Elevating sea levels


A recently released report reveals a concerning reality for residents along the Hawke’s Bay coast, as thousands of homes fall within a coastal inundation zone, making them vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels.

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Commissioned by Napier, Hastings, and regional councils, the Tonkin and Taylor report sheds light on the potential flooding effects due to rising sea levels over the next 70 years. The extensive document underscores the vulnerability of over two thousand homes.

Upon receiving a council letter notifying him of the report, Westshore resident Andy Walker expressed little surprise. He emphasized the urgency of addressing the situation promptly, calling for permanent solutions to mitigate the risks.

Despite ongoing efforts such as seawall reconstruction and recent protective initiatives, financial constraints have impeded comprehensive mitigation plans. This has led to stalled projects along the East Coast, with not all residents in different suburbs supporting the costs associated with protective infrastructure.

Napier City Council has taken proactive measures by conducting information sessions for residents to address future building requirements. Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise stressed the need for a cohesive national policy and framework to assist councils nationwide. She urged the central government to step up and take a leadership role in developing such policies.

Environment Minister Penny Simmonds acknowledged the concerns and mentioned ongoing discussions about partnerships with local authorities. While no decisions have been made at the Cabinet level, awareness of the work being done is evident.

Residents remain hopeful that the report’s findings will lead to more permanent solutions, although the road ahead is challenging. The pressing need for action remains paramount to safeguard coastal communities from the looming risks of inundation.