Pelican and Blacksmiths: Planning for Future Flood and Coastal Risks

Planning for the future

Over the last year, the community has continued to come together with the help of local volunteers to tackle future flood and coastal risks in Pelican and Blacksmiths. Together we have brainstormed and assessed options, and put forward the best for further investigation and a cost benefit analysis with Department of Planning Industry and Environment.

In 2020, with the report on the feasibility of options and the results of the cost benefit analysis, Council and the Community Working Group will develop a draft Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths. Once prepared, the community will be asked to share their feedback to get it right for our community.

The Project

Living by the coast and lake is a great lifestyle, and it is important that we manage this dynamic environment where sea and lake levels are gradually rising. Decisions we make now can have lasting impacts. New roads, drains and homes built today will still be around in fifty to one hundred years, so we have to plan for the future now.

Sea levels are rising gradually at a rate of around 2.6mm per year in the lake and off the coast of NSW. Based on the best available information it is expected that mean sea level will rise 0.4 metres above 1990 levels by 2050 and 0.9 metres by 2100. This means the rate of sea level rise is expected to accelerate, but it also allows us to have time to plan and prepare now.

Lake Macquarie City Council continues to meet with residents to listen and talk about opportunities for the community to help plan for the future of the area.

Planning for the future

Over the last year, the community has continued to come together with the help of local volunteers to tackle future flood and coastal risks in Pelican and Blacksmiths. Together we have brainstormed and assessed options, and put forward the best for further investigation and a cost benefit analysis with Department of Planning Industry and Environment.

In 2020, with the report on the feasibility of options and the results of the cost benefit analysis, Council and the Community Working Group will develop a draft Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths. Once prepared, the community will be asked to share their feedback to get it right for our community.

The Project

Living by the coast and lake is a great lifestyle, and it is important that we manage this dynamic environment where sea and lake levels are gradually rising. Decisions we make now can have lasting impacts. New roads, drains and homes built today will still be around in fifty to one hundred years, so we have to plan for the future now.

Sea levels are rising gradually at a rate of around 2.6mm per year in the lake and off the coast of NSW. Based on the best available information it is expected that mean sea level will rise 0.4 metres above 1990 levels by 2050 and 0.9 metres by 2100. This means the rate of sea level rise is expected to accelerate, but it also allows us to have time to plan and prepare now.

Lake Macquarie City Council continues to meet with residents to listen and talk about opportunities for the community to help plan for the future of the area.

  • Thanks to the community for a successful 2019!

    2 months ago
    Canva image swansea pelican blacksmiths wrap up 2

    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...

    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

    3 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:

    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’

    9 months ago
    Dr dennys sunset

    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...

    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

    10 months ago
    April 2015 storm 1

    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.

    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

    11 months ago
    Dr david on bg

    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...

    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

    11 months ago
    Let's talk graphic

    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...

    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

    11 months ago
    Coastsnap image

    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...

    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

    about 1 year ago
    D08674181  bowman street swansea intersection with plains gully creek and black ned s bay 10.30am 3 january 2018

    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 ...

    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.


  • Leading scientist to unravel climate change mysteries

    over 1 year ago
    Swansea foreshore mr

    A former CSIRO Principal Research Scientist will share his expertise on climate change and its links to sea level rises to help raise awareness of the issue in Lake Macquarie.

    Dr Dennys Angove, now a lecturer in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Technology Sydney, will present Understanding the Science of Climate Change, on Wednesday 10 October, aiming to present a complex environmental issue in an interesting and relevant way for Lake Macquarie residents.


    A former CSIRO Principal Research Scientist will share his expertise on climate change and its links to sea level rises to help raise awareness of the issue in Lake Macquarie.

    Dr Dennys Angove, now a lecturer in atmospheric chemistry at the University of Technology Sydney, will present Understanding the Science of Climate Change, on Wednesday 10 October, aiming to present a complex environmental issue in an interesting and relevant way for Lake Macquarie residents.


  • Community Group working tirelessly to progress the Pelican Blacksmiths Local adaptation plan to final stage.

    over 1 year ago
    Working group snip

    Late in 2016, a small group of dedicated residents joined with Council to start developing the Pelican Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Plan. Since that time, the Pelican Blacksmiths Community Working Group has met more than 30 times and spent countless hours helping their community to develop a plan for potential future sea and lake level rise.

    The Plan has been designed to address current and future inundation of land and protect assets from sea level rise, higher tides, beach erosion and higher flood levels. Local adaptation plans are created specifically for the local area. It’s not a one size fits all...

    Late in 2016, a small group of dedicated residents joined with Council to start developing the Pelican Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Plan. Since that time, the Pelican Blacksmiths Community Working Group has met more than 30 times and spent countless hours helping their community to develop a plan for potential future sea and lake level rise.

    The Plan has been designed to address current and future inundation of land and protect assets from sea level rise, higher tides, beach erosion and higher flood levels. Local adaptation plans are created specifically for the local area. It’s not a one size fits all approach and although we learn from previous experience and domestic and international examples, the plan must be custom built to address the unique environmental landscape of the local area. This could not have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of the Community Working Group.

    Together, with input from the local community, the Group identified hazards in their local area that needed to be addressed in the plan, including ongoing sea level rise, higher flood levels, higher ocean tides, landward movement of the sand dunes, dune over-topping from wave run-up and storm surge and channel evolution (movement of the channel landward).

    The agreed Plan objective was to adapt Pelican and Blacksmiths to the expected effects of sea level rise, in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, so that the community, economy and environment become more resilient.

    One of the key successes of the Group was the development of measuring criteria to assess the adaptation options that are feasible and best meet the needs of the community, they include:

    • Does the adaptation option agree with our objective?

    • Will it work technically (does it manage the hazard in line with our objective)?

    • How easy is it to adapt over time? How might it affect other options?

    • Will it harm the environment and are impacts manageable?

    • Does it maintain community well-being (health, safety, financial, business and leisure)?

    • Will costs outweigh benefits?

    • Do we need additional info or advice from experts?

    • When is it needed / best time to implement?

    • Who is responsible? Who pays?

    After assessing the adaptation options from the community and further research, the Groupidentified a short-list of recommended adaptation options for unique precincts in the study and planning area. They proposed a timeframe or trigger for when it was best to implement the recommended adaptation options for each precinct.

    At a community workshop in April, Council and a number of the Group’s members presented these precincts to the wider community and key project stakeholders for feedback and further ideas. More than 20 community members attended to participate in this process and progress the plan.

    The Group has now completed a further review of the precincts, hazards and adaptation options, which are presented in the following documents:

    Precinct Planning Adaptation Concepts for Pelican Blacksmiths LAP – this booklet is a progress report on the Plan and explores the recommended precincts in more detail.

    Review of Precinct Planning Adaptation Concepts for Pelican Blacksmiths – this report examines the secondary and other available adaptation options for each precinct and provides assessment for each option.

    This work by the Group and Council will help inform the probabilistic hazard assessment for Pelican, Blacksmiths and Swansea that is currently being carried out by Salients Pty Ltd and the University of Queensland. Information on the probabilistic hazard assessment and the proposed cost benefit analysis will be available later this year.

    The Group has done an outstanding job in identifying and reviewing hazards; assessing options proposed by the community and developing the precinct concepts for use in the next stages of the planning process.

    Following the probabilistic hazard assessment and cost benefit assessment, the Group and Council will commence Phase D, in which the draft Local Adaptation Plan will be placed on public exhibition for public review then recommended to Council for adoption and implementation of the Plan.

    Please view the Group’s journey timeline.