Pelican and Blacksmiths: Planning for Future Flood and Coastal Risks

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Thank you for all of the tidal inundation survey responses received. We are now asking a follow-up survey to further explore community views on potential tidal inundation impacts occurring less than once a year. It asks about events happening over a greater period of time, such as once every 10, 20 or 50+ years and how the community would feel about that.

Take the follow-up survey now for your chance to WIN a $100 Event Cinemas Gold Class gift card. Hurry, the survey and competition close Monday 27 July. Terms and conditions apply.

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 survey responses received. We are now asking a follow-up survey to further explore community views on potential tidal inundation impacts occurring less than once a year. It asks about events happening over a greater period of time, such as once every 10, 20 or 50+ years and how the community would feel about that.

Take the follow-up survey now for your chance to WIN a $100 Event Cinemas Gold Class gift card. Hurry, the survey and competition close Monday 27 July. Terms and conditions apply.

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.


  • Survey gauges community tolerance of suburban flooding

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    3 months ago

    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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    3 months ago

    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.

  • Thanks to the community for a successful 2019!

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    8 months ago

    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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    8 months ago

    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 council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.

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

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    about 1 year ago

    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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    over 1 year ago

    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.

  • Let’s Talk: Understanding the Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea with Dr David Wainwright

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    over 1 year ago

    Join Dr David Wainwright for an evening to examine the findings of the Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea.

    Monday 13 May, 5.30-7pm

    The Swansea Centre, 228 Pacific Highway, Swansea

    Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment

    Council engaged Salients Pty Ltd to undertake a probabilistic hazard and damages assessment to examine the current and future combined flooding and tidal inundation risks (and damages) for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea. The study will form the basis of a cost benefit and distribution analysis to be undertaken over the coming months.

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

    No need to RSVP, light refreshments will be provided.

    Bio

    Dr David Wainwright has over 20 years’ experience including positions with state government, recent research positions in academia and many years working as a consultant in coastal and environmental engineering. A substantial proportion of that experience has related to projects on the NSW coast. David is presently a director of Salients Pty Ltd, a consulting firm which he established in 2015.

    David’s work typically covers coastal engineering design, coastal geomorphology and land use planning. David is also broadly familiar with key aspects of coastal ecology, local government management, property law and community consultation.

    His key areas of expertise include risk assessment methods for planning in the face of coastal and flooding hazards and sea level rise, engineering design, numerical modelling, and coastal lagoons. David’s PhD thesis investigated numerical modelling methods to inform management of the entrances to coastal lagoons.

    David has a keen interest and has been involved in the development and application of modern technologies such as remote mapping using drones and laser scanning, the application of innovative methods for more comprehensive coastal monitoring, and the ways in which these technologies can be used alongside numerical modelling.

    He has been a chartered engineer with Engineers Australia since 2001, with membership in the Civil and Environmental Colleges. David provides regular services to that organisation in interviewing individuals applying for chartered membership and acting as a judge for its biannual Engineering Excellence Awards.

    David is presently a conjoint lecturer with the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle and an Adjunct Research Fellow with the coastal engineering research group at the University of Queensland.

    Join us the week prior, Tuesday 7 May, for the first Let’s Talk session: Community evacuation plans and safety during natural disasters with the SES

  • Let’s Talk: Community evacuation plans and safety during natural disasters with the SES

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    over 1 year ago

    Join local SES and Council representatives for an evening to review community evacuation plans and how to prepare for natural disasters.

    Tuesday 7 May, 5.30-7pm

    The Swansea Centre, 228 Pacific Highway, Swansea

    The presentation will include information about forming effective community evacuation plans, proactive safety actions during natural disasters and the process to develop a Community Action Team for Swansea and surrounding areas with presentations from SES and Council. Each forum will provide a Q&A session with the presenters.

    The forum will focus on:

    · Hazards affecting our local community – storms, floods, tsunamis, access during evacuation;

    · Personal safety and asset protection measures at home or work;

    · Home evacuation plans, safety tips and kits - when and who to call;

    · Businesses – evacuation plans and business continuity plans;

    · What to do and where to go during an evacuation event; and

    · Community Action Team (CAT)

    · Q&A with the audience

    No need to RSVP, light refreshments will be provided.

    Join us on Monday 13 May, for the next Let’s Talk session: Understanding the Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea with Dr David Wainwright


  • Follow Blacksmiths Beach on CoastSnap

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    over 1 year ago

    Crowdsourcing concept to track Blacksmiths shifting sands

    An innovative new concept is set to harness the power of crowdsourcing to track the ever-changing shoreline of Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie.

    Known as CoastSnap, the initiative is based on a simple premise: install a mobile phone cradle at a key point along the Swansea Channel break wall where people can place their phones and take a scenic photo of the sweeping coastline to the north.

    Photos can then be uploaded to the CoastSnap database via email or social media, where they are compiled to gradually create a time-lapse movie. The first output video can be viewed HERE.

    Lake Macquarie City Council Environmental Systems Manager Brad Sutton said that over time, the images would reveal how the shoreline changed at Blacksmiths Beach, and how that change was affected by the movement of sand.

    “Because the photos are all taken from exactly the same spot, we can get quite a precise measurement of the width of the beach, the shoreline and how it moves,” Mr Sutton said.

    “The shape, location and nature of Blacksmiths Beach make it susceptible to shifting sands and shoreline changes. CoastSnap will help us better understand these processes and contributing factors.”

    Researchers from the University of NSW and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will review the data to record short and long-term beach erosion and recovery.

    A pilot project has already proven successful at Manly and Narrabeen Beaches in Sydney.

    Mr Sutton urged people visiting the break wall to make use of the CoastSnap cradle and contribute to the project.

    “It’s simple, quick and fun, and there is a step by step guide next to the cradle explaining exactly what to do,” Mr Sutton said.

    View the CoastSnap community beach monitoring program on Facebook or State Government website.



  • King tides are coming at Christmas

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    over 1 year ago

    Seasonal king tides are expected in the days leading up to Christmas, peaking on Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December at 10.15am in Swansea Channel. If you’re out and about, snap a photo and share it with Council on our Facebook page or email adaptingswansea@lakemac.nsw.gov.au. The tide is best seen along Swansea Channel, east of the Swansea Bridge and areas adjoining Black Neds Bay.

    January king tides are predicted in the days leading up to Tuesday 22 January 2019, peaking in Swansea Channel at around 10.00am.

    The Bureau of Meteorology website details the 2018 and 2019 tide charts for Swansea and other measuring stations.

    Want to know more? The Lake Macquarie coastline and Swansea Channel typically experiences annual king tides during December and January and again in June and July. A king tide is a naturally occurring extreme tidal event and a good preview for what sea level rise may look like in the future.

    View the new tides and tidal inundation fact sheet for planning for future flood risks for more information on tides, inundation and king tides.

    Tips for our community during a king tide:

    • Avoid driving through areas that are experiencing tidal inundation and stay out of the water. Remember, salt water can cause corrosion;
    • Continue to monitor tidal events in your local area; and
    • Get involved in adaptation planning with Lake Macquarie City Council. We currently have adaptation plans underway for Swansea, Pelican and Blacksmiths, and Marks Point and Belmont South.

    For further information on king tides, visit the Witness King Tides project by Green Cross Australia at witnesskingtides.org or contact the Local Adaption Planning team on 02 4921 0333. Please note Council will be closed from 12pm Monday 24 December 2018 until Wednesday 2 January 2019.

    Please visit Council online at lakemac.com.au/city/emergencies or NSW State Emergency Service at ses.nsw.gov.au for information on safety during flood and tidal inundation events.