What is local adaptation planning and why is the City doing it?


    What is local adaptation planning and why is the City doing it?

    Commonwealth, State and Local government studies identify the LAP suburbs as extremely vulnerable to the projected impacts of sea level rise. These impacts include threats to public safety, damages to houses and other private and public assets (roads, drainage and utilities) and threats to our unique coastal environment and lifestyle. This LAP will help our community to adapt to these impacts.

    Local adaptation planning identifies actions that Council, our communities and other stakeholders can take to respond to climate change including projected increases in sea and lake levels, tidal inundation, lake flooding and coastal hazards. LAP actions are designed to reduce these impacts and ensure our City is resilient and continues to prosper.

    This draft LAP – prepared by Council and community representatives - includes a 10-year action plan that will be reviewed and reported on regularly with reviews triggered by monitoring of key triggers and indicators. The draft LAP also includes a longer-term strategy to ensure each 10-year action plan builds towards a longer-term vision of an adaptable and resilient City.

    How was the draft LAP developed with the community?


    How was the draft LAP developed with the community?

    The draft LAP has been developed in partnership with communities of Pelican, Blacksmiths, Swansea, Swansea Heads and Caves Beach. Planning in Pelican and Blacksmiths started in 2016 with a range of engagement activities from 2016-2020.  Planning in Swansea, Swansea Heads and Caves Beach started in 2018 and the two LAP groups combined in 2019. The LAP collaboration and engagement process has included:

    • 55+ meetings with 20+ representatives of the joint community and Council working group or sub-groups used to coordinate technical studies or drafting of the LAP
    • 200+ people attending 4 community wide workshops
    • 200+ people attended “Let’s Talk” information sessions live
    • 200+ people attended 7 community drop-in sessions
    • 400+ responses to community surveys. 

    Council has also connected with the community through field trips, newsletters, the online project page at Shape Lake Mac, local story videos, Councillor and Coastal Committee briefings and a virtual reality demonstration of sea level rise and flooding.

    A snapshot of community consultation undertaken to date can be viewed here.

    You can also view these related projects online:

    shape.lakemac.com.au/adapting-swansea

    shape.lakemac.com.au/futurepelicanblacksmiths.

    Where can I view the exhibited documentation?


     Where can I view the exhibited documentation?

    **As lockdown continues, please email or call Council on the details below and we will arrange for a submission pack to be mailed to you.**

    • The documentation on exhibition can be viewed online in our document library.
    • Outside of lockdown restrictions, you can obtain a hardcopy submission pack from Swansea Library, Belmont Library or the Council Administration Building in Speers Point.
    • The submission pack contains a copy of Volume One: Draft Local Adaptation Plan, a submission form and pre-paid envelope.
    • Volume Two: Appendices will only be printed upon request, due to the size of the document. Please call Council if you need a copy printed on 4921 0333 or email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.


    Why is Council still allowing people to build if we have this major problem with flooding?


    Why is Council still allowing people to build if we have this major problem with flooding?

    The community engagement over the past 5 years has highlighted that the community wishes to adapt in-place i.e. to protect their current lifestyle and grow the local economy. The LAP area is a gateway to Lake Macquarie. The area needs the support of Council and the community to adapt to future risks ensuring prosperity for the area and the City.

    Council has existing flood planning and development controls based on extensive flood modelling including the projected sea level rise. Council’s planning and development provisions allow for flood resilient housing designs which permit landowners to have alternate and flexible building designs based on impacts of future flood and tidal inundation hazards.

    The draft LAP builds on these planning and development controls to include guidance on other areas operated or maintained by Council such as drainage, roads, reserves, environmental and cultural management, and channel, foreshore and coastal protection.

    The draft LAP also supports collaboration with key stakeholders including utility providers and State Government services to ensure a coordinated response to increasing risks from sea level rise.

    This draft LAP aims to ensure the existing social and economic values of the community are maintained and prosper against the backdrop of increasing risks from sea level rise.  

    What is the projected impact and how was it assessed?


    What is the projected impact and how was it assessed?

