Pelican and Blacksmiths: Planning for Future Flood and Coastal Risks

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Council adopted the Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea, Swansea Heads and Caves Beach on 25 October 2021. You can view the Council report here.

You can view the Local Adaptation Plan webpage for more information.

Local adaptation planning assists coastal communities that may be vulnerable to flooding and tidal inundation impacts as sea and lake levels rise. Pelican and Blacksmiths each have future flood and coastal risks unique to these areas.

Planning to adapt communities over time to mitigate future flood risks allows local residents and businesses to assess the risks early, tailor adaptation options to meet local needs and act when and where necessary. We are working together to keep our community safe now and in the future. Decisions we make can have lasting impacts. Many of the new roads, drains and homes built today will likely still be around in 50 to 100 years, so we need to plan for the future now.

This page has online resources that will keep you up to date with the development of this local adaption plan and we encourage you to provide your feedback or ask a question.

Council adopted the Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea, Swansea Heads and Caves Beach on 25 October 2021. You can view the Council report here.

You can view the Local Adaptation Plan webpage for more information.

Local adaptation planning assists coastal communities that may be vulnerable to flooding and tidal inundation impacts as sea and lake levels rise. Pelican and Blacksmiths each have future flood and coastal risks unique to these areas.

Planning to adapt communities over time to mitigate future flood risks allows local residents and businesses to assess the risks early, tailor adaptation options to meet local needs and act when and where necessary. We are working together to keep our community safe now and in the future. Decisions we make can have lasting impacts. Many of the new roads, drains and homes built today will likely still be around in 50 to 100 years, so we need to plan for the future now.

This page has online resources that will keep you up to date with the development of this local adaption plan and we encourage you to provide your feedback or ask a question.

  • Learn more about 2D stormwater modelling

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    Council is holding a seminar on 24 May between 10am-noon on the 2D stormwater modelling project that was undertaken by WMA Water for the suburbs of Pelican and Blacksmiths.

    We would like you to join us at Council's Administration Building to learn more about the following topics:

    - What is 2D modelling?

    - Lake flooding and catchment flooding explained

    - What were some of the local stormwater issues explored in this project?

    - What other ways can this tool be used, think Local Adaptation Planning

    - What can Council be doing to record more useful information during the next flood event?

    - Reality check; what are the limitations of this modelling approach?


    Join us this Thursday 24 May

    Time: 10am-noon

    Location: 126-138 Main Road, Speers Point, NSW

    Meeting Location: Committee Room (mezzanine floor)

    RSVP: pbrennan@lakemac.nsw.gov.au by Wednesday 23 May or call 4921 0333

    We are open to taking questions after the event – just send all enquiries to Peter Brennan at pbrennan@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or call 4921 0333.


  • Volunteer Community Planning Group discusses scope of the Local Adaptation Plan

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    Over the course of several meetings, the Volunteer Community Planning Group discussed how the hazards to be addressed by the Local Adaptation Plan may be experienced in Pelican and Blacksmiths as well as the geographic reach of these hazards.

    A draft scoping map (shown below) has been prepared to inform the preparation of the Local Adaptation Plan. This map may evolve over time as the group progresses.

    This high level map shows generally the areas relevant to the Local Adaptation Plan:

    • developed land (housing, roads, shops, etc.)
    • public recreational land, such as the Pelican foreshore
    • private recreational land, such as the former Pelican Bowling Club
    • land considered to be part of the beach and dunes system
    • other environmental land, such as bush, wetlands, hind dune vegetation near Awabakal Ave
    • the Swansea Channel, the northern Swansea Channel revetment (Blacksmiths "training wall" and breakwater), the "Shallows", sand islands and "dropover"
    • land covered by the Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan

    A key observation of the group was that many issues relevant to Pelican and Blacksmiths are also relevant to Swansea. However it was also recognised that preparing an adaptation for all three areas at the same time would be challenging given the highly collaborative planning process with the community. Lessons learned in preparing the Pelican and Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Plan are expected to be considered when preparing a plan for Swansea. Likewise, lessons from the now adopted Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan are being considered for the Pelican and Blacksmiths Plan.

    The group also observed that "Pelican and Blacksmiths exist within a complex interaction of marine and terrestrial processes that extend beyond the boundaries of the suburbs. This geographical area is also under the care and control of various levels of government as well as private landowners. The coastal zone as described in the Coastal Management Act 2016 includes coastal wetland and littoral rainforest area, coastal environment area, coastal use area and coastal vulnerability area."

    To help think through these layers of ownership and governance, the group acknowledged the need to consider "spheres of control and influence" to help determine the types of actions and responsibilities to include in the Plan. For example, certain decisions can be made by Council and private landowners. These are within our "sphere of control".

    However, we know that other stakeholders, such as State Government agencies and service providers, are responsible for a lot of public land, infrastructure such as the Pacific Highway, water and sewerage, telecommunications and certain foreshore and Channel protection structures, as well as works programs such as dredging the Channel for navigation and asset maintenance of the Swansea bridge, for example.

    The Local Adaptation Plan can include recommended actions for these stakeholders, but as these are ultimately outside our control, these fall within our "sphere of influence". In other words, landowners and Council can advocate what they see to be the best way forward. For the Plan to be successful, it needs to recognise that some actions within our control may rely on the decisions and actions of others that we can only influence.


      Click map to enlarge








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    • Volunteer Community Planning Group hears from Coastal Experts

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      In an effort to better understand the hazards a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths will address, the Volunteer Community Planning Group working with Council staff to prepare the Plan requested to hear from experts in coastal dynamics.

