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ARC completes coastal hazard initiatives

11 May 2000

“Auckland Regional Council completes coastal hazard initiatives”

Scientists and planners at the Auckland Regional Council have completed the development a Coastal Hazard Strategy (CHS), and produced a Coastal Erosion Management Manual (CEMM). Both these documents were presented to councillors at a meeting last week.

Because so much of the Auckland Region is in low-lying areas in close proximity of the sea, this work addresses some vitally important issues.

The Coastal Hazard Strategy and Coastal Erosion Management Manual provide many of the answers to two critical questions in coastal hazard management:

“What can we do to avoid coastal hazards” and

“What can we do if they are already present?”

The Auckland Regional Council is jointly responsible for the sustainable management of the coastal environment with the Minister of Conservation, and the region’s seven Territorial Local Authorities (TLA’s). This responsibility includes the avoidance and mitigation of natural coastal hazards.

Hazards in the Auckland coastal environment include coastal erosion, flooding, cliff subsidence, tsunami and sea-level rise.

The Coastal Hazards Strategy provides a process for ensuring that current and future development is not put as risk from coastal processes. It does this by setting out some goals for coastal hazard management in the region, built around the idea of making our communities more resilient to the effects of coastal hazards.

The CHS also provides access to coastal hazard information in the Auckland region, the Coastal Hazards Inventory. This inventory is managed by the ARC and provides an up-to date list of coastal publications and research documents for each part of the region’s coastline.

The CHS also sets out a detailed implementation strategy. This includes a list of priority sites in the region for coastal hazard evaluation. The ARC and TLA’s will trial these hazard identification techniques at a series of these sites over the next 2-5 years.

But in many places development has already occurred in close proximity to the coast, and there is little or no prospect of avoiding those hazards – most commonly coastal erosion.

To improve this situation, the ARC has developed the Coastal Erosion Management Manual (CEMM). While seawalls and their variants have been the traditional response to erosion, they may have adverse effects on the environment.

Once a long term erosion issue is identified, the CEMM presents a range of options for managing the erosion, ranging from softer style approaches such as beach sand replenishment and re-vegetation, through to more formal engineering structures such as seawalls and groynes. The manual discusses the pros and cons of each, and identifies where they are more or less applicable.

Finally, CEMM gives guidance on how to assess the effects of a chosen option, and also how to gain consent for any such works from the ARC.

“The Auckland Regional Council would like communities with erosion problems to see both the CHS and the CEMM as valuable, practical tools to help address coastal erosion, “ says Councillor Patricia Thorp, chair of the ARC Environment Committee. “We believe that in partnership with local communities, we can address coastal issues in a way which balances the need to protect property and assets with the desire to live in a region with it’s unique natural heritage preserved.”

The ARC will now open discussions with TLA’s, utility operators, insurance organisations, tangata whenua and the public about these documents and their implications, and how they should be implemented.

- END -

For further information please call:
Councillor Patricia Thorp 366 2000 x 7047
Harvey Brookes (Coastal Hazards Strategy) 366 2000 x 8190
Andrew Benson (Coastal Erosion Management Manual) 366 2000 x 7029

or ENVIROLINE on 0800 80 60 40

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