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Sea level back flips at Coila

The Beagle Editor, Driving south along the Princes Highway along the flat section adjacent to Coila Lake the other day I look across and see thousands of little white plastic shrouds obviously protecting newly planted trees. After making enquiries I am told that our Green Corps brigade have planted them all. Here are the questions… The said area on the western side from black hill to Coila creek is a salt pan. From time to time Coila Lake fills and when it does Council has a policy that says what height it has to reach before it can be opened. Currently, the following conditions are required to initiate an opening of the lake’s entrance channel - Water levels > RL 2.0m AHD or Water levels > RL 1.80m AHD for more than 3 months Council were the ones who came up with these heights based on "science" and they have stuck to these trigger heights totally ignoring the outcry of landowners along Coila Creek who have to put up with 3 months of needless bog and stench from being flooded and natural vegetation such as the casurinas and mangroves rotting. Low and behold their "science" has changed and now the very same Council staff member who came up with the original triggers has come up with some new ones in their latest draft. The recommended changes are to – Lower the “Immediate Opening” trigger level to 1.8m AHD Reduce the “Saturation” trigger to 1.5m AHD Reduce the “saturation” trigger duration to 2 months. Looks like they got their science wrong. This is the same mob that said that the Long term trigger target (ideal 2100 level) should be RL 3.0 to 3.3m AHD, with preference for allowing natural breakout wherever possible. This is the same mob who told us all at a public meeting that Council would have to lift the level of paths and sewerage and land owners would jst have to get used to being flooded more because the opening trigger was going UP. It is due to council's "science" and their hard nosed arrogant attitude to the lake opening triggers that the Casuarinas that they are now replanting slowly but surely died because they weren’t designed to live in water. So why on earth did all our taxpayer dollars get spent replanting the same area and maybe more importantly when this area fills with water again and remains flooded for months on end because council refuses to open the lake at a sensible trigger level who is going to put their hand up and take responsibility for the ten thousand plastic shrouds that may well end up in the lake and eventually out to sea. To add insult to it all the "science" that the Council's environment people use (yes, this is all their making) is that the lake might go up to 1.8m and it has to sit there at 1.8m for three months. If it goes back below 1.8m the timer starts again so the locals can easily have their land flooded for more than three months - and that really does stink. This is what there science wanted in their last report Offer incentives to owners of low-lying private rural property (< RL 3.0m) to accommodate migration of riparian vegetation communities under higher water levels (including sea level rise provisions). Progressive and opportunistic raising of low lying roads, including Princes Highway, allowing for sufficient cross-flow (ie don’t impose barriers to habitat migration) Progressive and opportunistic raising or removal of assets and infrastructure around lake fringes (eg sewer manholes) Opportunistic filling of private non-rural property upon future development (for land < RL 3.0mAHD ), except where adjacent to SEPP-14 wetlands, and providing no impact on flood behavior, vegetation, etc Progressive raising of minimum floor levels for fringing development (eg Coila service station) through changes to planning instruments. Future minimum floor level to be 1 in 100yr flood level + 0.5 metres, assuming entrance breakout at RL 3.2m (which includes provision for sea level rise). So rather than all of that they now say, after really p*ssing people off for years, that it was all wrong. What other science are these guys making up? If they refute the sea level rise maybe that means all the 6500 people affected by their Sea Level Rise Policy have nothing to worry about either because they stuffed up that "science" as well. Pete Ward Moruya

#Opinion #Tuross

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