Monday, July 15, 2024

Council adopts plan to protect Auckland coastline

Auckland Council’s Whangaparāoa Shoreline Adaptation Plan (SAP) pilot has officially wrapped up, with the report adopted by the Environment and Climate Change committee earlier this month.

The pilot, which ran from February to July last year, involved undertaking an assessment of Whangaparāoa’s exposure to coastal hazards and future climate change impacts across the short (20-year), medium (60-year) and long (100-year) term.

It also involved working with mana whenua and engaging with the local community to gain an understanding of what assets they valued most.

Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, Richard Hills says, “With global temperatures rising due to greenhouse gas emissions, we know that Auckland will need to prepare and adapt to impacts, including higher sea levels and increasing rainfall intensity.”

“The decisions we make today will have implications reaching far into the future, and that’s why strategic planning is more important than ever.

“The Shoreline Adaptation Plan work programme is an essential part of that preparation, as they assess the potential future impacts of three key natural hazards: coastal erosion, coastal inundation, and rainfall flooding,” Mr Hills said.

He said the hazard modelling used to inform Shoreline Adaptation Plans considers how climate change will alter the frequency, magnitude and extent of these natural hazards over time.

“The Whangaparāoa pilot was the first of 16 SAPs that will be developed. It has been a great success, with valued input from mana whenua and the local community.”

“We now have a better idea of what the future looks like for this part of the region and the results can be used to prepare for that, including informing future asset management plans.”

In good news for locals, the report indicates that council-owned land and assets, including cultural heritage sites, across the peninsula are generally at low risk from exposure to coastal hazards in the short term, giving us time to prepare, respond and adapt to longer-term changes.

In the long term, the most significant impacts are related to the potential erosion of coastal land and the subsequent impacts on infrastructure.

Coastal inundation and rainfall flooding will also be worsened by the long-term impacts of climate change, increasing the scale and frequency of flood events and their impact on low-lying areas, the report found.

Auckland Council’s General Manager Resilient Land and Coasts, Paul Klinac says partnering with mana whenua was an essential part of the plan’s development.

“It was important to us that any plan we developed took into consideration the cultural values of Whangaparāoa, and the insights provided by iwi Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki were integral to this.”

“Through a series of hui, iwi provided three specific themes related to shoreline management: Whakapapa (Ancestry), Taiao (Environment) and Tangata Hononga (Connecting People).

“The themes and objectives gifted by mana whenua informed the development of the adaptation strategies and are a core foundation of the Whangaparāoa pilot, and our recommendations for future shoreline projects,” said Mr Klinac.

You can find the full Whangaparāoa Shoreline Adaptation Plan report here. 

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