Below is a summary of CCPA’s Position Paper prepared in February 2010. To see a full copy of the Position Paper click CCPA Position Paper Mar 2012 as at 24 Mar
A Position Paper addendum as at April 2012 was produced at Easter 2012.
The Coastal Communities Protection Alliance Wooli Inc (CCPA) has prepared this paper in order to present a community position to all levels of government with respect to the Draft Wooli Village Coastal Zone Management Plan (the Plan) and associated documents.
It is CCPA ‘s view that the current Plan does not meet the new requirements of the amended Coastal Protection Act. It is the CCPA ‘s position that the Plan must to be rejected or amended for it to comply with the legislation. Consequently, the CCPA seeks further public and community consultation, investigation and relevant research of submissions and review of the further draft prior to approval by the Council of the Plan for submission to the Minister.
Responding to the Threat of Erosion and Climate Change
The release of the Plan has had an immediate radical and negative impact on the Wooli community, yet the Plan is intended to address long term highly uncertain effects. The lack of certainty provides a measure of flexibility in planning documents, but is very destructive when it significantly influences immediate decisions in existing communities.
A fundamental problem with the Plan is the way it is being utilised. The objectives and actions forming the Plan propagate immediate, high, and poorly understood impacts on an existing community and environment with no defined framework for community engagement or mitigation of impacts. The plan is justified on the basis that highly uncertain long term environmental effects could potentially pose a threat to the community.
The scoping work that has been performed to create the Plan could be used as the first step towards an alternative plan that:
1. Ensures active stakeholder engagement;
2. Maximises the value of existing (public and private) assets while managing risk;
3. Maximises development of systematic understanding of site processes and options;
4. Utilises time to enhance stakeholder outcomes;
5. Provides for implementation of the most appropriate timely interventions based
on multiâ€criteria assessment, followed by suitable maintenance and monitoring;
6. Supports a stakeholder culture of informed and managed adaptation to climate change.
The science of climate change is an evolving area and requires a robust risk management framework when considering adaption issues. The answers may not be immediately available but the science will continue to evolve in this area. The latest thinking in this rapidly emerging field has not been considered in the Plan.
The level of scientific modelling undertaken in formulating the Plan, and the alternative engineering solutions considered are inadequate. High capital options such as artificial reefs and low capital options such as dune vegetation management have been mentioned, consistent with a Scoping Study level of investigation, but this level of evaluation is not sufficient for an implementation decision.
The extent of community engagement to date has been inadequate.
Potential financial solutions
CCPA has outlined in section 4 some potential financial solutions for all levels of government to consider, should further research and consultation determine that potential engineering solutions will require significant funding. The potential financial solutions identified are indicative only and significant additional work will be required to determine their appropriateness for the situation. The key point to note is that CCPA wishes to engage with all levels of government to proactively work up financial solutions, as well as engineering ones. CCPA also recognises that any engineering solutions are likely to require a significant amount of long term research and maintenance expenditure, so our financial solutions are focused on generating annuity streams, not just a lump sum of money.
CCPA strongly recommends the Clarence Valley Council to:
1. Reject the current Wooli Village Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan, and particularly the aspects around planned retreat, as it is not collaborative, engaging or flexible enough to effectively utilise current best practice or emerging knowledge in the field of coastal management;
2. Engage with the stakeholders (including the Wooli community) to develop an alternative comprehensive management plan for the Wooli Coastline;
3. Seek support from the New South Wales state government for a more accommodating and responsive legislative framework ;
4. Support the adoption of any available immediate short term solutions, such as the reconstruction of the dune care group in Wooli with an active focus on bush regeneration;
CCPA has had positive discussions with members of Coastal Research Units (CRUs) at Sydney and Griffith universities and the international Hydrological Engineering firm Amalgamate Solutions and Research (ASR). Other CRU ‘s have been identified at The University of NSW. and Macquarie and Wollongong Universities. The expertise available through this collaboration is enormous. While the solution to coastal sand loss and erosion issues in Wooli may be as yet unknown, one will be found but only after adequate research and preparation. A state wide approach and federal engagement will be required and links through the NSW government and these universities will identify financial assets for research grants and facilitate solutions to planning and legislative obstacles.
CCPA wishes to continue to engage with CVC and the state government to develop funding and engineering solutions. We are confident that if the CVC and the NSW Government work collaboratively with the community, we can together achieve an appropriate response to the real threats of beach erosion and climate change on the village of Wooli. We are also confident that such a response is unlikely to involve planned retreat.