Residents face climate change flood report wait

A MAJOR flood report has been completed detailing the effects of climate change in Port Fairy but the findings will not be made public for at least another four months. 

Moyne Shire has received a finished draft of a 12-month study documenting the combined effects of rising sea levels coupled with storm tides.

The report — the Port Fairy coastal hazard assessment, has potentially major implications for home owners and future development along the coastline and the Moyne River.

However, council will not release details of the report until March next year. 

Moyne Shire director of sustainable development Oliver Moles said the findings would be reviewed by academics, while councillors would need to be briefed.

Two separate studies into the possibility of opening the south-west passage and erosion of East Beach, which are yet to be finished, will also be included in the report.

“The biggest issue for Australian communities other than population growth is rising sea levels,” Mr Moles said.

“We’ve now received a draft report which takes into account rising sea levels and the impact on the loch (Moyne River).”

Speaking to The Standard this week Mr Moles remained tight-lipped on the extent of rising sea levels in Port Fairy. 

But he foreshadowed public meetings early next year  after the reports were  completed and council was confident in the accuracy of the findings. 

“In March next year we’ll start talking to the community. We’re trying to do this sensibly,” he said. 

“There will be some solid discussion that needs to occur.” 

Port Fairy was one of five seaside townships included in a state government-funded study to plot the future of the Victorian coastline. 

Moyne Shire committed about $40,000 to the study undertaken by New South Wales-based Water Research Laboratories. 

“The findings in Port Fairy will raise significant issues for other communities along the coast,” Mr Moles said. 

“If the sea is rising and it’s attacking the sand dunes then the community will need to adapt.” 

Numerous studies have been conducted into flooding in Port Fairy, including a recent announcement by the state government to fund a $90,000 flood warning and intelligence extension project. 

s.mccomish@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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