Three meetings to discuss hazards of climate change

A series of public meetings will offer Waitaki residents the opportunity to learn about the district’s natural hazards.

The Waitaki District Council’s council would host three public meetings, presenting its coastal communities with information gathered by National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) and the Otago Regional Council during its update of the district’s coastal hazard mapping.

The district council’s heritage and planning manager, Hamish Barrell, said the public would have the opportunity to hear how the evidence was gathered.

He said one of the main focuses would be on how the council would adapt to climate change, and where these adaptations would need to take place.

"This is a forum to get involved, and we really encourage them to do so.

"It affects everybody, even if you’re not directly in a natural hazard [zone] ... it’s good to give people the option to be informed."

Two meetings would be held to discuss coastal erosion and inundation with representatives from Niwa and the regional council in attendance.

In a statement the council said low-lying costal areas were vulnerable to sea flooding during storms, particularly at high tide.

It said these vulnerable areas were likely to become more so as sea levels rose and future storms that could be more intense.

Areas closes to rivers and creeks were also vulnerable to high seas pushing river water inland.

The district was also experiencing a "long-term retreat" of its coastline which threatened "communities, infrastructure, and assets".

It described Oamaru as experiencing "rapid recession" of its soft sediment cliffs.

As of 2019, Waitaki Boys’ High School had lost 65m of one of its sport fields.

Meetings would be held at 11am in the Moeraki Coronation Hall and at 6pm at Kakanui Community Centre, on April 18.

An additional meeting would be held in Papakaio Hall on April 19, at 7pm, to provide information on the Waitaki River floodplain assessment overlay.

The assessment covered the southern side of the Waitaki River that could be subject to flooding by the river.

Representatives from the regional and district council would be at the meeting.

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