Implementing Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan

Lake Macquarie City Council is now working to implement the adopted Local Adaption Plan for Marks Point and Belmont South. The plan will allow people to live and build in these areas, as sea and lake levels continue to rise.

We are working alongside local residents, community and stakeholders to implement the local plan. Council recently passed changes to development controls, including building heights, filling and adaptable housing.

About the Plan

Constructing sloping sea walls to protect the foreshore, raising and improving the design of infrastructure such as drains and roads, constructing new buildings with floor levels above projected flood levels and raising homes if required form the main actions in the plan.

The plan also recognises that retreat is not warranted in Marks Point and Belmont South and the adaptive approach outlined in the plan means that we plan for the worst and only act when necessary.

While the actions proposed in the plan will be spread over many years, up to the end of the Century, a more detailed 10-year action plan sets out specific tasks to apply new design standards to new buildings and infrastructure, review planning and development controls, and coordinate land filling with the raising of drains and roads.

Lake Macquarie City Council is now working to implement the adopted Local Adaption Plan for Marks Point and Belmont South. The plan will allow people to live and build in these areas, as sea and lake levels continue to rise.

We are working alongside local residents, community and stakeholders to implement the local plan. Council recently passed changes to development controls, including building heights, filling and adaptable housing.

About the Plan

Constructing sloping sea walls to protect the foreshore, raising and improving the design of infrastructure such as drains and roads, constructing new buildings with floor levels above projected flood levels and raising homes if required form the main actions in the plan.

The plan also recognises that retreat is not warranted in Marks Point and Belmont South and the adaptive approach outlined in the plan means that we plan for the worst and only act when necessary.

While the actions proposed in the plan will be spread over many years, up to the end of the Century, a more detailed 10-year action plan sets out specific tasks to apply new design standards to new buildings and infrastructure, review planning and development controls, and coordinate land filling with the raising of drains and roads.

Do you have a question for the project team about the Council's Foreshore Management Plan or Planning for Future Flood Risks?

Simply enter your question here and we'll come back to you.

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  • With reference to Newsletter 4 and the sea level graph on page 2 and the answer to Bob Towers question. This plot does not make any sense, as I read it Scenario 2 is a projection of the current rate of sea level rise, Scenario 1 is a computer model forecast of the extreme case. It doesn't matter what you label the y axis the common starting point should be the last point of hard data. A scenario that forecasts a sea level higher in 2014 than it actually was, is plainly silly. Actual data trumps computer forecasting every time. Without looking at the data behind this 'cartoon' that would suggest that either scenario 1 would have to be a much steeper gradient to achieve 0.9m of rise by 2100 or else the 0.9m won't be reached until significantly after 2100. More importantly it would have a significant affect on the 2050 projections, which are really the most important for home owners. An accurate presentation of the data is important.

    GrahameLindsay asked almost 5 years ago

    Thank you for your question Graeme. While we did work with our Community Working Group on the newsletter and on this graph, you are correct when you point out that the graph does not show the measured data and projected trends accurately. It is designed to illustrate clearly the concept of “triggers for action” being linked to actual lake levels, whatever the
    projections. To do this the lines have been drawn as clearly separated. In fact the lines of measured-rise and modelled-rise have coincided closely over the last 20 years – at about 3mm a year - and are projected to remain fairly close for the next 20 years or so. After that, the level is projected to accelerate,
    particularly in the second half of the Century, if carbon emissions continue a high levels – showing a much steeper gradient, as you say.

  • In Newsletter 4 the graph on the last page shows 2 scenarios. Both scenarios are shown commencing in 1990. It would be informative to have the current water level marked on this graph.

    Bob Towers asked almost 5 years ago

    The graph in the Newsletter shows the projected increase in lake levels since 1990, and the legend on the y-axis should read “Increase in lake level (metres)”, which is measured from a
    “0” point in 1990, as shown. Our apologies for this error.

    The average water level in the lake in 1990 was about 0.1 metres AHD, so the projected water levels in the lake are 0.5 metres AHD by about 2050, and 1.0 metre AHD by about 2100. The lines shown on the graph are a projection between these three points in time.




