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A letter from Dr Brian Hoepper, PBCA representative on the Coastal Hazards Adaption Plan roundtable.....

Minna Knight’s lengthy letter in Noosa Today (16 July) provided a critical commentary on Noosa Council’s Coastal Hazards Adaptation Plan (CHAP).

Representing the Eastern Beaches Protection Association (EBPA), Ms Knight indicated that the EBPA was one of ‘seven community and resident groups publicly stating their lack of confidence in the draft CHAP’.

The Peregian Beach Community Association (PBCA) is keen to make it clear that PBCA is not one of the seven. Far from having lack of confidence in the CHAP, PBCA has applauded this timely and urgent initiative.

Further, PBCA is one of seven community groups participating in the council’s CHAP Roundtable.

PBCA welcomes honest and spirited public debate about the CHAP, but feels compelled to point out inaccuracy and misrepresentation.

Among the most serious allegations in the EBPA letter was that ‘many of the arguments in support of adverse planning changes are based on flawed, misleading data’.

Let’s be clear. The ‘data’ underpinning the CHAP is impeccably sourced, particularly in relation to the vital issue of ‘climate change’ that prompted the CHAP initiative not only in Noosa shire but in every affected Queensland council area.

The data concerning climate change, and the resulting strategies for adaptations related to coastal hazards, reflect the ‘Representative Concentration Pathway’ (RCP) developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Queensland Government has specified the particular RCP ‘pathway’ that local councils must use in developing their CHAPs.

In response to EBPA’s criticism of the CHAP, the council arranged for the Queensland Government Principal Coastal Scientist Mr Sel Sultmann to address the CHAP Roundtable meeting on 8th July.

An EBPA delegate participated in that meeting and heard Mr Sultman’s explanation of the scientific basis of the CHAP. His accompanying graphic examples of coastal damage and loss were sobering.

The Council’s ‘risk assessments’ of the future impact of climate change on coastal environments flow from this scientific basis.

The prospect of climate change impacts is unwelcome. Similarly, some essential adaptation strategies will also be unwelcome.

But climate change cannot be ‘wished away’. Rather, citizens can support the scientifically-based adaptation strategies that might ensure the future survival and flourishing of Noosa’s beachside communities.

To that end, PBCA is engaging with Noosa Council through a strategy of coastal dune protection and rehabilitation – an effective ‘natural’ response to coastal erosion.

Taking a wider view, PBCA is also urging Noosa Council to do more in the spirit of its own ‘climate emergency declaration 2019’ and its ‘Climate Change Response Plan 2021’.

Dr Brian Hoepper PBCA representative, CHAP Roundtable

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