- UNWAVERING: Warren Davies, pictured with granddaughter Olivia Wright, says the council’s policy is based on guesswork. Picture: Ryan Osland
A TIDE of opposition surfaced last night against Lake Macquarie City Council’s handling of rising-sea level threats.
About 150 residents packed into Marks Point Bowling Club, many concerned for their property rights and values.
Marks Point resident Warren Davies, who has lived on the waterfront for 12 years, was among many residents who believed the council had overreacted to rising-sea level risks.
“It’s a lot of presumption and guessing,” Mr Davies said of the council’s approach.
As recently reported, the council is developing an “adaptation plan” in the low-lying suburbs of Marks Point and Belmont South, with plans to follow in other areas.
Council staff said that options to be considered included removing houses, building retaining walls on private property, levees, landfill and setting buildings back on longer blocks.
However, the council also said no decisions on planning for future flooding options had been made.
Swansea resident Sue Price, a real estate agent, told the meeting that properties in Marks Point had been devalued from “the 600s to the high 400s” since the council placed “sea level rise” notations on section 149 certificates of about 10,000 properties in 2009.
The council approved its controversial sea level-rise policy five years ago, which was to affect new developments in low-lying and flood-prone areas.
Coastal Residents secretary Pat Aiken criticised council staff who created the policy, saying “they’re certainly not here to serve you and you’re paying for them”.
“They’re destroying your livelihood,” Mr Aiken said.
“These people aren’t elected.”
He urged people to “stand up and be organised” and lobby elected councillors to change the policy.
The council had repeatedly insisted it was acting prudently and managing risk in response to widely accepted science.
Residents demanded that the council dump its sea level-rise policy, given the state government’s stand on the subject.
The O’Farrell government dumped the former Labor government’s sea level-rise planning standards last September.