How vulnerable is your home? Wellington-region climate change report released
Petone, Seaview, and central Porirua have been identified as the Wellington areas likely to be worst-affected by climate change-induced flooding.
Councils in Porirua, Hutt Valley, and Kāpiti, as well as Greater Wellington Regional Council, all chipped in to create a report that identifies which coastal areas are most at risk from sea level rise, storm surges, and flooding.
The report, being released today, shows that Petone, Seaview, and central Porirua, are most-vulnerable, followed by coastal areas of Paraparaumu, Eastbourne, and Pauatahanui inlet.
Wellington City, which commissioned its own report in 2013, was left out of this report but, last week it was revealed that the council had unofficially ditched the best-case scenario of a 0.6m sea level rise and now had 1.5m as the best-case scenario this century. That would lead to a large part of central Wellington and some suburbs being inundated.
Regional councillor Roger Blakeley, who has the infrastructure portfolio, said vulnerability in the regional report was judged via a range of measures, including predicted sea level rise, how infrastructure would be affected, how many people lived in area, as well as cultural, socio-economic, and ecological considerations.
Each council would now have to decide what they would do with the information. That could range from sea walls – often a short-term fix at best – to people ditching their homes and moving, he said.
Legal advice obtained from councils was that they wouldn't have to mention the report on land information memorandums (Lims) and it would be up to each council whether they chose to.
Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan didn't favour a managed retreat along the district's coastline.
"Our first step is to defend these properties – both council and private – we have too much at stake."
Instead, a scheme could see home owners pay extra rates to fund or pay back a loan for new protective infrastructure.
A precedent was set in 1978 when, following a major storm surge, the Government made both a grant and loan toward seawalls for the district, he said.
Legal advice obtained by the council said they did not have to add any of the report's findings to Lims.
Hutt City Council confirmed the report would be linked to on its Lim reports and Mayor Ray Wallace said there were already talks happening among councils about how to deal with climate change coastal hazards.
"What is clear through these discussions and the work to date is that climate change affects us all and so there are benefits to working together," Wallace said.
"We are preparing to engage with coastal communities to develop options for responding to climate change and we will be working with our communities to inform the development of adaptation responses."
Porirua City Councillor and mayoral contender 'Ana Coffey said the council was working on its own, more detailed, report into coastal hazards.
The regional council's recent report would not be added to LIMs, she said.
"But our own report we're doing through the District Plan, once that's gone through the proper channels and community consultation, it will be added."
The council didn't yet have a position on whether coastlines should be defended or retreated from.