Climate Resilience Plan in pipeline for Lake Mac suburbs

Planning is underway to ensure lakeside suburbs in north-west Lake Macquarie are as resilient as possible to flooding, fires, and other climate-related hazards.

Lake Macquarie City Council will spend the next 2-3 years collaborating with residents from Teralba to Toronto, as well as other stakeholders in the area, to create a new Climate Resilience Plan to combat increasing sea and lake levels, bushfires, urban heat and other ‘climate risks’.

Manager Environmental Systems Karen Partington said decisions made now regarding new roads, homes and other infrastructure would have lasting impacts.

“We need to get on the front foot to ensure we minimise the growing impact of climate change in years to come,” she said.

“We’re not talking about kneejerk reactions – these will be considered and measured responses to predictions of climate change made by the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the NSW Government.”

Five Bays Sustainable Neighbourhood Group Chair Robyn Charlton welcomed the new planning.

“This type of planning for Teralba to Toronto is important to assist building the resilience of the area for now and future generations, environmentally, economically and socially,” she said.

“I think bushfire will always be a concern. Food security is definitely becoming more of a concern, especially with the current extreme weather events occurring across the country and the increasing cost of living, and for people living near our waterways, flooding and lake level rise is another concern.”

Based on current trajectories, lake water levels are projected to rise 0.4m by 2050 and 0.9m by 2100, compared to 1990.

Ms Partington said assets at risk in the Teralba-Toronto area included sports fields, jetties and wharves, foreshore reserves, parks and playgrounds, public and private buildings, roads, drains and shared pathways.

“There’s an estimated 17km of roads, 565 buildings, 87km of cycleways and dozens of other points of interest within that at-risk zone,” Ms Partington said.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said Council adopted similar local adaptation planning for Swansea, Pelican, Blacksmiths and surrounds in 2021 after extensive community consultation.

“It’s vital we involve the community at every step for a plan like this,” she said.

“They are the ones who will be directly affected by the effects of climate change, so we want to make sure they’re the ones who benefit most from the actions we take.”

Suburbs included in the new plan are: Teralba, Booragul, Marmong Point, Woodrising, Bolton Point, Fennell Bay, Fassifern, Blackalls Park and Toronto.

Council is seeking community feedback via a survey and interactive online map to learn more about any climate-related changes people have observed in the suburbs between Teralba and Toronto.

A series of free events is also open to the community in February. Using a state-of-the-art ‘SimTable’ simulation tool, attendees will see how their local area could be impacted by bushfire, and learn more about the actions that they can take to prepare and protect themselves.

Visit shape.lakemac.com.au/teralba-to-toronto by 5 March for more information and to get involved.

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