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LTP Sumissions Close on 16 April

Readers have only one week to put together their submissions on the LTP - the most importnat document our Council prepares - it is what allows for, and constrains expenditure over the next ten years. Changes are extremely difficult to make following adoption on 26 June.

I, along with Dennis Tegg, based  on his email, intend to concentrate on the clear deficiencies in regard to funding for coastal hazard - both sea level rise, and coastal flooding/erosion. You can assume that the Plan as it stands reflects the priority bias amongst present members in regard to these issues - staff after all simply follow the instructions of elected members in arriving at draft plans.

I implore anyone who is also concerned about these issues to get onto the website and fill in a written submiussion form. Please ask to submit in person. I can tell you from long experience that written submissions are geiven scant attention without the writer being present to 'add teeth.'

Dennis has prepared a bullet point summary on thse issues that should not be repeated, rather paraphrased, and reflecting of your own thoughts on the subject. By all means add other issues with which you take exception - particularly in regard to expenditure items that appear totally 'out of kilter.'

Here are Dennis's bullet points: (Guide only - preserve the integrity of the process!)

  • The budget in the 2018-28 LTP for coastal and hazard management has been reduced from $6.68 million in the previous LTP to $3.88 million. Rather than a large reduction in spending, a substantial increase in the funding for coastal and hazard management is required.
  • The damaging storm surge on January 5 was a warning that mapping, modelling, identification and risk assessment of coastal flooding needs to be an urgent priority for spending.It is good that the Council has adopted into its LTP the climate change and sea-level rise assumptions from the Ministry for the Environment Guidance on coastal hazards. But this is meaningless unless the Council commits the necessary funds in the LTP to carry out the necessary district wide assessment of all hazards.
  • The Council needs to catch up with the coastal hazard work already done by many other councils. We have 400 km of coastline and NIWA has identified that many of our towns and communities are some of the most at risk places in the whole of New Zealand from sea level rise and coastal flooding.
  • The Council has an obligation under the 2010 New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement to carry out the necessary identification of all coastal hazards, including coastal inundation but so far has only tackled coastal erosion.
  • The continued emphasis in the LTP on coastal erosion is misplaced. The January 5 storm surge and expert advice confirms that there is far greater risk to more District properties, communities, and infrastructure from coastal flooding than from erosion. The priority for future spending must be on coastal flooding, particularly on the western side of the Peninsula.
  • There is a huge and expensive risk to Council infrastructure from coastal inundation. But only $75,000 annually has been allocated to investigate not just the roading and non-roading infrastructure at risk, but also the risk to coastal communities and water supplies. This amount is totally inadequate and needs to be substantially increased. Also, why the delay in starting this investigation until 2019/20?
  • Some foreshore suburbs within Thames Township have a potential serious risk from groundwater sea flooding, and from subsidence of reclaimed land on the foreshore. These risks must also be a priority for urgent investigation and risk assessment.
  • The high degree of risk to Thames Township (and other low-lying communities) from direct coastal inundation and from groundwater sea flooding is just ignored in the LTP. The priority for spending must be to obtain an expert assessment of the degree of risk from coastal hazards to Thames and other townships, and to then get expert advice on what options (if any) there are to protect these town(s) from coastal hazards.
  • Does Thames have a viable future in coming decades?  Funding for major projects such as the proposed new Thames sub regional swimming pool and improvements to the Rhodes Park grandstand must be deferred until a proper risk assessment of coastal hazards has been carried out, and the Council has established whether it can comply with the Ministry for the Environment guidelines on climate change and sea-level rise.

I intend to raise in addition the issue of the cost of the Shortland Wharf upgrade ($1.5m), the cost of providing wheelchair access to the Thames War Memorial$ ($267k), and the outrageous proposals regarding the Rhodes Park Grandstand ($3.133m) and Aquatic Centre ((Unknown, but possibly $22m+). These alone are responsible for a substantial proportion of the proposed Thames rate increases. 

Go the website to get the submission form - it is very easy to follow, and submit before the 16th.







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