NB: this is a Short Black and one biscuit post.
With so many topics to talk about, I might as well discuss the one that has been in the news so frequently of late.
Coastal Retreat, the orderly withdrawal from coastal lands as residential areas. These are dirty words for those who own homes within the coastal retreat areas mapped out by councils with data input from hydrologists and geotechnical engineers. But those who continue to put their heads in the sand and deny that loss of coastal lands to sea rises is actually happening; are literally doing that – putting their heads in the sand.
Coastal Retreat is not something that is just happening in faraway obscure places dotted around New Zealand. It is in full flight in the main cities – the cliff collapses on Auckland’s North Shore, seawater inundating Tamaki Drive and properties in the eastern bays, Wellington’s south coast suburbs, the Flood Management Area in the newly sunk eastern suburbs of Christchurch coupled with the greater tides around New Brighton and the Estuary; and Dunedin’s suburbs that lie less that 50cms above the Spring tide mark.
Perhaps it’s time to leave the coastal land purchases to unwitting overseas buyers. We get their money and the sea gets their land. Sounds fair to me!
Places like Granity and Haumoana have slowly been reclaimed by the sea for several years now, but the recent storms (including Fehi) showed us that any coastal land is fair game to the sea invading. Take a look at wealthy Monaco Island in Nelson for example. The current owners of these properties and associated homes must simply lie awake at night, sickened by the loss of value to their greatest asset.
The media attention is probably doing enough to scare off new purchasers of these properties but the affected home owners need to start putting their thinking caps on and find ways to mitigate their loss of beach, land and financial investment. Adaptation is their only help now. There is surely a market for those in the construction and engineering fraternities to help these owners reclaim their property value and prepare for future events.