Swansea, Pelican and Blacksmiths communities and surrounding areas over the past few years to develop adaptation options to mitigate future flood risks and meet the needs of these local communities.

    We began with 182 options from the community, which were then condensed to 112 options by the joint Council and Community Working groups. These were further shortlisted to 31 options to proceed to feasibility assessment by the Steering Committee. The Feasibility Assessment recommended 17 options which were further reviewed and finally eight options will progress to the next step, the cost benefit analysis.

    Many of the options to be included in the local adaptation plans will be incorporated into Council’s operational plans and delivery program as they are considered to be business as usual.


    What does the feasibility assessment process involve?

    The complex nature of the coastal environment means areas within local adaptation plans are valued in different ways, which can result in conflicting objectives. To manage this process, it was determined that a multi-criteria analysis be used to evaluate the options determined together by Council and the Community Working groups. This analysis was the method used to conduct the feasibility assessment.


    What is a multi-criteria analysis (MCA)?

    MCA is a tool to support decision making where there are multiple, potentially conflicting values and objectives. It provides a methodology for Council and the Community Working groups to collaboratively balance these different perspectives to achieve agreement on the best way forward.

    MCA specifically incorporates the participation of stakeholders, including the joint Council and Community Working groups and industry experts, to assign weights to criteria that reflect their attitudes and values. It combines expertise and experience from literature with input from local stakeholders, through a structured process and provides information that decision makers can use to help determine which options should proceed to the cost benefit analysis.


    What are the key outcomes of the feasibility assessment report?

    The MCA process was successful, 17 options were favourable and recommended for further discussion. The Steering Committee further shortlisted these options, based on their feasibility assessment recommendations, to eight options plus a business as usual ‘base case’ scenario to progress to the cost benefit analysis.

    These eight options include:

    • Raise and fill residential land
    • Raise and fill other areas
    • Protection works at Black Neds Bay
    • Raise Ungala Road
    • Relocate holiday park
    • Wetlands move on to environmental land
    • Wetlands move on to other types of adjoining land
    • Offset losses of wetlands with reservations in Lake areas


    What happens with the other suggested options?

    Many of the options suggested by the community will be included in the local adaptation plans and incorporated into Council’s operational plans and delivery program to be implemented as business as usual. As such, they were not required to proceed to the feasibility assessment, cost benefit analysis and distribution analysis but they are still important options to implement when necessary.

    These options fall into the following categories:

    • ongoing community education and engagement
    • flood preparedness and early warning systems
    • policy, regulation and City planning
    • monitoring and maintenance including but not limited to water levels, infrastructure assets, such as bridges, breakwalls and drainage, and environmental assets, such as wetlands
    • access and emergency planning, including evacuation routes
    • sand replenishment and dune management
    • additional foreshore protection works


    What happens next?

    The next step in the local adaptation planning process is the cost benefit analysis, followed by the distribution analysis.

    The cost benefit analysis of adaptation options is an assessment method that sets the costs and benefits on common ground so that they can be compared and evaluated. The cost benefit analysis is designed to take into account the full range of potential benefits and costs of each option, including measuring them over time. It also evaluates the ‘base case’ scenario, where we maintain our business as usual delivery of programs across the area.

    The framework is focused on the social welfare of local communities and can assist in guarding against bad decisions.

    The distribution analysis examines the same options to identify the distribution of costs, benefits and implications for different parties involved, including the NSW Government, Council, property owners, the local community, visitors and businesses.

    This work will provide an understanding of the financial implications if or when the examined options are required.

    On completion of these two processes, the draft Local Adaptation plans for Pelican and Blacksmiths and Swansea and Surrounds will be developed. The draft plans are expected to be submitted to Council for review and placed on public exhibition later this year.

  • Introducing the Swansea CBD Tidal Gates Pilot

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    13 Jan 2020
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    We are excited to announce that we have been awarded a grant in 2019 which is proudly funded by the NSW Government as part of their Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grants for the trial of tidal gates at Swansea. The key objective of the tidal gate pilot is to protect Swansea Central Business District (CBD) from increasingly frequent tidal inundation from rising sea levels, as well as increasing storm surges resulting from climate change.

    Swansea CBD has experienced nuisance flooding due to seasonal king tides and storm surge for a number of years.

    The tidal gates pilot was identified as something that could be done now to have immediate benefit to the local community by providing a short-term solution to prevent nuisance tidal inundation in Swansea CBD.

    Key milestones for the project include:

    • Identifying suitable sites to install the gates,
    • Undertaking 2D Stormwater modelling and an in-house analysis of the viability of installing tidal gates at various locations within the CBD,
    • Developing a consultants brief for the detailed design and installation of the gates,
    • Developing a community and stakeholder communications and engagement plan to inform and help spread lessons learnt from the project.

    With the continued support of the NSW Government and you all, we are eager to continue to the progress of the Swansea Tidal Gate Pilot. If you would like further information on the Pilot Project, contact the project team on 02 4921 0333.


    Tidal inundation on Bowman Street in January 2018.

    Image: Tidal inundation on Bowman Street in January 2018.



    This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government and supported by Local Government NSW.








  • Thanks to the community for a successful 2019!

