Letter: Constituents let down

How many people know that potential buyers for their property are being told that it is at risk on account of sea level rise?

You may not be among the 12,000 or so whose S149 Planning Certificates now include this warning, but if your property is below five metres AHD (about the height of the Clyde River bridge roadway), then it will have such an annotation.

Council did this on the basis of a policy adopted in 2010, called the Interim Sea Level Rise Adaptation Policy, and about 25 per cent of all properties in the Eurobodalla have been adversely affected by that policy.

Recently the NSW Government passed new sea level rise legislation to stop this kind of thing. The legislation removes reference to sea level rise benchmarks adopted by the previous government in order to make councils focus on adapting to sea level rise using risk management approaches.

This is the opposite of council’s policy, which is heavily geared towards abandoning property in the face of sea level rise – a so-called “planned retreat” policy.

Because of the legislative changes and the new direction that they promised, a motion to repeal council’s policy was presented to council on December 11.

It was defeated by the Mayor, Lindsay Brown, using his casting vote which gives him two votes in order resolve ties.

Because of this up to 12,000 ratepayers have been dudded by Mayor Brown and Councillors Thomson, Harding and Brice.

This is more alarming when you realise that those councillors were briefed by a 

government official only several weeks ago and who made it quite clear in his presentation that a retreat policy such as theirs was to be the last choice for coastal management planning.

One can only surmise that Crs Brown, Thomson, Harding and Brice have little understanding of what their own policy is about – assuming, of course, that they have actually read it.

Or was it just a case of ratepayers being caught up in petty politics?

It’s time that certain councillors recognise where their allegiances should be.

David Lambert, Long Beach

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