Smart response needed to rising sea levels
THE news that three-quarters of Queensland’s coastal towns are under threat from rising sea levels (DM 14/06/18, p.5) should be a concern to everyone in Mackay, especially those who are planning new developments.
The Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council have recently decided that we should intensify development along the coastline and Pioneer River by putting in place a Priority Development Area.
Low lying areas such as East Mackay will bear the brunt of climate change according to a presentation last week by experts from CQUniversity.
They said that while it is very difficult to accurately predict sea level rise in our region we can expect up to one metre increase by 2100.
The implications for people in Mackay are likely to be severe.
A paper prepared for the Actuaries Institute in 2014 estimated that people living in natural disaster zones could be facing insurance premiums on buildings totalling 38 per cent of their annual household income by 2100.
That’s a significant economic risk.
The 1918 Mackay cyclone killed 30 people in a town of just over 5000 residents. It was reported that during the cyclone a wall of water 7.6 metres high swept over our beaches and waves of 2.4 to 2.7 metres were breaking in the centre of the city.
We should not be putting more people’s lives and financial well-being at risk by increasing development in the coastal zone.
The smartest response to rising sea levels is to gradually move people away from those flood prone areas and use them as a buffer against the increasingly hazardous natural disasters we are going to face in future. Peter McCallum, Coordinator, Mackay Conservation Group