Tuesday, 22 January 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Working together to protect our coast

Stretching 400 kilometres, the Coromandel has one of the largest coastlines in the country. It’s among our greatest assets and is a large part of the reason why people want to live, work and visit here.

‘Coastal management’ encompasses a wide range of projects to identify hazards and risks and develop shoreline management plans to combat these, with a view to building ‘resilient’ coastal communities.

Today the TCDC provide a brief introduction to the coastal management programme, and an update on a few key projects.

This year the TCDC adopted the Coastal Management Strategy, which sets out a range of initiatives we will be taking over the coming years to better manage our coastal assets and understand the risk of coastal inundation and coastal erosion.

The 2018-2028 Long Term Plan includes $2.6 million over three years to help us implement this strategy.

This approach to coastal management activity ensures a district-wide approach, allowing us to better-manage our coastline from a holistic and long-term perspective. We work together with public and private organisations such as the Waikato Regional Council (WRC), New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the Department of Conservation (DOC), iwi and community groups with an interest in coastal protection.

Early this year, the TCDC adopted the Government's revised climate change guidance based on forecasting assumptions the Ministry for the Environment published in December 2017.

This means a potential sea-level rise of up to 1.88m by 2150 will be taken into account for all major infrastructure projects adopted as part of our Council's 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.

The document 'Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance' for Local Government 2017 is available from the Ministry for the Environment website.

The TCDC has established a coastal engineering department within their infrastructure team and this year they hired an experienced coastal engineer to implement the TCDC coastal management strategy.

Jan van der Vliet is a civil engineering professional with more than 35 years’ experience across Europe, Africa, central and south-east Asia and the Pacific.

Jan completed his engineering degree in the Netherlands and spent several years working with the Netherlands Development Organisation in places such as Zambia, Nepal and Cambodia, and eight years at the UK Environment Agency working on catchment and shoreline management plans.

He joined our Council in January 2018 from the Marlborough District Council where he was the rivers investigation and planning engineer.

On Jan’s first day with the TCDC in January, the Thames Coast was reeling from a summer storm that brought wild weather, king tides and flooding. Needless to say, working with affected communities on the response and recovery from the storm damage has been a major focus of work for Jan and his team this year.

Jan averages at least two days each week on site with coastal communities across the Coromandel to see how they and nature has adapted to the challenges we face on the coast.

Adopting the Coastal Management Strategy this year has been a positive step by the TCDC, Jan says, providing a more coordinated approach to how we manage and protect our coast.

“This strategy sets us up to manager our coastlines for the next 50-100 years,” Jan says.

Pictured: Coastal engineer Jan van der Vliet

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