Central Coast adrift on a sea of fear due to exaggerated predictions of sea-level rises
The Daily Telegraph – 17 February 2015 – Jim O’Rourke
Angry property owners, some of whom have homes valued at up to $5 million, say the ban on building inside flood zones is based on old climate change information.
Bucking the trend… Wyong Mayor Doug Eaton is going against the predictions.
THE future of more than 4000 residential and business land owners on the Central Coast is in limbo because of exaggerated local council predictions of sea-level rises supposedly caused by global warming.
Residents fear property values will be slashed, tourism development will be “sterilised” and household insurance premiums will skyrocket if Gosford Council pushes ahead with proposed contingency plans to protect homes and businesses from flooding.
The council believes the ocean will rise 40cm by 2050, and 90cm by the end of the century, meaning land owners will not be allowed to renovate their homes if they are within coastal “hazard lines”.
It is even considering stopping land owners from doing maintenance work on their beachside properties.
However, two other coastal councils have revised down their sea-level predictions.
“We threw those levels out — the stats we looked at didn’t bear out a sea-level rise of that magnitude,” Wyong mayor Doug Eaton said.
Eurobodalla Council on the south coast has introduced realistic sea-level rise predictions of just 23cm by 2050.
Businessman John Singleton has urged councils to do their own research. Picture: Adam Knott
Gosford mayor Lawrie McKinna says the restrictions are in place to protect people. Picture: Peter Clark
Businessman John Singleton, who has strong Central Coast connections, said councils should not be swayed by research saying sea levels will rise by close to 100cm.
“This is rubbish. Councils should not be deciding what it does now based on something that will probably not happen in 35 years’ time,” he said.
In its Open Coast and Broken Bay Beaches Coastal Zone Management Study, Gosford Council says it wants to protect “vulnerable” beaches from hazards that could “potentially impact property development”.
Gosford mayor Lawrie McKinna said flood-level predictions and hazard lines were in place to protect residents from potential inundation.
But angry property owners, some of whom have homes valued at up to $5 million, say the ban on building inside flood zones is based on old climate change information.
Lobby group Coastal Residents Inc is fighting Gosford Council’s predictions, which it has based on old NSW government guidelines and research that was released up to five years ago.
A Coastal Residents spokesman said council was ignoring the latest predictions from the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that suggest sea levels will rise by just 25cm by 2050.