Council sets planning benchmark after accepting CSIRO’s prediction on rising sea levels
North Shore Times•
March 19, 20132:08PM
Areas near Stoker Park, Castlecrag, are expected to be affected by rising sea levels. Picture: Sandison Yie Source: NewsLocal
SEAWALLS, boatsheds, jetties, a starch mill and a handful of properties in Northbridge and Castlecrag are expected to be impacted by a three-foot rise in sea level by 2100.
That’s the prediction being made by Australia’s leading scientists at CSIRO and accepted by Willoughby Council last week as a planning benchmark.
Willoughby Council’s director of environmental services, Greg Woodhams, said research had identified a number of properties that would be impacted.
“The modelling shows council-owned cottages on the northern escarpment of Castlecrag could be affected and one other property, a battleaxe on the waterfront at Northbridge, will likely be affected,” Mr Woodhams said.
He said the Sir Joseph Clifton Love starch mill on the Lane Cove River would also be impacted by a rise in sea level.
The research was adopted by the council after lengthy debate about the viability of the science and the benefit of adopting “unsettled” research.
“We’re predicting the future before it occurs,” Cr Hugh Eriksson said.
He said property values could be impacted if the council adopted the science.
Councillors Judith Rutherford and Tony Mustaca agreed that the science was not yet settled and predictions were “frightening” and “extreme”.
But Cr Nic Wright said it was important to accept the experts’ recommendations.
“It seems ridiculous to me that we would ignore the scientists when the topic is science,” Cr Wright said.
Cr Wendy Norton said the council could be open to litigation if it failed to act sensibly on the matter.
“I have an anxiety about somebody buying a property who would have every right to say to us that you had evidence that the sea level is rising and have taken no steps to protect people by noting that.”
CSIRO is predicting a sea level rise of 40cm by 2050 and 90cm by 2100 and councils were given the option to either accept the predictions or establish their own after the NSW Government last year abandoned a state-wide approach.