- Last updated:
- 10 Apr 2018
Sunshine Coast Council is about to start the development of a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) for the region.
What area coastal hazards and why is it important to plan for them
Coastal hazards include:
- beach erosion which is the short-term effects of erosion in coastal areas due to storms
- coastal recession which is coastal erosion which occurs over a long period of time
- coastal inundation which is related to flooding caused by storm waves and storm surge, permanent inundation due to sea level rise and short-term inundation associated with king tides.
These hazards are important as they have the potential to impact on our natural and built environments and the people and businesses within these coastal hazard zones. For example, these hazards have the potential to:
- degrade the quality of our coastal waters, estuaries and foreshores
- damage buildings, roads and infrastructure
- disrupt essential services
- effect the useability of beaches, parks and foreshores
- reduce recreation and tourism opportunities.
Why do we need a CHAS
Traditionally, we have sought to reduce the effects of these hazards through a range of measures including:
- the implementation of disaster and land use planning requirements
- undertaking coastal management activities such as sand dune restoration, beach replenishment and the provision of protective works
- setting appropriate design standards for buildings and infrastructure.
However, there is evidence that our climate is changing and these actions may not be as effective in the future. For example, we are expecting changes in our exposure to tropical cyclones and severe storms, while sea levels will continue to rise. These changes have the potential to:
- accelerate coastal erosion
- permanently inundate low lying areas
- increase the impacts associated with storm surges and king tides.
As a result, we need to proactively plan for and adapt to climate change, particularly with regard to these changing coastal hazards. This project is about planning for the future.
Adaptation is ‘the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects’.
We need to identify the potential implications of changing coastal hazards, explore innovative approaches and new opportunities to manage these challenges and determine short, medium and long-term actions which, through collective action by individuals, businesses, communities and Council, can be implemented and adjusted over time in order to minimise these impacts and increase our resilience.
The need for this action is recognised within Councils Environment and Liveability Strategy where the development and implementation of a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy, in close collaboration with our community, is specifically identified as a required transformational action.
Developing the CHAS - current status
Council will need to complete a series of studies which will result in the development of a CHAS for the Sunshine Coast Local Government Area (LGA).
Council is seeking to engage consultants to undertake the first two studies (Phases 1 and 2) of the project. This work will be commenced in the 2017-18 financial year.
A key output from Phase 1 will be a detailed plan for stakeholder communication and engagement addressing every phase of the CHAS project. This will be essential as Council needs to understand community perspectives with regard to potential coastal hazard impacts and the identification of potential opportunities to manage these impacts.
The key product for Phase 2 is the generation of a report which informs Council and the community with regard to the scope of coastal hazard issues for our region.
It is Council’s intention to complete Phases 3 to 8 over the next two years.
Each of these phases will be supported by a dedicated community engagement program.
The QCoast2100 program
Council is receiving funding support for Phases 1 and 2 from the QCoast2100 Coastal Hazard Adaptation Program.
QCoast2100 Program is an initiative of the Queensland Government and the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) which is intended to facilitate the development of a CHAS by each coastal council in Queensland.
To date, 11 other Queensland local governments have been successful in securing funding - Moreton Bay Regional Council, Noosa Shire Council, Whitsunday Regional Council, Townsville City Council, Livingstone Shire Council, Douglas Shire Council, Torres Shire Council, Cassowary Coast Council, Mackay Council, Cairns Council and Redland City Council.
Council will also be undertaking the development of the CHAS in accordance with the minimum standards and guidelines provided through the QCoast2100 Program. These standards and other information relevant to coastal councils seeking to develop a CHAS can be found on the QCoast2100 Coastal Hazard Adaptation Program.
Council has received an offer of collaborative support from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Sustainability Research Centre and will be working closely with the University (and other technical specialists) over the course of the project.
Less technical information and guidance on changing coastal hazards and coastal hazard adaptation can be accessed via the Coast Adapt Tool which has been created by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.