Pelican and Blacksmiths: Planning for Future Flood and Coastal Risks

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Thank you for all of the tidal inundation and flooding survey responses received. We are now reviewing the information to assist us in developing a combined Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. Please view the initial survey results engagement summary and the follow-up survey results engagement summary.

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 and flooding survey responses received. We are now reviewing the information to assist us in developing a combined Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea and surrounds. Please view the initial survey results engagement summary and the follow-up survey results engagement summary.

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.


  • Raincheck for free sausage sizzle at Pelican foreshore

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    10 June, 2016
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    Due to forecast inclement weather, Lake Macquarie City Council has postponed Saturday’s free sausage sizzle at Pelican foreshore.

    The event, which will help local residents and visitors to Pelican and Blacksmiths better understand how sea level rise may affect them, has been rescheduled for Saturday 18 June, at Pelican foreshore.

    Council will make virtual reality technology, such as Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard headsets available to those who attend the sausage sizzle, to demonstrate how sea level rise may affect the Pelican foreshore in the future.

    Free sausage sizzle

    When: anytime between 10am-2pm on Saturday 18 June

    Where: Pelican foreshore (Swansea Belmont Surf Club in the case of inclement weather)

    For more information visit www.haveyoursaylakemac.com.au/futurepelicanblacksmiths or call 4921 0333.





  • Upcoming event - Find out how sea level rise may affect you

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    17 May, 2016
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    Join Council staff at Pelican foreshore for a free sausage sizzle any time between 10am - 2pm on Saturday 18 June.

    • Test out our virtual reality headset to see what sea level rise may look like
    • View maps showing the extent of projected future flooding and sea level rise
    • Share your suggestions to help prepare a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths
    If wet weather, the event will take place at the Swansea Belmont Surf Club (Ungala Rd, Blacksmiths).





  • Insights from 17 March Q&A event - your questions

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    24 March, 2016

    On Thursday 17 March, residents were given the opportunity to engage with Council staff and independent specialists in coastal, channel and flooding hazards, and to explore ways we can plan for future uncertainty.

    The following questions offer some insight into the discussions during the event. We will explore these questions further in upcoming community workshops. As we move forward, we will start to provide answers to your questions from this event and other events on the project website. You can ask us a question at any time.

    How do we develop a Local Adaptation Plan for Pelican and Blacksmiths? Can we learn from the Marks Point and Belmont South experience?

    How does this adaptation plan address planning for resilience against flooding, and incorporating land use planning under the coastal zone management plan?

    Are there any management models from other coastal communities we can adopt?

    What opportunities for dune nourishment work to protect the beach?

    Low-lying suburban roads and drainage systems – to what extent do blockages contribute to issues? How often does Council respond to drainage service requests?

    Roads need to be raised for evacuation, if necessary. Is the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) on board with resolutions from the Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan?

    Can we incorporate other climate change issues in adaptation planning? For example, increased temperature, warming of lake and ocean; shade, raised building and infrastructure solutions…

    Is the collapse of Milanos a consequence of dredging, sand islands, or channel scour from the entrance training walls?

    Manly Hydraulics monitors three tidal gauges in Lake Macquarie at Belmont, Marmong Point and Swansea. Do flood waters from Dora Creek, Eraring and the Hunter Valley influence lake levels? How?

    Could the water table be lowered by planting paperbark and tea trees? Would this help manage storm water flooding?

    If moving Pelican boat ramp has to happen, are there plans to address erosion issues at the airport?


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  • First insights from 3 March - Your questions

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    11 March, 2016

    Council staff met with residents of Pelican, Blacksmiths and Marks Point and Belmont South on Thursday 3 March 2016 to explore how together we can plan for future flood and coastal risks.

    A number of questions were captured on the night, for discussion at future events.

    Sea level rise has risen slowly in past, can we expect the same rate of increase into the future or will it get faster?

    Can we hear more about how the Marks Point and Belmont South community worked with Council to prepare a Local Adaptation Plan for that area?

    Preparing a plan for possible changes in lake and sea levels in the future is difficult and complex. How do we deal with legacy development?

    Can reports about sea level rise trends be made available on Council’s website?

    The water table is very close to the surface here, and that can affect how water drains away. It means some drains are ineffective. If that is the case, what can be done to improve drainage?

    Could swales be an effective drainage solution for this area?

    Can we address drainage issues by gradually raising land?

    Can we slow stormwater down and divert it? What would this look like?

    Can water tanks be looked at as a stormwater solution? Interesting to learn a 1 in 20 year 48 hour rainfall event in Lake Macquarie produces enough water to fill 40 million standard sized household water tanks (5000-litre tanks), causing the lake to flood and rise by about a metre compared to its usual average still water level.