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    by kmarples, 18 Dec 2019
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    We’ve had a massive year in Local Adaptation Planning and we are very proud to collaborate with our volunteer working groups and the local communities to plan for future flood risks and build resilience in our City.

    It was only August last year, when the residents and businesses in Swansea, Caves Beach and the surrounding areas embarked on local adaptation planning. In 16 months, local residents and the joint Council and Community Volunteer Working Group have identified local flooding and inundation risks, considered options for mitigation and shortlisted options for our unique landscape, so Swansea can continue to thrive.

    One of the greatest successes this year was the community options workshop, which was attended by more than 100 people.

    Our Pelican and Blacksmiths Community LAP Working Group has been very supportive of the Adapting Swansea project and the groups have now joined together with Council to oversee a more detailed options feasibility assessment and cost benefit analysis of the shortlisted options.

    We would like to thank our Community LAP Working Group volunteers and local residents for all of their contributions this year and acknowledge the shared commitment to working together to build a stronger future for these areas.

    The Detailed options feasibility and cost-benefit process will complete the third stage of both projects and inform the development of the local adaptation plans. It’s expected that the two draft plans (LAPs) will be exhibited and considered for adoption by Council in 2020.

    We also wanted to congratulate the winners of our options assessment and feedback competition associated with our Swansea community workshop in August. Paul Kelly won the $75 Event Cinemas prize and Kathleen Luschwitz won the online feedback $30 prize, well done! Thank you to everyone who contributed.

    If you would like ask the Council and Community LAP Working Groups a question or would like any further information, visit Swansea or Pelican/Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Planning sites on Shape Lake Mac or call Council on 49210333.

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year.


    Kind regards,

    The Project Team


  • Local Adaptation Planning hits key milestone for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds

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    by kmarples, 02 Dec 2019

    The two local adaptation planning projects underway for Pelican Blacksmiths and Swansea surrounds have now progressed to a feasibility assessment and state-government required cost benefit analysis.

    In the first stage of the project, the Pelican Blacksmiths and Swansea surrounds communities identified hazards and risks relating to sea level rise and its impacts to local flooding and inundation in their local area.

    Both communities have achieved the second stage milestone by identifying a list of potential options to mitigate these hazards and risks, which were reviewed by the community working groups and presented at community workshops:

    Now, Council has engaged Umwelt Environmental and Social Consultants to undertake a detailed feasibility assessment of the options and prepare a cost benefit analysis with Department of Planning Industry and Environment in the coming months.

    The feasibility assessment will ensure that the options considered by Council and the community are technically feasible and comply with planning and regulatory requirements specified in the NSW Coastal Management Framework. The Coastal Management Act 2016 establishes management objectives to each of four coastal management areas that apply across Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea. These include:

    • Coastal wetlands and littoral rainforest areas
    • Coastal vulnerability areas
    • Coastal environment areas
    • Coastal use areas

    The feasibility and cost-benefit process will complete the third stage of the project and inform the development of the local adaptation plans. It’s expected that the two plans will be considered for adoption by Council in 2020.

    The joint Council and community working groups preparing the Local Adaptation Plans will continue to engage with the wider community and share progress and findings of these important assessments.

    Note: our local adaptation plans need to demonstrate compliance with the Coastal Management (CM) Act, which focuses on the ecologically sustainable development of our coastal areas that:

    • protects and enhances sensitive coastal environments, habitats and natural processes
    • strategically manages risks from coastal hazards
    • maintains and enhances public access to scenic areas, beaches and foreshores
    • supports the objectives for our marine environments under the Marine Estate Management Act 2014
    • protects and enhances the unique character, cultural and built heritage of our coastal areas, including Aboriginal cultural heritage.
    If you would like further information about the Adapting Swansea Project, contact the project team on 02 4921 0333 or email AdaptingSwansea@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.

  • Community group dives deep on flooding

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    by kmarples, 23 Sep 2019
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    The Community Working Group met with Newcastle Weekly in late July to discuss the community workshop on August 6.

    Featured on page four on the 1 August 2019 edition, the group shared great insight into the flooding issues facing Swansea and surrounds and how these affect the community.



  • Now released: video of Dr Dennys Angove’s presentation ‘Understanding Climate Change’

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    by kmarples, 29 May 2019
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    Last year, Council invited Dr Angove to give a Let's Talk presentation on 'Understanding Climate Change' to our community. Listen to the presentation and follow along with the slides to understand how the changing climate is affecting our planet and raising sea levels.

    Please note the sound quality improves after 90 seconds.

    Topics covered include: the atmosphere, the natural greenhouse effect, global warming, trends in greenhouse gas concentrations and the enhancement of the greenhouse effect by anthropogenic emissions.

    Dr Angove is an atmospheric chemist and in August 2014, he retired as a Principal Research Scientist from the CSIRO Energy Flagship where he studied the effect of fossil fuel emissions on the formation of smog and ozone in urban atmospheres.


  • Let’s Talk sessions cover flooding, natural disasters in Lake Mac

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    by kmarples, 24 Apr 2019
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    Expert talks held in Lake Macquarie next month will help shed light on flooding and tidal inundation risks in Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea, and how residents can prepare for natural disasters.