  • How do you raise other topics on this website? I can't find any links to start a new topic

    anonymous asked about 6 years ago
    Thanks for your question. Our online discussion board is moderated and at this point in time has two generic topics - 'what are some ideas/options for managing the flood risk?' and 'what would a successful plan look like? Other ways to start a conversation is through this 'Ask us a question' function as these topics and questions are published on the website. Please reply with the topic you'd like to discuss or receive more information on. We appreciate your involvement. Many thanks, Kate
  • Does council remove mangroves from drain pipes that are blocked and causing run off problems if not why

    Future flood risks asked over 5 years ago

    Thank you for your question. Council assesses all requests to clear out drains on a case by case basis so you can call 4921 0333 with details about a specific drain and a service request can be lodged. Generall.y mangroves grow between the high and low tide line, where drainage is
    controlled by the level of the lake not the fall of the land. However, they can colonise further along drainage lines which can impede flows. Clearing mangroves for any reason requires a permit from the State Government Fisheries Department to preserve and protect threatened tidal wetland ecosystems. A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) may also be required by Council. Council is working with NSW Fisheries to make this process easier to help improve drainage services throughout the City.




  • Why is this website just concentrating on Marks Point and Swansea? We live in Marmong Point and our insurance premiums have increased from $1600 to $5000 with the NRMA so we insured with CGU last year at a cost of $1922 and it is this year $4000. We are now shopping around and some insurers will not touch us as a result of Councils flood policy. This is becoming ridiculous and extremely stressful not to mention expensive. Will council please look at their flood policy?

    Colin and Lesley Evans asked over 5 years ago

    Thank you for your questions. Flood premiums from some insurers have gone up in the last few years, but it is not because of Lake Macquarie’s flood study. In fact, there have been similar premium increases in all coastal areas - Wyong and Gosford, for example - as well as inland areas affected by flooding. Flood insurance only became widely available in Australia in 2009.

    The increase in premiums in the last few years is largely due to the claims generated by natural disasters such as the Queensland floods, the Victorian floods and fires, and Cyclone Yasi. Theeffect of international disasters such as Katrina and the Japanese tsunami have also had an impact on the cost of reinsurance.

    Insurers obtain flood data from a variety of sources – historical flood measurements, State and Local Government studies, and their
    own studies. Council flood data is publicly available - you can view the information on Council’s web-site. The Commonwealth Government has established a national flood information database, to make flood data even more widely available. Insurance companies use this data to make their own assessment of risk – different companies will assess the risk in different ways. Council does not control what flood data insurers choose to use, or how they use it. Insurers do not use information from property certificates to calculate risk or set premiums.

    Insurers only use information on current flooding, not future projections. They do not insure against damage from sea or lake level rise, so it is not included in the premium. While flooding is projected to get worse as lake levels rise, and the risk to property may increase, this change will occur gradually over the Century. Your flood insurance only covers you for the next 12 months, so the level of the lake in 20 or 50 years is of no immediate interest to insurers and has no effect on your premium.

    Council has been advised by the Insurance Council of Australia that people should shop around if they are dissatisfied with the cost or coverage of their flood insurance. There are many options available, at a wide range of prices.


    The Local Adaptation Plan being prepared for Marks Point and Belmont South is designed to manage the gradually increasing risk from flooding and inundation over the next 100 years. Similar plans will be developed for other lakeside suburbs over the next few years. However, Council has already included some standard measures for new developments in all lakeside areas to make them safer over their lifetime, by increasing the floor height, for example. This should ensure owners can continue to insure their new homes at an affordable price.




  • Council has stated that the nearest fully calibrated sea level recording station is at Port Kembla. Fort Denison and Newcastle are now fitted with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS). The data rom these stations is used worldwide by different respected scientific organisations including the IPCC. The seaframe station at Port Kembla has only been operational since 1992. This is far too short a record. You quote a running average level and yet fail to mention that this data set has declined from 7.5mm/yr sea level rise in 2000 to the figure that council uses of 3.5mm per year. Obviously the short recording period is still subject to the normal fluctuations that can be expected of sea levels. The record from Port Kembla on it's own as you use it, is meaningless. A far longer period is needed. Why is Lake Macquarie Council so opposed to using long term relative sea level records from Newcastle and Fort Denison when they are fully calibrated and are used worldwide?

    Pat Aiken asked almost 6 years ago


    Thank you for your well-researched inquiry. Lake Macquarie Council monitors information from tide gauges in Lake Macquarie (Swansea, Belmont and Marmong Point) to help us understand what is happening with levels inside the lake. However, the analysis of this information is done by experts at the National Tidal Centre in
    Canberra and the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory in Sydney, as this is a specialist area and requires the knowledge and experience of scientist who work in this field of study. As the Lake Macquarie gauges are not fully calibrated against land levels, for example, they only measure relative changes in lake levels. The Belmont gauge (the most consistent record) shows a relative rise of 2.6mm per annum from 1986 to 2012. The reasons for his rise may be due to factors such sea level rise, channel dredging, land sinking, or a combination of such factors.

