Climate change is real

But the Noosa Council’s ‘less than 1%’ CHAP is unreal!

What we are fighting for?

The beauty and long-term future of our beaches, waterways and homes. Right now the Council’s CHAP dodges beach protection and threatens homes.

Who we are

We are families and homeowners from the eastern beaches of Noosa Shire who have been joined in our fight by seven other community, business and resident groups covering Noosa’s seashore, waterways, and hundreds of businesses. All of us believe the “less than 1%” Noosa CHAP is deeply flawed.

Help us save the Noosa lifestyle and environment THE RIGHT WAY

Hi, I’m Sandi, I’m a concerned homeowner too.
I’m here to answer your questions.

What is the Coastal Hazard Adaption Plan (CHAP)?

The CHAP is meant to identify erosion and inundation risks that could occur over the long-term in the Noosa Shire from rising sea levels, understand community stakeholders’ preferred adaptation approach, determine the costs, priorities and timeframes for their implementation and enable a defensible, adaptive management approach to allow flexibility in decision-making over time.

What’s wrong with Noosa’s draft CHAP?

It doesn’t answer the first problem – erosion – and it abandons the beaches and waterways it’s trustee for. Climate change must be addressed. But this plan fails to identify adequate measures to protect our precious environment & unjustifiably proposes inflexible adverse planning changes, which will permanently harm our homes. 

How exactly would the CHAP harm residents?

It proposes onerous restrictions on existing homeowners who will be stopped from improving or building on their own properties, even though that will harm the environment in the long term. It may also lead to reduced cover and increased insurance costs for homeowners in the Shire – and Council rates would probably rise to manage the litigation and legal liability that the CHAP would cause. 

What’s the biggest problem with it?

It’s based on poor decision making and unrealistic assumptions, that ignore the science and expert assessments, instead, planning for a worst-case storm erosion event with a less than 1% chance of occurring in 80 years’ time. Significantly, Council’s own expert Phase 6 Options Report did not recommend planning changes.  Read More

They based their CHAP on a less than 1% chance?

Right. And, according to the experts, it would need a remarkable combination of events for that to ever occur, even in 80 years’ time. Council have decided that the radically uncertain possibility of such events ever occurring is enough to fundamentally alter, retrospectively, land use rights in the Shire, and embed a precedent that could impact thousands of existing homeowners not only in the Shire but elsewhere in Queensland. And there is just a less than 1% chance that those events will occur, in 80 years’ time, and a greater than 99% chance that they will not occur!

Why should Noosa Shire homeowners be so worried?

Seven different community, business and resident groups are fighting to have the Noosa draft CHAP reassessed. If the draft CHAP is implemented, eventually we will all be impacted by the misguided decision-making and bad policies of the Council.

Who does this CHAP hurt?

If this is implemented by Council, there is nothing stopping planning laws eventually crippling every private property and business in a designated risk area in the Noosa coast or River system. It could set the precedent for increased Council overreach everywhere.

Is any homeowner in the Noosa Shire safe?

Council sent 100s of pages of secret correspondence to the State Planners (prior to community consultation on the CHAP) heralding “Adverse Planning Changes” for homeowners. It advised 3000 homeowners in low lying areas of intolerable risk.

Now that Council has introduced risk zones, hundreds, perhaps thousands more homes will potentially be affected. If implemented, these proposed adverse planning changes will set a precedent that will inevitably risk harming homeowners across the region and up the coast of Queensland.

“Risk”? Is that the problem here?

Yes it is. The Council has proposed adverse planning changes that could result in significant financial harm to the community, as an inflexible response to a risk that Council’s own experts assess has a less than 1% chance of arising in 80 years’ time and therefore a greater than 99% chance of not arising. It just doesn’t make sense.

What happens if CHAP is approved?

If Noosa’s ‘less than 1%’ Council gets away with this outrage, what will stop it imposing adverse and unreasonable planning changes and restrictions on private homeowners, where there is an actual current risk from natural hazards – e.g. bush fire?

What happens then?

Council planning laws affect everything and everyone, from local builders and tradies, to owners, to the supply of sufficient or adequate residential accommodation, to the socio-economic health of the Noosa Region. If we don’t fight back now, we might all lose more than we could possibly imagine.  
Have your say here.

Does Council understand the legal and financial risks they run?

It’s not clear whether it presently has a grasp on the legal consequences of its draft CHAP, but it has certainly been made aware of them.  The Australian Financial Review wrote in May 2021, “Council faces the real and material prospect of claims from owners and residents in the Noosa coastal zone”.

What has been published in the Fin Review and other media outlets? 

The comments are scathing. You can read a few in our NEWS section.
Read More

What is causing erosion now?

The dunes and beaches are generally healthy, stable and accreting, but erosion that does occur is largely caused by the Council’s own stormwater drains and sewage treatment works! And they are doing nothing to fix these major problems. As Trustees of our public foreshores, Noosa Council is required, regardless of the CHAP, to protect and maintain the health of our beach creeks and dunes. Please sign this E petition and pass it on to anyone who cares about the precious Noosa environment

So what should council do now?

They have already “paused” as they consider the community backlash to their ill-conceived draft CHAP and they are consulting with key community groups. That’s good. But surely, they need to listen to the people who are affected by the proposed changes? Unfortunately, there was very little effective consultation, particularly with communities directly affected and the interests of all key stakeholders were never addressed. It was high-handed, ill-considered and poorly designed. In short, it isn’t fit for purpose and isn’t the CHAP the Noosa Shire needs.

What would you do?

We believe that the best answer is to adopt an adaptive management approach to allow flexibility over time and carefully Measure, Monitor and Respond.

Measure

Find out the facts & check the facts against the on the ground reality – so they aren’t taken out of context – and use them wisely as markers. That way you know where you actually are right now.

Monitor

Deal with the acknowledged limitations of models and assumptions used for the CHAP. Invest more in scientifically robust monitoring of dunes and beaches to better understand what is actually happening

Respond

Adopt an adaptive management approach to allow flexibility over time and practical action. The draft poorly consulted plan devalues dune and beach protection and proposes to invalidate the rights to use family homes.  That’s why it needs to change.

Have your say

What can I do now?

You’re already doing it. You are getting the facts, so you have an informed opinion. You may not necessarily agree with everything we say but we hope you at least get a sense of what is going on here and why we are all so concerned. 

What’s your bottom line?

We are long-term residents and home-owners who want to protect and enjoy the environment. After all, that’s the reason we all love living in this incredible part of the world. But we want to have confidence in our future so that we can fight back against climate change with reasonable, effective and proportionate actions. We want the confidence and certainty that a rational and clear-eyed CHAP can provide to the region, its homeowners and families. 

What is the best way forward with the draft CHAP?

Protect the beaches, waterways and dunes, scientifically monitor actual hazards, better define actual risks and avoid the unreasonable and disproportionate costs and impacts on family homes, based on a less than 1% risk in 50 – 80 years’ time, by removing adverse planning proposals from the CHAP. 

We must protect the environment. The less than 1% CHAP from the Noosa Council just doesn’t do it. It must change.

If you have any questions, send them to us using the email below. We’ll post those most relevant, together with our answers on our news section. 

Email us at:  [email protected]

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