An artist's impression of what Tweed Heads will look like in 100 years.
An artist's impression of what Tweed Heads will look like in 100 years.

Rising sea levels predicted

THE Tweed stands to lose more than 2000 homes in the wake of climate change, according to a new report.

A devastating premonition into the coastline’s future shows rising sea levels and extreme weather will inundate several low-level suburbs in the Tweed.

According to a simulated inundation, parts of Fingal Head, Tweed Heads South, Tweed Heads West, Bilambil and Piggabeen would go under due to the flooding of Terranora Broadwater, Cobaki Broadwater and the Tweed River.

The alarming report, Climate change risks to Australia’s coast, is the first national assessment of the risks of climate change for the country’s coastal zone.

The findings are based on reports of a 1.1 metre sea rise by the turn of the century and more extreme weather situations.

It was released by the federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong on Saturday.

See a simulation of Tweed Heads before and after

But Fingal Road resident Chris Hitchcock is not fazed by forewarnings of rising sea levels threatening his property

“I am worried about it (climate change) but this is a long time away, a lot can be done between now and then,” Mr Hitchcock said.

“There is definitely some truth to it all though.

“Hopefully the government is doing what they can.”

Mr Hitchcock believes there is a lot that can be done in the next 90 years to prevent losing Fingal Road and surrounding areas to rising sea levels.

“It’s a long way away so there is time to plan and develop technology and infrastructure to help out.”

The 38-year-old, who has lived in his single-level Fingal property for the past 12 months, chose not to evacuate when flood waters threatened his property in May.

“It only came up to the driveway at the worst time,” he said.

Southern Cross University Regional Climate Change Centre director Professor Graham Jones yesterday called for Tweed Shire Council to form a coastal care committee to deal with information such as this.

“Council should be forming committees to concentrate on the planning for sustainable coast developments,” Prof Jones said.

Prof Jones said it may be time for council to also consider which areas in particular developments should be planned for.

“It is commonsense to plan ahead,” he said.

“Climate change is not going to go away, but it’s not all going to happen one day in 90 years. It’s going to be noticeable every decade.

“We don’t know for certain in another 90 years if this will all happen. It may end up being half of what is expected.”

A Tweed Shire Council spokeswoman said councillors would deliberate findings of the report in a meeting on December 15.

“Council is currently reviewing the information recently released by both the Commonwealth and state governments in regards to climate change and specifically information regarding the Tweed,” the spokeswoman said.

“Climate change affects many areas of council from planning to natural resource management and we need to consider this information carefully.

“A report outlining council’s response to the recently released climate change information is anticipated to be put to the next council meeting for consideration.”

According to the report, the Gold Coast is at risk of losing 12,000 properties.

In total about 100,000 houses on the New South Wales coast are at risk of inundation from the rising sea level.


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