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.

  • First insights from 3 March - Your questions

    almost 4 years ago

    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...

    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

    almost 4 years ago
    Photo 9 of tides  rains and drains tour   10 february 2016   blacksmiths   pelican and blacksmiths local adaptation plan 10 02 2016 11 58 am

    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...

    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

    about 4 years ago
    Wordcloud

    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...

    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!