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)

    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, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. The document can be viewed here.

    Is sea level rise included on a Section 10.7 Certificate?

    A Section 10.7 Certificate (formerly 149) is a mandatory certificate you need to get when purchasing a property. It is a planning certificate under Section 10.7 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 10.7 planning certificates; 10.7 (2), 10.7 (2) Clause 3 Complying Development and 10.7 (2&5).

    Most properties in low-lying parts of the City have had a flood risk notation on the Section 10.7 Certificate since 1997 (or before).

    There has been no change in the number of properties with flood notations (which includes sea level rise) since 2012.

    In 2012, the specific reference to sea level rise on Section 10.7 certificates was removed, as this potential future risk was incorporated into the reference of 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 in Australia, such as the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. These organisations review scientific evidence about climate change including sea level projections.

    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 2021, 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.

    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.

Participating online

    How can I participate in the online consultations?

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    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.

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