Monday, April 22, 2024

Hurunui beach project wins supreme planning award

Hurunui District Council’s coastal adaptation project with the Amberley Beach community has been recognised as the best in New Zealand in the professional planning realm.

At the recent New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) conference, the Amberley Beach Coastal Adaptation Plan (CAP) won the NZPI Best Practice Award for Climate Change along with the NZPI’s supreme practice award – the Nancy Northcroft Planning Practice Award.

The Council says the awards recognised the work of planners in developing and implementing innovative policies, plans and projects to address climate change issues in New Zealand.

The judges found the Council Planning team was central to the success of the CAP, engaging with the entire beach community was important for them during every phase of the project which provided everyone an equal voice in the plan’s development.

The Amberley Beach CAP outlines how the Amberley Beach community will take control of its future and adapt to the changing hazard risk over the next 100 years.

Coastal erosion, coastal inundation, rising groundwater, fluvial flooding and pluvial flooding were all considered impacts of climate change assessment.

“Often, we get caught in engineering our way out of problems. Using a planning lens to undertake such projects allows us to step back and consider the full range of options available,” said Chief Strategy and Community Officer, Judith Batchelor.

Planners helped to facilitate the community discussions and provide technical planning advice, while international technology firm, Jacobs, assisted by providing science advice directly to the community.

Council says this method of engagement required the team to develop and use engaging and innovative ways of communicating technical information, so the Amberley Beach community could foster and understand the information, then form decisions foundered on science.

“It was important to Council that the Plan was owned by the community, and it was the Planners’ role to balance the competing needs of different community members, different generations and the environment,” said Council CEO, Hamish Dobbie.

Mr Dobbie said it is easy to visualise, design, and price protection options, while proactive relocation is a much harder concept to discuss and evaluate.

“The community did not shy away from these discussions. An innovative proposal for proactive retreat and land banking was developed as part of the CAP, to enable the community to have control over their future.”

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