      A question and answer session was held in March 2017 with representatives from the NSW State Government agency, the Office of Environment and Heritage.

      Notes recorded during the discussion are now available online.



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    • Video - New flood modelling to help guide planning and adaptation

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      Flood modelling is one tool Council, the community and other stakeholders can use to plan for low-lying places subject to flooding, ineffective drainage and sea level rise over time.

      Flood modelling can be used to simulate the benefits and impacts of different flood mitigation and adaptation options on the community and the environment, such as filling land, raising the floor levels of houses and designing drains differently.

      In March 2017 community representatives from the former Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan working group and the current Pelican and Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Planning working group were invited to attend a presentation on flood modelling recently undertaken for Council.

      Council will use this modelling to help guide planning and local adaptation activities.

      A video of this presentation is now available online:



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    • Blacksmiths resident's dedication recognised

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      Pelican Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group volunteer, Frank Mieszala was recognised for his hard work and dedication to the Lake Macquarie community at the 2016 Shortland Volunteer Awards in December 2017.

      Frank was nominated for the Environment Volunteer Award for his extensive work on local drainage, flooding and sea level rise issues. Frank is a founding member of the Pelican Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group and makes a significant volunteer contribution to Council’s Local Adaptation Planning projects.

      Strategic Landuse Planner Tom Boyle presents Blacksmiths resident Frank Mieszala with his award at one of the Volunteer Community Planning Group meetings for the Pelican and Blacksmiths Local Adaptation Planning project.

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    • First meeting of the Volunteer Community Planning Group

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      The most recent community workshop to inform the creation of a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths saw the formation of a smaller community working group of 12 individuals. Together with Council staff and help from experts, this group will assess the many options suggested to date by the wider community to manage the risks of ongoing sea level rise, future flooding, evolution of the Swansea Channel and other dynamic coastal hazards.

      The group met with Council staff for the first time on Thursday 24 November. By the end of the night, the group had agreed on a draft work plan to see through the preparation of a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths.

      View the draft work plan here.

      At various points in time, Council and the sub-committee will report back to the wider community and ask for feedback.


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    • Event - Introduction to the Coast Adapt Tool - Community Webinar

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      RSVP online or call Council on 4921 0333.

      The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) has released a draft version of a new tool, CoastAdapt, to help governments and communities plan for changing coastal environments. CoastAdapt provides a wealth of resources that may assist with understanding local hazards and risks, the changing climate, and adaptation planning. You can view it online now at https://coastadapt.com.au/.

      Council staff have arranged for an NCCARF representative to introduce the tool to our community via an interactive public webinar to be held at the Lake Macquarie Visitor Information Centre, Swansea. Participants will have the opportunity to ask NCCARF questions about the tool. Any feedback you have on the day or shortly afterwards may be used by NCCARF to improve the tool. The tool is available as a resource to assist with the development of the Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths.

      The webinar will be held at the Lake Macquarie Visitor and Information Centre (Swansea Centre and Library, 228/234 Pacific Hwy, Swansea) on Tuesday 22 November between 3.30pm and 5pm.

      Limited places. RSVP essential.



    • Newly formed community working group to help prepare a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths

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      The most recent community workshop to inform the creation of a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths saw the formation of a smaller community working group of 12 individuals. Together with Council staff and help from experts, this group will assess the many options suggested to date by the wider community to manage the risks of ongoing sea level rise, future flooding, evolution of the Swansea Channel and other dynamic coastal hazards. At various points in time, Council and the sub-committee will report back to the wider community and ask for feedback. The group will first meet in late November.



    • First record of community work to date now available

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      Thank you to all who have attended one or more community events or online activities to help plan for the future of Pelican and Blacksmiths.

      Council is committed to working with the community to develop a Local Adaptation Plan for these areas, to guide future land use decisions and the design and maintenance of infrastructure, in response to the changing environment over time.

      The first snapshot of community work done to date is now available.

      From 1 September, this document will be mailed to persons who have participated in a project workshop and have provided their postal address to the Project Team.

      If you are UNSURE whether you have provided us with your preferred postal address, contact us at planning@lakemac.nsw.gov.au (Subject: Pelican and Blacksmiths).

      If you are SURE you have not provided your preferred postal address or have not participated in any workshops to date and would like to request a printed copy, please provide us with your preferred postal address.

      You may like to keep this document for your records and bring it with you to future project community planning events. The Project Team will update the document as work progresses on preparing the Plan. Council will provide you with updated versions.

      If you feel something you have sent to us previously is missing from this document, you can request we include it in the next version.

      Reminder: Next community workshop Wednesday 14 September, 6 - 8.30pm, Swansea Belmont Surf Club. Click to RSVP or call Council on 4921 0333.

      Click here to access the first snapshot.


    • Phase B Community Workshop No. 2 - Tuesday 23 August

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      CLICK TO RSVP or call Council on 4921 0333.

      In this next workshop, we'll progress Phase B of preparing a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths, building feedback you gave us at the last workshop (11 August) and throughout the planning process to date.

      The objective of Phase B is to identify a list of potential options that can be used to manage hazards affecting Pelican and Blacksmiths now and into the future. A summary of these hazards can be found in the latest hard copy project newsletter, delivered in late July and available online along with management options suggested by the community to date.

      The objectives of this workshop are to:

      • further consider the list of hazard management options suggested by the community
      • begin developing "criteria" that will later be used by Council and the community to assess which of the options suggested to date can be included in the Local Adaptation Plan itself.

      A light dinner and refreshments will be provided.


      Comments recorded from the discussion on hazard management options at the workshop 11 August are now in the project document library.