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A future focus for Leithfield Beach community

Wednesday, January 24, 2024   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: climate action, resilience, planning

Hurunui District Council media release: 23rd January 2024

The Coastal Adaptation Plan (CAP) for the Leithfield Beach community sets out an adaptive pathway plan to help them prepare for sea level rise over the next 100 years.

The CAP is the result of the collaborative work ‘Coastal Conversations’ which began in 2020, between Hurunui District Council (HDC) and the Leithfield Beach community. Information provided by coastal scientists from the engineering firm Jacobs has been instrumental in this collaboration.

During a series of community-focussed conversations, HDC shared information about how increasing coastal hazards would impact the settlement, possible solutions were discussed, and the community provided feedback and local knowledge.

The draft CAP was released in October 2023, and identified a range of options for the Leithfield Beach community to consider for reducing or limiting the risk of coastal inundation, rising groundwater levels and coastal erosion.

Council’s Chief Strategy and Community Officer Judith Batchelor said the aim of the holistic community-centred approach was to enable Leithfield Beach residents to create an adaptive plan which is in-keeping with their own community values.

“The purpose of the CAP is to leave pathways open, due to the uncertainty of timeframes and severity of increasing coastal hazards.”

Adaptive pathway options in the CAP for Leithfield Beach include a bund around the settlement, dune planting and proactive relocation.

“The adaptive planning approach allows for flexibility,” said Batchelor.

Mayor Marie Black said the CAP aligns well with Council’s Strategy.

“One of the key focus areas of the Strategy is about supporting communities to develop and shape their own direction, another is about creating sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

Mayor Black said its adoption was testament to the positive relationship between Council and its beach communities, creating an important foundation for the future challenges these communities may face.

South Ward Councillor Robbie Bruerton applauded the strong engagement within the community throughout the process, which has played a critical role in establishing the CAP.

“Many options were put in front of residents, the selection they’ve collectively decided on should stand them in good stead, for a future which is yet to be determined.”

The other coastal communities in Hurunui have been part of the ‘Coastal Conversations’ including Amberley Beach, Gore Bay, Claverley and Motunau.

Find out more about the Coastal Conservations in the Hurunui District.