KIAMA last weekplayed host to the 21st annual NSW Coastal Conference.
More than 200delegates including local and state government representatives, scientists,academics, surf lifesavers and emergency services personnel attended thefour-day conference.
Some 45 paperswere presented to the conference covering topics such as; engaging communitiesin climate change and sea level rise, national surfing reserves, managingcoastal geotechnical hazards, coastal lagoon entrance management, Aboriginalcultural fishing in NSW, healthy waterways, and innovative approaches toproject delivery including using social networking.
The conferencealso included an address on a proposed policy framework for coastal Australiaby the National Sea Change Taskforce, which held its annual general meeting atthe conference.
Conferencewelcome speaker former Fairfax journalist, travel writer and ABC radiocommentator Kiama’s Bruce Elder spoke of the changes to the South Coast in thepast 30 years, the reasons for those changes and the need for the necessary developmentand tourism expansion to be considered.
“Never ignore thereason people originally came to your destination,” he said.
“That seems me tobe absolutely fundamental and is one of the great questions and challenges forthe South Coast.”
Kiama MP GarethWard said climate change was real.
“Climate changeis a reality and simply burying one’s head in the sand will not send thechallenges out with the tide,” he said.
“Ignorance onthis issue will only lead to greater challenges and costs into the future asdenial will equal delay.”
Relaxed sea-level lawsridiculed
THE StateGovernment’s new legislation scrapping sea level rise benchmarks and making iteasier for homeowners to protect their homes from the effects of climate changehas attracted scathing criticism from the man who co-authored the original 1979legislation.
Speaking at lastweek’s annual NSW Coastal Conference in Kiama, Angus Gordon a Coastal ZoneManagement and Planning expert of more than 40 years, described the legislationas ‘‘replacing one nonsense with a greater nonsense’’ and said it ‘‘reflected anaivety and loss of knowledge within the NSW government of coastalmanagement’’.
Mr Gordon saidwhile he had many concerns with the changes to the Coastal Protection Act, hewas particularly worried by plans allowing landowners to erect temporaryseawalls or sandbag against sea level rise without needing approval.
He said it waswell documented that building any wall on a beach caused erosion and thatseawalls could also impact neighbouring properties.
Mr Gordon alsosaid he was concerned that because there was no time limit on ‘‘so-calledtemporary works’’ on private land and that they would be used to ‘‘reclaimbeach’’ gained through coastal erosion, meaning in some cases a loss or beachfor community use.
‘‘Once they havereclaimed the beach they can then construct any exempt development they wish onthat,’’ he said.
‘‘Any coastalmanagement really needs to look at equity for both landowners and beachusers.The swing that has come in now really appears to favour landowners – it reallypays no attention what so ever to beachusers.’’
Kiama MP GarethWard who spoke at the conference about the changes and who spoke parliament insupport of the changes to the bill, said the changes had been made followingconsultation up and down the coast.
‘‘The billintroduced by Environment Minister Robyn Parker and now passed by theParliament seeks to cut the red tape that is entangled in the previouslegislation, which is so complicated that experienced local governmentbureaucrats find it difficult to understand,” he said.
‘‘In manyinstances people have worked hard to buy their piece of paradise on the coastonly to find that the value of that piece of paradise has been significantlydevalued because of legislation introduced by the previous Labor Government.
‘‘Under Labor, wesaw prescriptions about coastal erosion uniformly mandated across the New SouthWales coastline with no recognition of the fact that coastal protection anderosion has a different impact on individual communities and locations.
‘‘These changesreflect the government’s commitment to supporting landowners while alsosupporting the vital public interest.’’
Mr Gordon saidthe legislation also said that any works constructed which caused erosionelsewhere or a loss of amenity could be ordered to be removed.
‘‘Can you see thedilemma, if the only reason you have put protection in is is because yourproperty is likely to be threatened, or to reclaim the beach but anything youdo of that nature we already know will cause erosion, yet it says it can’tcause erosion… so they have brought in something that is unworkable,’’ hesaid.
‘‘We have come upwith a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem and the 20thcentury solution was one we knew was wrong in the 20th century.
‘This is a timewhen we are getting far more planning pressures on the coast and if we get itwrong now we will be leaving a terrible legacy for future generations.’’
Using a report bychief scientist and engineer professor Mary O’Kane, the new legislation alsoscraps the uniform benchmarks for sea level rise of up to 40cm by 2050 and ofup to 90cm by 2100, which were being used by coastal councils used to developtheir coastal management plans.
THE MAYOR: Kiama mayor Brian Petschler welcomes visitors to the NSW Coastal Conference at Kiama last week. Photo by Dylan Robinson
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.