    Council does not do independent analysis of the Newcastle or Fort Denison gauges, but the information from these gauges (and many others) is used widely in the many studies and analyses that go into the scientific advice on trends and projections in ocean levels provided to Government and Councils by expert bodies such as the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, National Tidal Centre, and the NSW Chief Scientist. Lake Macquarie Council is not “opposed” to using these records – in fact, they are incorporated in most of the advice we receive. The latest summary of sea level trends around the Australian coast based on tidal gauge and satellite measurements can be found in the Bureau of Meteorology’s 2014 biennial State of the Climate report .




    Council does not do independent
    analysis of the Newcastle or Fort Denison gauges, but the information from
    these gauges (and many others) is used widely in the many studies and analyses
    that go into the scientific advice on trends and projections in ocean levels
    provided to Government and Councils by expert bodies such as the CSIRO,
    Bureau of Meteorology, National Tidal Centre, and the NSW Chief Scientist. Lake
    Macquarie Council is not “opposed” to using these records – in fact, they are
    incorporated in one way or another in most of the advice we receive. The latest
    summary of sea level trends around the Australian coast based on tidal gauge
    and satellite measurements can be found in the Bureau of Meteorology’s
    2014 biennial State
    of the Climate report



  • Q1 Councils fact sheet on home insurance and property values makes two claims that I believe are incorrect. 1. "There is no insurance for storm surge". There is insurance for storm surge and this is provided by Westpac through St George and Westpac banks to bank customers. I also believe other insurers do offer this insurance. Customers include those who have a basic bank account and not just borrowers. This is a significant statement of error and does not assist people who want this type of insurance and certainly does not assist competition. 2. There are very few organisations or governments that continue to deny the impact of sea level rise projections on affected properties. It would be far more useful and of greater assistance for residents of Lake Macquarie if Council were to acknowledge this as a legitimate concern and then work with those residents towards a position where there is no longer a negative impact. That may come through adaptation planning but denial of reasonable concerns is a great destroyer of trust and goodwill when it is applied by a council against its own residents. Q2 Why does Council continue to "not" provide one clear map for the extent of the current 1% Flood for Lake Macquarie. There are so many maps, many are very useful but there is still not a discrete map for the most understood flood event that the vast majority of people understand is used by insurers and government alike as the benchmark to compare other flood events both above and below the 1% Flood.Lake Macquarie Council has produced almost every conceivable type of flood mapping but not one where its residents are able to actually identify this important benchmark flood extent without having to be able to differentiate between a range of different flood or inundation scenarios, each laid out in a different colour without any explanation of which is subsumed by another. This is a major flaw in Council's attempts to engage the community that is affected by these different scenarios and explain what they face.

    Pat Aiken asked almost 6 years ago

    Thank you for drawing our attention to the update required in our information sheet on home insurance and flooding. We can confirm that several insurance companies are now providing cover for oceanic storm surge. There are very few properties in Lake Macquarie that are affected by this hazard.

    Council does not deny that projected sea level rise will have impacts on some properties – the purpose of local adaptation planning is to identify these impacts and decide how best to manage them, so properties are protected and remain safe from future flooding. As confirmed recently by the Insurance Council of Australia, sea level rise projections have no impact on flood insurance premiums, which are based on the insurers’ assessment of current flood risk for the period of coverage – next year, not 2050 or 2100.

    Flood maps showing the 1:100 year flood envelope (shaded yellow) for Lake Macquarie are available in the Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Study (Figures B2-B9), although it is difficult to identify individual properties on these maps. More detailed maps are available for the Marks Point and Belmont South adaptation planning area. Council is up-grading its GIS mapping system, and expects detailed flood mapping, showing flood extents on individual lots, should be available on our
    web page in the near future. If anyone is unsure if their property is affected by flooding they should contact the Customer Service Centre on 4921 0333 or council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au



  • What are councils long term plans for areas that gradually become inundated? It would be pointless to keep raising floor levels if you can't access your property. Is the overall plan to maintain the wellbeing of these properties?

