Sunday, August 25, 2013

From an Australian town, a call to remove sea-level rise notices

Damon Cronshaw in the Newcastle Herald (Australia) reports on a refrain that we'll be hearing ever more loudly from coastal dwellers: More than 250 residents have demanded the removal of Lake Macquarie City Council’s controversial sea level rise and flooding maps and notations, amid concern they threaten $4billion worth of private property.

The call comes from accusations that the council is showing disregard to the effects its flood policies are having on people’s lives and hip-pockets, but the council maintains it is acting prudently. Cr Jason Pauling will table at a council meeting today a call from the residents for the ‘‘immediate withdrawal’’ of the notations and maps.

Cr Pauling will ask council officials to explain the consequences of removing the notations, which the council placed on section 149 planning certificates of 10,000 properties in 2009. ‘‘The response has been too hard, too early,’’ Cr Pauling said, of the council’s sea level rise measures.

A council statement said it was ‘‘obliged by law to note on property certificates known risks relating to property’’. ‘‘Council has a duty of care to record development controls related to these risks on the section 149(2) certificate,’’ the statement said.

Coastal Residents president Len Gibbons said the council had ‘‘failed in its duty of care to act in the best interests of all Lake Macquarie residents’’. Mr Gibbons alleged the council had ‘‘completely disregarded the well-being of residents and ratepayers’’.

He said the notations had been ‘‘encoded with flood information that includes the most extreme sea level rise projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’’. He said this was ‘‘incomprehensible and highly damaging to communities’’....

Boating at Lake Macquarie in New South Wales in 1928, from Photographic Collection, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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