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Council’s sea level rules questioned

RESTRICTIONS: An artist’s impression of a revamped Swansea town centre. The council has released its master plan for the centre. WHAT’S good for the goose is good for the gander.

Lake Macquarie City Council may have to consider this saying over whether it will apply the same sea level rise and flood standards to itself that it applies to others.

The council has released its draft Swansea Streetscape Master Plan.

The plan proposes new footpaths, lighting, seating, art, bins, bike racks, drinking fountains, bollards, shade structures, banner poles and trees.

The council required new residential developments in the area to raise floor levels by more than two metres to cope with sea level rise and flood projections.

The Newcastle Herald asked the council these questions:

■Does the master plan include options to raise roads and footpaths and other infrastructure to address sea level rise and flood risk?

■If so, can you provide these details?

■How much will this cost?

■If these options aren’t planned, why not?

In response, a council statement said: ‘‘Yes. Asset life and flood risk thresholds will be considered when designs are prepared for the new assets shown in the master plan.’’

The master plan said one of its objectives was to consider the effect of sea level rise on new infrastructure.

Councillor Jason Pauling has been a critic of the council’s tough property restrictions over sea level rise projections.

‘‘If the council’s position is ‘we must be ultra-cautious on sea level rise’, then they’ll have to apply their own principles to their own infrastructure,’’ Cr Pauling said.

Cr Pauling said it would be hypocritical if the council was ‘‘imposing standards on the community that destroys dreams, but not applying them to itself’’.

Last October, councillors overruled council staff in voting 7-3 to approve a contentious dual occupancy at Swansea.

Council staff had recommended refusal over concerns about sea level rise and flood risk.

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