    Pat Aiken asked almost 6 years ago

    Thanks for your question Pat. The simple answer to your question is “yes, wherever possible”. Council is working with local communities to develop long term plans to manage the increased threat from future flooding and rising lake levels. This includes the best way to maintain residents’ access to and use of their land. Some simple measures such as protective foreshore berms, progressive filling, and raising the level of local roads can prevent land and roads from being inundated. However, coordinating these
    actions and ensuring local drainage is maintained requires good forward planning. Although properties and roads are not likely to be severely affected for several decades, local adaptation plans will give owners certainty about actions to protect their land, and Council can start setting-up new foreshore protection works, and revising design standards for new road and drainage works, for example.



  • Is there any future development for the creek that runs along the side of Myall Road Soccer Field. I live on the opposite side and the Council, have improved the area with rocks and extra plants. I noticed after the last lot of rain, that the creek edges are starting to wash away. I am not sure if any of the earth near my side fence is washing away as yet. Maybe doing the rocks all the way along would be better and build it up. The house I currently rent had about 1 metre of water through it when the Pasha Bulker weekend. Even to just clean the area and see what to improve it for the water flow would be better.

    anonymous asked about 6 years ago
    Hi there, Thanks for your enquiry about Myall Road Soccer Field. Our Planning for Future Flood Risks project is currently looking at the areas of Marks Point and Belmont South. Similar to our social media pages, our Have Your Say site is not used for logging and responding to service requests. I’ve forwarded your comment back to Council's Customer Service team for action. If your property is particularly badly affected by rain events, please contact Council on 4921 0333 and provide details of your problem so we can investigate and respond. Many thanks, Kate
  • Does Council have any plans to protect the natural habitat in Swan Bay for the Black Swans the bay was named after? I note the number of Black Swans has diminished with the increase in the number of boats moored in the Bay. Is this also of concern to Council?

    anonymous asked about 6 years ago
    Thanks for your interesting observation. Council would be very interested to receive any information you have collected showing changes in the swan population between seasons or over the years. The Hunter Bird Observers carry out monthly surveys of wader and waterbirds along Swansea Channel, including Swan Bay, and the results can be found on their website: http://www.hboc.org.au/index.cfm?menukey=6 Earlier this year, Council retained the "Natural Waterway" zoning for Lake Macquarie to protect its natural values, while still allowing responsible use of the lake for recreation. The Lake Macquarie Mooring Management Plan is due for review by the NSW Roads and Maritime Service, and there will be the opportunity for public comment and submissions before it is finalised. You can contact their Newcastle office on 13 77 88 for more information.
  • There are existing drainage issues leading to flooding at the southerly end of Marks Pde, Marks Point. Has Council any existing plans to rectify this?

    anonymous asked about 6 years ago
    Thanks for your question. Council has responded to 14 service requests for drainage or flooding issues in Marks Point so far in 2013. 70 per cent of these service requests have been resolved or closed. If there is a specific issue such as a blockage or a poorly located inlet it can be raised through a service request by contacting Council's Customer Service Centre or 4921 0333 or council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au. If you're able to provide a brief description of the problem and an address or detailed location that would be great. Photos can help too. In general, it is difficult to ensure good drainage in very flat, low-lying areas such as Marks Point or Swansea, as there is very little fall between the inlets and the outlet into the lake. This means the water flows slowly and the pipes are more prone to blockages from sediment and litter. In this current stage of the community engagement we are looking at different options to manage future flood risks in Marks Point and Belmont South. Many thanks, Kate
  • The terms of reference are unclear. Is this plan about flooding events from storms only, or does it include the official policy on predicted sea level rises caused by AGW? Please answer 'no' the latter.

    pgang asked about 6 years ago
    Thanks for your questions. The Adaptation Plan will assess current and future flooding risks, including consideration of projected sea level rise. Expert scientific advice from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, NSW Government agencies and others, predicts that sea levels will rise at a rate that will begin to affect coastal communities in coming decades. Lake Macquarie is a tidal lake and, therefore, water levels are expected to rise at the same rate and to the same level as the ocean. This advice is periodically updated, and the projections are carefully monitored by Council. The NSW Government requires councils to consider this advice when calculating ocean, lake, and flood levels for future coastal planning. Under NSW planning law, councils are responsible for managing local flood risks. In 2012, Council adopted the Lake Macquarie Flood Risk Management Study and Plan that identifies areas at risk of flooding and recommends development of specific adaptation plans to address flood risks. One of the recommendations of the Lake Macquarie Flood Risk Management Study and Plan was the preparation of local adaptation plans to identify specific options to manage flood risks to private and public assets. Thanks again for your involvement. Many thanks, Kate
  • When there is a solar spill it's just called a nice day! Any chance we could send a request back up the chain of command to humbly request a feasibility study on dredging an opening from sea to desert (ie. South Aus) to keep sea level tidy (once inland lake anyway and Lake Eyre is 49ftBSL 1990 mAHD) and inland lake might create more rainfall for rural farms too.. Suggest with other nations to balance climate indications etc....Would be interesting study while us little folk jig on the same spot of uncertainty of this global issue. Just saying...

