Sea inundation is a 'real threat'
A LOCAL watchdog group has urged Tweed Shire Council to take seriously the impact of rising sea levels on coastal communities. The Tweed Monitor call comes after the federal government requested councils around Australia to provide climate change risk assessments. Monitor spokesman Jerry Cornford yesterday said long-term residents would remember the southern end of Marine%Parade, Kingscliff, went under water during the 1974 floods, and that Tweed Shire’s 1-in-50-year flood line included Marine Parade. Mr Cornford said if this flood- line, showing the limit to which sea water could surge during bad floods and storms, was drawn south across Cudgen Creek it would extend into the Salt sub-%division. He said latest storms had thrown waves, and debris washed down the creek from the recent new-year floods, into a car park near the southern breakwall, requiring council workers to clear away the debris. “Council should take this federal government risk-assessment process seriously and make Tweed’s response a matter of priority,” Mr Cornford told the Tweed Daily News. He said that although Tweed Shire administrators had amended a plan to build an anti-erosion rock wall along the beachfront from the Kingscliff Bowls Club to the surf lifesaving club so that the wall would only be erected in front of the surf club, this was a sensible decision because such walls could actually encourage erosion and scouring. Mr Cornford said he understood council’s long-term plan for dealing with rising sea levels seemed to be a “retreat” strategy, in which people and buildings would move further away from the beach as the seas rose. Tweed Shire’s engineering and operations director Patrick Knight said Tweed floodplain management studies were taking climate change into account, including the possibility of rising sea levels. Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong on Thursday confirmed some risk-assessment work on the impact of rising sea%levels had already begun through the Council of Australian Governments, amid concern that some councils could be approving property development in areas at risk of future inundation. Reports this week revealed the Australian Local Government%Association believed coastal areas were at risk from climate change, but there was a lack of modelling of possible inundation.