‘Managed Retreat’ was introduced by the Council into the proposed district plan in 2012 and as a result caused widespread panic among individual homeowners. ‘Managed retreat’ is defined, in the context of coastal erosion, as allowing an area that was not previously exposed to flooding by the sea to become flooded by removing coastal protection.
In December 2012, the KCDC published on their website “In some cases, properties will lose access to water/storm water/sewerage services even before their land or buildings will suffer damage”. Natural Hazards: Frequently Asked Questions, Kapiti Coast District Council, 2012.
Following political controversy and independent reviews, the managed retreat provisions were withdrawn from the proposed plan.
However the Council has now decided to bring them back in through ‘the back door’, by keeping the operative plan provisions, which included managed retreat as an option for protection works like sea walls.
Under the heading of Operative District Plan Provisions to Remain in force recently advertised by the Council, subheading C.9.1 Objectives and Policies, Policy 4 states:
POLICY 4: Discourage coastal protection works on the Coastal Marine Area interface where they are not already present and encourage management options such as managed retreat and coastal re-nourishment rather than hard engineering works when protection works are sought.
In the absence of specific coastal hazard provisions, these PDP character provisions look like “managed retreat by stealth”. The KCDC are busily building coastal protection structures to solve their own problems presently, while leaving coastal homeowners high and dry to resolve their own problems in the future.
The KCDC are proposing to “lock in” this type of natural character protection without corresponding coastal hazard mitigation and protection provisions.
This is in my opinion “managed retreat by stealth”.
This plan change process is entirely unfair and ill conceived – and poorly executed from the word go.
In preparing the PDP, the Council appears to have assumed that it will, in the future, adopt a policy of not managing erosion except in some limited areas.
The policy of managed retreat is inapplicable in an accreting coastline. Also, there is no need for managed retreat in areas where the effects of erosion can be mitigated cost-effectively.
Managed Retreat is premature strategy and needs further Community consultation.
We are where we started in 2012.
Managed retreat or managed retreat by stealth is not the way forward.
Dougherty’s notice follows (click for large versions)