    Line_out_window asked over 6 years ago
    Thanks for your suggestion. Glad to see you're looking at the global issue and thinking big! It's a bit out of our league as a local council I'm afraid, but keep the ideas coming. Kind regards, Kate
  • Are council going to compensate us for making us build our new home to the required heights We have a house in swansea that we want to knock down and rebuild BUT we will have to pay and extra $60,000 To do so at required height it's not fair banks are not willing to loan us that extra money

    anonymous asked over 6 years ago
    Thanks for your question. Council, in accordance with the guidance provided by the NSW Floodplain Development Manual, requires new dwellings to be constructed a minimum 500mm above the nominated 1% Flood level. This has been the case for more than 20 years. Floor levels in new developments are designed to keep people and dwellings safe and flood-free during the life of the development for all but the most serious floods. Council allows variations to floor levels to be considered on their merits, usually if it can be demonstrated that the building has been designed and constructed to be adaptable, e.g. more frequent flooding can be dealt with by raising the dwelling, use of flood barriers or building materials that are flood resilient. Lake Macquarie has the lowest floor level requirement for new foreshore dwellings of any of the seven local coastal councils from Great Lakes to Gosford. Kind regards, Kate
  • How is the Council is only looking at the Belmont and Marks Point, I now live in a house that 1 metre water through it, when the Pasha Bulk disaster weekend, and still nothing has been done to the creek to remedy this from happening again. Maybe look into other areas as well that are affected more by large rain falls.

    anonymous asked over 6 years ago
    Thanks for your question. Council is actively managing current flood risks in all lakeside areas and in major creek catchments such as Dora Creek, Winding Creek, and Cockle Creek. In the Pasha Bulker storm some creeks, particularly in the northern end of Lake Macquarie, experienced flash flooding estimated to be a 1-in-300 year event - that is, an extreme flood that happens only rarely. However, most lakeside areas only experienced moderate flooding - a 1-in-15 year event. If your property is particularly badly affected by flooding from local creeks or drains, please contact Council on 4921 0333 and provide details of your problem so we can investigate and respond. All new developments are designed to be above the 1-in-100 year flood level to help avoid the problems you experienced. Kind regards, Kate
  • If we're all going to be forced to work with uncertainty more than we want to, where are you up to on our local options in relation to the following Gold Coast adaption options discussed in this 2012 Journal Article? http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/485341/Cooper-and-Lemckert-Extreme-sea-level-rise-and-adaptation-options-for-coastal-resort-cities.pdf

    Line_out_window asked over 6 years ago
    Thanks for your question. The example of the Gold Coast is interesting. They have a big coastal erosion problem which, thankfully, is not such an issue on the Lake Macquarie coast or around the lake foreshore. But some of their issues, such as flooding and tidal inundation, are shared with Lake Macquarie. The study you mention shows that planning for adaptation is the best response for both residents and public authorities. Council has already completed studies to assess the risks from flooding, groundwater, foreshore erosion, wave run-up, and tidal inundation. Council is now working to assess the effects of these hazards on buildings and infrastructure such as public recreation land, roads, drains and sewers. This information will be used by the community and Council to develop local adaptation plans. Kind regards, Kate
  • I do not have a question about flood risk but I do want to ask about proposed improvements to the Cardiff Main Street which I have been led to believe was happening over 12 months ago.

    Unsure asked over 5 years ago

    Lake Macquarie Council is preparing for a major upgrade to the
    Cardiff CBD. The work will involve relocation of the current above ground
    electrical network to underground, new footpaths in the CBD area and new street
    furniture and public art. Designs have been completed and it is our intention
    for works to commence in late July/August this year. We hope that the works
    will improve the aesthetics of the Cardiff area and also aid accessibility,
    improve the maintainability and help promote the economy of the Cardiff
    community.