FLIGHT OR FIGHT: Erosion at Byron Bay's Belongil Beach from 2011, may hold lessons for Noosa.
FLIGHT OR FIGHT: Erosion at Byron Bay's Belongil Beach from 2011, may hold lessons for Noosa. Jay Cronan

Planning for ocean rises in a possible Noosa retreat

A NOOSA civic leader has raised the prospect of future coastal living where prime ocean sites like Sunshine Beach will require homes that can retreat from rising seas in 24 hours.

Acting Mayor Frank Wilkie during council planning and environment committee discussions said other Australian coastal council's had adapted to climate change challenges.

"Byron Bay for example, they have a policy of retreat when it comes to development applications in erosion- prone zones,” CrWilkie said.

"My understanding is that houses are required to be relocatable within 24 hours.”

He expressed interest in a future staff report about this issue as Noosa develops its own coastal hazard adaption policy to balance the risk facing homes in areas like Sunshine Beach.

Council climate change adaption program coordinator Grant Hinner said the adaption plan would look at all the options available, including "what has worked and not worked for other local governments around the country”.

Mr Hinner said the council's lifeguard towers were already designed to be removable, but the prospect of trying to remove 20-40 or more residential properties in such a short time all at once was "an interesting one”.

A Byron Bay Council 'Coast Adapt snapshot' information sheet stated the council had applied coastal hazard planning provisions to development in the coastal zone.

"These provisions permit certain development in defined coastal hazard precincts until coastal hazards present a significant risk, when the development is triggered for relocation or removal,” the brief read.

"Other councils in NSW have adopted similar planning approaches as part of their response to projected sea-level rise in combination with coastal hazards.”

Buildings deemed in the "immediate coastal hazard precinct” are to be "entirely modular and relocatable by 4WD vehicle with a trigger distance for relocation of 20m from the coastal erosion escarpment”.