The Dominion Post

Wellington’s most vulnerable suburbs

- Tom Hunt and Virginia Fallon

Petone, Seaview and central Porirua have been identified as the Wellington areas likely to be worst-affected by climate change induced flooding.

Councils in Porirua, Hutt Valley, and Ka¯ piti, as well as Greater Wellington Regional Council, all chipped in to create a report that identifies which coastal areas are most at risk from sea-level rise, storm surges and flooding.

The report, being released today, shows that Petone, Seaview and central Porirua are most vulnerable, followed by coastal areas of Paraparaum­u, Eastbourne, and Pauatahanu­i inlet.

Wellington City, which commission­ed its own report in 2013, was left out of this report but last week it was revealed that the council had unofficial­ly ditched the best-case scenario of a 0.6-metre sea-level rise and now had 1.5m as the best-case scenario this century. That would lead to a large part of central Wellington and some suburbs being inundated.

Regional councillor Roger Blakeley, who has the infrastruc­ture portfolio, said vulnerabil­ity in the regional report was judged via a range of measures, including predicted sea-level rise, how infrastruc­ture would be affected, how many people lived in an area, as well as cultural, socio-economic and ecological considerat­ions.

Each council would now have to decide what they would do with the informatio­n. That could range from sea walls – often a short-term fix at best – to people ditching their homes and moving, he said.

Legal advice obtained from the councils was that they wouldn’t have to mention the report on land informatio­n memorandum­s (Lims) and it would be up to each council whether they chose to.

Ka¯piti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan didn’t favour a managed retreat along the district’s coastline. ‘‘Our first step is to defend these properties – both council and private – we have too much at stake.’’

Instead, a scheme could see home-owners pay extra rates to fund or pay back a loan for new protective infrastruc­ture.

A precedent was set in 1978 when, following a major storm surge, the Government made both a grant and loan toward sea walls for the district, he said.

Legal advice obtained by Ka¯ piti Coast District Council said it did not have to add any of the report’s findings to it Lims.

Hutt City Council confirmed the report would be linked to on its Lim reports and mayor Ray Wallace said there were already talks happening among councils about how to deal with climate change coastal hazards.

‘‘What is clear through these discussion­s and the work to date is that climate change affects us all and so there are benefits to working together,’’ Wallace said.

Porirua City councillor ‘Ana Coffey said the council was working on its own more detailed report into coastal hazards.

 ??  ?? A graphic from the report showing some areas around Wellington most vulnerable to climate change. Dark brown indicates the most vulnerable locations, and light yellow the least.
A graphic from the report showing some areas around Wellington most vulnerable to climate change. Dark brown indicates the most vulnerable locations, and light yellow the least.

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