The Kapiti Coast District Council Get It Wrong Again!

Published: Wed 22 Sep 2021 12:49 PM
By the end of October 2020, Council had finalized their contract of services to undertake a coastal hazard survey for Kapiti. The first volume focusing on methodology was made public in late May 2021. The second volume that identifies the hazard lines will be forthcoming in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
In July 2021, CRU sent Council its own technical review of the coastal hazard survey identifying critical flaws in the methodology.
After the release of the IPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report in August, CRU sent Council an addendum to its technical review noting that the IPCC report provides a major update on climate related aspects of coastal processes, in particular Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, which Council has incorporated into their hazard assessment.
The IPCC have now confirmed that the RCP 8.5 scenario is implausible and should be used for comparative purposes only. Consequently, the RCP 8.5 cannot be used for identifying hazard lines for planning purposes under the current Resource Management Act (RMA) and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS). Both these legislative requirements are crucial for Council to proceed with their Coastal Hazard chapter (which had been previously withdrawn in its entirety), for any future district plan.
Both Council staff and elected officials have been made aware of these concerns. However, numerous requests to engage staff and Councillors to discuss these issues has failed as their default position has been to use the Council led Coastal Adaptation Panel (CAP). Unfortunately, CAP has yet to be formed.
What this means for affected homeowners is that Volume 2, the actual hazard lines, will be based on flawed science. And the Council has every intention to put these flawed hazard lines on Land Information Memorandum (LIM) and continue to pursue policies such as managed retreat.
In other words, CAP will receive a coastal hazard report that is flawed, but it will be the Council not CAP which will make decisions about any plan changes and what goes on the LIMs.
Consequently, every ratepayer in the Kapiti District has had the privilege to contribute $245 000, for the flawed science. More importantly the Council have signaled that not only are they not interested in community consultation, but that they are not committed to good science and the highly regarded IPCC findings.
As a district, we find ourselves in the same situation as 2012 when concerns about the science fell on deaf ears. Instead of working together with property owners, the Council decided to spend an exorbitant amount of our rates to go to Court, convene an independent science panel and an independent review of the Proposed District Plan, only to find the science was not fit for the purposes of planning.
The then – Councillor Gurunathan wrote in the Kapiti News, “We have blown buckets of ratepayers money, alienated good people and caused the suffering of many. We have shown the rest of New Zealand how coastal management should not be done”
Addressing the issue of coastal hazards is long overdue, but when Council gets it wrong, the entire district pays.

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