Ris­ing wa­ter lev­els: pre­pare now

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

LIV­ING ar­eas in homes on the Swan River need to be built high enough in the fu­ture to avoid in­creas­ing sea lev­els from cli­mate change, ac­cord­ing to Ned­lands Mayor Max Hip­kins.

“What we need to con­sider is a min­i­mum height level for liv­ing ar­eas while al­low­ing un­der­crofts, carpark­ing and stor­age un­der­neath,” Mr Hip­kins said.

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Oz­coasts, an on­line data­base that pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about Aus­tralia's coasts, has mod­elled the river’s high­est tides in com­bi­na­tion with pos­si­ble 0.5m. 0.8m or 1.1m sea level rises by 2100 and in­di­cates most low-ly­ing fore­shore will be af­fected.

How­ever, last month, Cli­mate Risk Aus­tralia map­ping in­di­cated high tides, storm surges and rises com­bined could reach up to 2.7m, in­clud­ing

Perth, be­cause the Green­land and Antarc­tic ice shelves were melt­ing quicker. Mr Hip­kins said while any rise may not reach those lev­els, coun­cils

had to be pre­pared.

“Any­one can now put in a base­ment along here, which would be an un­wise de­ci­sion at this time,” he said

River­wall-pro­tected park­land in front of Ned­lands homes was marsh be­fore coloni­sa­tion. River­walls that were used to cre­ate parks and in­fra­struc­ture could be the first struc­tures un­der­mined by the ef­fect of global warm­ing.

Mr Hip­kins wants a min­i­mum height for liv­ing ar­eas in river­side homes up to one block back from the first street.

“If you start early with these things you avoid fu­ture costs, and peo­ple are al­ready putting car garages un­der­neath their homes,” he said.

The new rule is not in the coun­cil’s lat­est town plan­ning scheme, cur­rently with the WA Plan­ning Com­mis­sion for com­ment, but Mr Hip­kins said he could in­tro­duce it later this year.

The Com­mis­sion’s poli­cies di­rect coastal and river­side plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment to re­duce flood risk, but its spokesman said set­ting floor lev­els for river flooding was a coun­cil re­spon­si­bil­ity guided by the Swan River Trust and the De­part­ment of Wa­ter.

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