    Could we use voids in old mine workings to catch flood waters in a big flood event? Would there be issues of subsidence and contamination?

    How are coastal planning lines derived to plan for possible beach erosion?

    Will Pelican Boat Ramp be replaced? How can we address erosion issues?

    Long-term dredging of the channel makes it change unpredictably. Sand islands are a problem for navigation. How can this be addressed?

    If we plan for the future now, when do we have to act?

    The February Tides, Rains and Drains tour was excellent. Can we do something similar again as more people get involved?

    How can we get more people involved in planning for the future? There is a lot of valuable local knowledge to share. Could we include tear off contact details on posters?

    Can we work with local schools to inform people about community planning events?

    Join us at the next event Thursday 17 March, 6-8.30pm, for a Question and Answer session with special guests. Fish and chips included!

    Register your attendance online or call Council on 4921 0333.


  • A day out to talk tides, rains and drains

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    02 March, 2016
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    It was a warm day, the sun was shining and the tide was high. Nineteen residents from the local area and some as far as Wallsend joined Council staff on a tour to learn about the effects of the King Tide on drainage and to see what projected sea level rise could look like in the future.

    The King Tide reached about 1.97 metres, equivalent to just below 1 metre AHD (1m AHD is approximately the same as 1m above average sea level).

    This King Tide was slightly lower than previous years. The 2014 King Tide, for example, reached 2.04 metres. Many factors, such as whether there is a low-pressure system, influence how high a King Tide will be on the day.

    The tidal range varies around the Australian coast. Here in Lake Macquarie, we experience a tidal range of around ±0.5 however, in other parts it can be ±3-9m, and the largest, in Geraldton in WA is 11m. The tidal range within the lake is much lower, around ±0.05 as the channel restricts the flow in and out of the lake.

    Tour sites and discussion included:

    Swansea Channel Tidal Gauge

    This gauge is monitored by Manly Hydraulics Laboratory and generates tidal record data. There are three water level gauges in Lake Macquarie operated by the NSW Government, at Swansea, Belmont and Marmong Point. These gauges measure water levels relative to a fixed point on the land. The nearest fully calibrated gauge, is at Port Kembla and is operated by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, shows a rise of 2.6mm a year since it began measurements in 1991.

    Based on historical records and complex computer modelling, sea levels on the NSW coast are projected to rise 0.9 metres by 2100. This projection accounts for some uncertainty around melting of land ice and also allows for an acceleration in the East Australian Current.

    Effect on stormwater drainage

    The tour group witnessed lake water rising up into stormwater drains and were asked to think about what this means in the future if a King Tide was to occur on top of 0.9 metre sea level rise by the end of the century. Drains currently at the same elevation of the lake, or below, will need to be re-designed, along with other infrastructure to enable effective functioning.

    Blacksmiths Breakwall and evolution of the Channel

    The Channel has been responding to engineered modifications of the entrance that started over 150 years ago. The State Government is currently investigating the recent collapse of Milanos to try to understand the contribution that channel evolution may have had to the erosion of the Pelican foreshore and the incident.

    Blacksmiths beach dunes

    The dunes protect the Blacksmiths and Pelican communities. Local groups have put in many volunteer hours into rehabilitating the dunes after years of sand mining. Council monitors changes to the beach profile on an ongoing basis. Around 30 years of data is needed to detect any significant trends in beach recession and erosion.



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  • Residents of Pelican and Blacksmiths contribute ideas for the future

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    14 January, 2016
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    Council met with some residents of Pelican and Blacksmiths in late 2015 to listen and talk about opportunities for the community to help plan for the future of the area and prepare a Local Adaptation Plan.

    The primary objective of these sessions was to listen and build relationships, in order to help scope and design the project.

    A secondary objective was to gauge people’s interest in participating in the planning process scheduled for 2016.

    We asked participants:

    • What can you tell us about the area? Are there any issues you would like to raise?
    • Are there any flooding or foreshore (coastal or lake) management issues you would like to raise for Council to consider?
    • What do you value about the area?
    • How would you like to be involved?

    Council staff were also on hand to talk about the draft Marks Point and Belmont South Local Adaptation Plan.


    Participants contributed more than 40 ideas about ideas for the future and current issues or observations. Council and the community will draw on this information again in community workshops scheduled for later this year. These comments have been uploaded to an interactive map.

    We are now giving everyone the opportunity to have their say, whether you live in Pelican and Blacksmiths or elsewhere.

    Add your ideas to our interactive map!