    Council and the LAP working group identified hazards through extensive community engagement including drop-ins, community wide meetings and a number of surveys. The LAP working group identified and assessed the impacts of seven hazards to develop the draft LAP:

    Lake flooding

    Increase in extent of flooding caused by rainfall in and around the lake and its catchment

    Tidal inundation

    Increase in frequency, duration and extent of tidal inundation (fine weather flooding)

    East Coast lows and storm surges

    Increase in frequency and intensity of storm events resulting in temporary water level surges and storm damage 

    Channel dynamics

    Changes in water volumes and behaviour in the channel, erosion of the channel and impact on adjoining land

    Groundwater

    Short term and long term increases in the level of underground water

    Coastal hazard

    Erosion of beach and dunes, potential wave overtopping and coastal inundation

    Emergency response

    Risk of failure of our emergency response systems including storm preparedness and evacuation.


    Council and the Community working group assessed the seven hazards using information from:

    • Local community experiences and observations
    • Council records, aerial data and technical studies
    • State Government records, studies and tools
    • Federal Government information from the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and CoastAdapt
    • Resources from the International Panel on Climate Change.

    Is the draft LAP adaptable to meet unexpected changes and new information?


    Is the draft LAP adaptable to meet unexpected changes and new information?

    Yes, the draft LAP is an adaptable plan. There are actions in the draft LAP to review and update actions based on new information (including monitoring data) and improved science surrounding climate change and sea level rise impacts.  In addition to this ongoing ‘adaptive review’, the draft LAP is scheduled for formal review every 10-years. Information from the first 10-years’ worth of action will support the review and update of the LAP.

    The draft LAP includes ongoing engagement and implementation of actions in collaboration with the community. The ongoing relationship between Council and the broader community will assist in ensuring actions adapt to changes at a social level.

    How can I register for a drop-in session?


    How can I register for a drop-in session?

    Drop-in sessions are a chance for the community to meet in person with the Council staff and community members who developed the draft LAP and ask any questions.

    All drop-in sessions are registration only via Eventbrite. You will require an email address to register.

    If you are having difficulty registering for any reason, please email us on council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or call 4921 0333 and we will help you with your registration.

    All session times are subject to change and/or cancellation at any time due to COVID.

    If you cannot attend a session, but would like to speak with a member of the project team, please call Council on 4921 0333 or email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au and we will be in touch to arrange an appointment to discuss the draft LAP with you.

    Click here to view all drop-in session times.


    Online sessions

    In response to the recent COVID restrictions, we have arranged some online information sessions on Thursday 26 and Monday 30 August. Registration is also via Eventbrite. A meeting link will be sent to your registered email address.

    Click here to view all online information session times.



Submission information

    How can I make a submission on the draft LAP?


    How can I make a submission on the draft LAP?

    Online:

    • You can upload a written submission or type your submission into our online form.
    • You can download a submission form and email it through to council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au

     

    By Mail:

    ATT: City Resilience Team, Lake Macquarie City Council

    Box 1906, Hunter Region Mail Centre, NSW 2310.

    • As lockdown continues, please email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au or call Council on 4921 0333. We can arrange for a hardcopy submission pack to be mailed to you. It includes Volume One: Draft LAP, a submission form and pre-paid envelope.

    • Outside of lockdown restrictions, you can pick up a submission pack from Swansea Library, Belmont Library or the Council Administration Building in Speers Point. You can mail your submission using the pre-paid envelope.

    How do I make an online submission?


    How do I make an online submission?

    • To register with the Shape Lake Mac website, simply click on the "Register" button at the top right hand of the page, when prompted create a SCREENNAME (Note: your comments will appear under your screenname and you can comment anonymously through a screenname of your choice) create a PASSWORD of your choice provide a valid email address, your age, gender and the location in which you live.
    • If you have previously participated in giving feedback on the Shape Lake Mac website simply click on the "Sign In" function located on the right hand side of the top tool bar.
    • Once you are signed in click the “make a submission” tab on our webpage and follow the prompts. Please note you cannot save your submission as you go. If you would like to make a lengthy submission, we suggest uploading your feedback as a Word document or PDF.
    • The benefit of registering your details is that our system can automatically email you with a copy of your submission as evidence of being received.
    • To participate in other parts of the project, such as attending a drop-in session please see the key events listed on this website.

