What happens at a community forum?

A community forum is an opportunity for members of the community to hear a presentation from an expert or specialist about a topic relating to a Council or community project. It also allows for audience questions and discussions with the presenters.

Do I need to RSVP for the Let's Talk community forums in May?

No, there is no RSVP required. Simply come along on the night.

When are the Let's Talk community forums being held?

Community evacuation plans and safety during natural disasters with the SES

Date: Tuesday 7 May

Time: 5.30-7pm

Place: The Swansea Centre

Understanding the Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea with Dr David Wainwright

Date: Monday 13 May

Time: 5.30-7pm

Place: The Swansea Centre

What is the 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.  The draft Salients Probabilistic Hazard and Damages Assessment (PHA) report is expected in April. A community event will be held in May to present and discuss the findings of the PHA.

What topics will the Let's Talk community forum with the SES cover?

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

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;

·   Community Action Team (CAT)

·  Q&A with the audience

Adaptation Planning

What is a Local Adaptation Plan?

Local Adaptation Plans are location-specific plans developed with the community that guide:

  • future land use decisions
  • how we design and maintain roads and drainage systems
  • what is required to make buildings safe and durable
  • emergency response during floods and storm events
  • how we manage erosion and beach recession, and
  • how we keep the Lake clean and healthy.

The first Local Adaptation Plan was prepared in collaboration with the communities of Marks Point and Belmont South and ?can be viewed here (opens new tab). Comments and ideas collected through this online mapping tool you are viewing will inform the preparation of a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths.


What is local adaptation planning and why is the City doing it?

Adaptation planning identifies actions that Council, in conjunction with our community, can take to respond to a change in climate and prepare for projected increases in lake levels and lake flooding over a long period of time.

These actions are designed to reduce these impacts and ensure our City is resilient and continues to prosper. Adaptation planning is about understanding what options are available and deciding which ones are best at a local level for our City.

Adaptation plans will guide future decisions, such as how we design and maintain roads and drainage systems, how to make buildings safe and durable, and how we manage erosion and maintain a healthy lake.

Adaptation Planning

  • Acknowledges that risks are location specific and are best addressed at the local level.
  • Recognises that being prepared requires input from landowners, business owners, residents, special interest groups and organisations, Council, and state government agencies.
  • Is timed so the actions are implemented to accommodate increases in risk, as they are required.
  • Identifies the criteria for a successful outcome (economic, social, environmental)
  • Provides a level of certainty for decision-making by the public, Council and others, yet is flexible  enough to change with changing information


What is the Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Risk Management Study and Plan?

Lake Macquarie is a tidal lake in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, providing commercial and recreational use, as well as having high scenic value. The Lake has a permanently open outlet into the Pacific Ocean via the narrow and shallow Swansea channel. It is one of the largest coastal lakes in eastern Australia with a foreshore over 174km in length.

The Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Risk Management Study and Plan, adopted by Council in June 2012, identifies properties near the Lake that are currently flood affected during a large flood event, and the additional properties that would be affected by flooding if permanent Lake levels rise 0.9 metres in the future. Approximately 7,500 homes may be affected in a serious flood when lake levels rise by 0.9 metres. Scientific advice indicates such a rise is likely within the next 80-100 years.

Many low-lying properties already experience poor drainage, periodic flooding and occasional inundation during high tides, and these hazards would increase with gradually rising lake levels. The Lake Flood Risk Management Plan recommends Local Adaptation Plans be prepared for these low-lying areas. 


What is the Coastal Zone Management Plan?

Council’s Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) 2015-2023 has been prepared in accordance with State Government legislation. The CZMP aims to preserve and enhance the environmental value of the coastline, estuary and channel amid increased visitation and pressure from urban development across the City. The CZMP has been prepared in collaboration with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, as well as other agency and community stakeholders.

Most actions are for Council to implement, but long term environmental health and community wellbeing and enjoyment also require contributions from State agencies, particularly NSW Trade and Investment (Crown Lands Division), businesses and the community. The southern part of the Lake Macquarie catchment is located in Wyong Shire, so a healthy lake also depends on the actions of Wyong Shire Council.

The CZMP will inform the preparation of the Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths. The document can be viewed here.

Section 149 Certifications and sea level rise

A Section 149 Certificate is a mandatory certificate you need to get when purchasing a property. It is a planning certificate under Section 149 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. 

Planning certificates give information on the development potential of a parcel of land including the planning restrictions that apply to the land on the date the certificate is issued.  There are three types of 149 Planning Certificates; 149 (2), 149 (2) Clause 3 Complying Development and 149 (2&5).

Most properties in low-lying parts of the City have had a flood risk notation on the Section 149 certificate since 1997 (or before).

There has been no change in the number of properties with flood notations (which includes sea level rise) in the last five years (since 2009). 

In 2012 the specific reference to sea level rise on Section 149 certificates was removed, as this potential future risk was incorporated into the reference to hazard from flooding

Why has Council adopted sea level rise benchmarks of 0.4 metres by 2050 and 0.9 metres by 2100?

The NSW Government requires that, in determining appropriate sea level rise benchmarks, councils in NSW should consider information on historical and projected future sea level rise that is widely accepted by competent scientific opinion. Council receives its advice on projected sea level rise from pre-eminent scientific sources inAustraliasuch as the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. These organisations produce and analyse scientific evidence about sea level.

The current rate of sea level rise off the coast of NSW is about 2.6 millimetres per year. The best available evidence is that mean sea level is expected to rise by 0.4 metres by 2050 and 0.9 metres by 2100. This means that sea level is expected to rise quicker in the future than it does now. Australian scientific bodies regularly review measured and projected rates of sea level rise, and they all advise that lower levels of sea level rise are highly unlikely. The next global review of measurements and projections is scheduled in 2014, and this will lead to a review of the Australian information.


What is freeboard and why is it added to flood planning levels?

'Freeboard' is a margin of safety applied on top of estimated flood levels to allow for factors such as wind waves, flood debris, the local effects of adjoining structures, changes in rainfall due to climate change, local topography, channel blockages, and filling on the flood plain.

The standard allowance for freeboard is 0.50 metres. The NSW Flood Risk Management Guide says that allowance for projected sea level rise should be calculated separately and should not be included in freeboard. Floor levels for new buildings in flood prone areas are typically set at 0.50 metres above the 1:100 year flood level.


Should we have two policies – current flooding and future sea level rise?

The Lake Macquarie Waterway Flood Risk Management Study and Plan considers both current flooding, and future flooding incorporating projected future rises in lake level. 

The flood level that is used for planning depends on the circumstances. For example, current flood levels are used by insurance companies when they calculate their risks for next year’s insurance. A flood level over 50 years is used when calculating floor levels for a new home. A flood level over 100 years is used when calculating land levels in a major new subdivision.


Participating online

How can I participate in the online consultations?

If you have not previously participated simply click on the "Register" button at the top right hand of the page, when prompted create a SCREENNAME (Note: your comments will appear under your screenname and you can comment anonymously through a screenname of your choice) create a PASSWORD of your choice provide a valid email address, your age, gender and the location in which you live.

If you have previously partcipated simply click on the "Sign In" function located on the right hand side of the top tool bar.

To participate in other parts of the project, such as attending an information session or workshop please see the 'key events' page of the website


Is my privacy protected when participating online?

Yes! Your privacy is absolutely protected and Council and will only use your email to contact you with updates and to invite you to participate in consultations.

Your email address and any other information provided by you will not be distributed to any third party or used for any other purpose. We do not ask for your personal details or require them at any time as part of your participation. You may like to review our privacy statement.