25 Aug 2016

Council staff have been given a month to report back on how the Council will respond to the recommendations made by the panel appointed to peer review a controversial coastal hazards report.

In December last year the Council asked for a second peer review of the Coastal Hazard Assessment Report prepared by Tonkin & Taylor. That report identified areas vulnerable to coastal erosion and inundation (flooding by the sea) in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, taking into account the potential impact of sea-level rise over the next 50 and 100 years.

But there were concerns raised in the community about the science behind the report and some of its findings.

beachThe Council contracted GHD Consultants to independently manage the second peer review, which was undertaken by a panel of local and international experts using terms of reference that were developed in consultation with the community.

The peer review concluded the coastal hazards report “could, and should, constitute a suitable and robust technical basis on which to proceed towards the next stage of development of coastal hazard maps for the district of Christchurch’’ after some additional scientific work and modifications, which the peer review panel outlined as recommendations.

After agreeing to receive the peer review report today, the Council asked staff to urgently come back with a plan detailing a work programme to address each of the panel’s recommendations. It is expected that all of the recommendations will be addressed. To be completed within a month, this plan will include:

  • A timeframe for completing the additional scientific work needed to update the original Coastal Hazard Assessment Report in accordance with the review’s recommendations.
  • The outcome of an urgent review of coastal hazard information on Land Information Memorandums (LIMs), which will take into account that LIM notations need to meet the Council’s statutory obligations to include hazard information if it is known to it, while reflecting the further scientific work being done.
  • Closer engagement and work planning with ECAN around coastal hazards.
  • Ongoing engagement with residents on the implications arising from coastal hazard science.
  • And any update on Central Government’s programme of work on coastal hazards.

Council General Manager Strategy and Transformation Brendan Anstiss said the additional scientific work was expected to be completed by early next year.

“The peer review panel have said that the Coastal Hazard Report should, and could, be the robust technical basis for coastal hazards, and we are committed to completing all the recommendations of the panel.

“We’d like to thank the community and the community reference group for all the hard work they’ve put in throughout the peer review process. While Christchurch has its own unique challenges, communities all around the world are grappling with planning around coastal hazards. As well as working with communities, we look forward to working more closely with ECAN and Regenerate Christchurch as we plan a response for facing the challenges here,'' Mr Anstiss said.