“But we have to be very careful not to want to throw the blunt glove across the line, when there is a process we can take that is reasonable and balanced.”
Councilor Brian Stockwell feared the council was too conservative, referring to stern warnings contained in a 2019 report on the impact of climate change on the Queensland economy by consultants Ernst and Young.
“It’s really important that we don’t underestimate the risk and provide the information necessary for our planners to make sound decisions and also for individual lot owners,” said Cr Stockwell.
The Council’s research shows that erosion at two beaches immediately south of Noosa will worsen significantly by 2040.
The areas most at risk are the Sunrise and Sunshine beaches, with erosion threatening not only the picturesque beaches, but also the luxury homes along the waterfront. Nearby Peregian Beach is also at risk.
“As the sea level continues to rise, an increasing number of private assets are expected to be exposed to coastal erosion, some considered to be at very high risk as early as the year 2040,” the research shows.
So what can we do? According to the council, replacing the sand washed away by Peregian Beach and Sunshine Beach would cost more than $ 200 million by 2100, but would have “a positive net present value of $ 239 million.”
Sand replenishment is one of the cheapest responses to sea level rise. A cost-benefit analysis of the buried dyke proposals – one to protect the Peregian section at Sunshine Beach and a second to protect the beach of Teewah on the north coast of Noosa – revealed that the huge cost could not be justified, in part because such interventions would still impact tourism, landscapes and the environment.
The analysis found that the Peregian sea wall at Sunshine Beach would amount to a loss of $ 2.77 billion for the region, while the north sea wall at Teewah Beach would represent a loss of $ 77 million. And the dikes would further aggravate erosion by slowing the restoration of beaches.
“The loss of sandy beach that would be a virtually inevitable result of this option would negatively affect the recreational, tourist, scenic and ecological values associated with the beach on a significant scale,” the council said.
Other more controversial options ruled out in the latest iteration of the plan include the council’s temporary “bails-bails” on private land to allow for major dune repair.
However, the monitoring of tides and sea level to be reinforced at the request of the inhabitants would still be relevant.
The Noosa Council’s second draft coastal risk adaptation plan was unanimously adopted at a special meeting on Friday and will be the subject of further consultations.
He acknowledges that low-lying areas along the Noosa River, particularly between Noosaville and Tewantin, will be inundated by rising tides and storm surges.
Royal tides will become much more frequent, research shows, and erosion of Noosa Heads main beach is now a major problem.
“The coastal erosion risk assessment at Noosa Heads shows that the level of risk for all assets built along the Noosa Main Beach waterfront is already considered intolerable,” the draft plan says.
“In addition, the risks to the natural assets of the Noosa Woods region will become intolerable by 2070.”
Councilors agreed that the economic impact on Noosa Main Beach should be identified separately from the impact on Noosa’s Hasting Street shopping district.
Once finalized, Noosa’s plan will be the third to be completed under a $ 13 million Queensland government’s QCoast2100 initiative, forcing 32 councils to act on rising sea levels. from Bundaberg and Sunshine Coast have already responded.
Noosa council says the plan will have no impact on private land, but could shape future development options in the city plan.
The Noosa region is home to over 55,000 people and 45 kilometers of coastline, from Peregian Beach in the north to Great Sandy National Park on the north coast of Noosa.
The scale of the possible changes has generated considerable community tensions in the Noosa region.
Friday’s special meeting followed six weeks of community consultation and then three months of in-depth meetings that drew 230 submissions.
The mayor said council should not have to go it alone on the issue.
“We would like to see a lot more state level things,” said Cr Stewart.
There are now three weeks of public consultation left, until November 1, before binding final changes return to government as part of state planning policies.