    Is my privacy protected when participating online?


    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. You can unsubscribe from these at any time.

    Your email address and any other information provided by you will not be distributed to any third party or used for any other purpose. You may like to review our privacy statement.

    If you still have concerns, you are welcome to make a submission via mail or email council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.

Finance related questions

    How is the draft LAP funded? Does Council have the resources to commit to implementing the actions in the draft LAP? Are Commonwealth and State Governments assisting financially?


    How is the draft LAP funded? Does Council have the resources to commit to implementing the actions in the draft LAP? Are Commonwealth and State Governments assisting financially?

    Funding support to prepare the draft LAP was provided by the NSW Government under the Floodplain Management Grant program.

    The draft LAP outlines Council actions and associated costs identified for the next ten years (see LAP Volume 1: Tables 3.1 to 3.6). These actions lay the foundation for an adaptation strategy to 2100 and beyond.

    LAP actions scheduled for year one (2021-2022) can be accommodated within Council’s approved annual Operating Plan and Budget. The proposed costs to implement this plan will be considered as part of Council’s Long-Term Financial Plan, Delivery Program and Operational Plan, as funding allows. Draft action GF-3 included in Table 3.6 of the draft LAP includes investigating the feasibility of a capital reserve or other funding/resourcing initiatives to support the LAP and future adaptation measures.

    Council staff and the community will actively seek funding support from sources such as the NSW Government Coastal and Estuary Grants Program, which includes $72.7 million in grants to support local councils.

    Will this impact my insurance premiums or is there a financial impact for residents?


    Will this impact my insurance premiums or is there a financial impact for residents?

    The draft LAP will not affect insurance premiums in the life of the 10-year action plan as there is no causal link between the LAP and the methods insurance companies use to assess annual risk and premiums.  Property insurance for flooding is based on an assessment of annual risk to properties and is calculated at a suburb level. Insurers use data from a variety of sources including historical flood measurements, Federal, State and Local government studies, the Insurance Council of Australia’s (ICA) National Flood Information Database and through their own research. Council flood data is publicly available – you can view the information using Council’s Flood Report Tool. Insurance companies use this data to make their own assessment of risk – different companies will assess the risk in different ways. Council does not control what flood data insurers choose to use, or how they use it.

    However, the insurance industry is moving towards premiums based on risk assessments of individual properties rather than at the scale of a suburb. This might reward property owners with house floor levels above flood planning levels but make it less affordable for those with older homes built before Council introduced flood planning levels.  Insurance premiums can rise after the onset of a natural disaster such as after the Queensland floods of 2010 and 2011 where the price of insurance premiums rose in flood prone areas. If insurance becomes expensive, more people will become uninsured and disasters can have a larger impact to the community and their recovery after a disaster strikes.

    The longer-term strategy of this draft LAP is to assist the community to reduce their risk to severe impacts of flooding and other coastal and lake hazards. Therefore, in the longer-term this draft LAP should assist the community to manage or reduce insurance premiums that would otherwise rise due to increasing risk from sea levels rise. As insurers move to property-based assessments, Council wants the community to be resilient to the impacts of sea level rise and to get the maximum advantage for all residents. 

    Will the draft LAP affect the value of my property?


    Will the draft LAP affect the value of my property?

    Council has been monitoring sales and capital value information from the real estate industry since 2009, and to date there has been no overall difference between the performance of flood-affected foreshore properties compared to similar properties elsewhere in Lake Macquarie. This reflects overall trends, and the experience for individual properties and locations will vary, as will the response of individual buyers. Many factors affect the property market and the individual choice of buyers, including interest rates, the health of the economy, and the desire to live in a particular location. Studies of the value of property in flood affected areas here and overseas show some consistent patterns:

    • There is already a discount built in to the market for properties that are known to flood  
    • Even in known flood areas, other factors such as aspect, views, and direct water frontage are strong drivers of value
    • After a major flood or other disaster prices may drop (typically 5-10 per cent) but generally recover after one or two years
    • New information such as flood conditions being made publicly available (such as Brisbane’s ‘Floodwise’) can cause a drop in prices (about 6 per cent in Brisbane) but they generally recover after one or two years.