Wellington Shire Council identifies land affected by flooding, and plans for and manages the potential coastal impacts of climate change.
State Planning Policy (Clause 13 - Environmental Risks) requires Council to identify land affected by flooding in the Wellington Planning Scheme. These issues are particularly important in the Wellington Shire given the extensive areas of the municipality which are subject to riverine (and coastal) flooding.
In terms of existing areas subject to flooding, the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and Floodway Overlay are currently applied to flood prone land in the municipality through the Wellington Planning Scheme. You can determine if either of these Overlays currently affect your land by generating a free Planning Property Report.
When a Planning Permit is required by these Overlays, Council relies on the technical advice of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) as the local floodplain manager.
The WGCMA provides referral advice to Council on individual Planning Permit applications, which will typically result in matters such as specified heights of building floor levels on any approved Planning Permit.
Prior to lodging a Planning Permit application (and/or purchasing land), free flood advice can be obtained directly from the WGCMA website.
In areas subject to coastal flooding, Council has adopted the Assessment of Development in Relation to Potential Sea level Rise Policy. This Policy aims to provide for a practical and staged approach to potential sea level rise by requiring finished floor levels to include an allowance of 0.2 metres potential sea level rise (rather than the higher 0.8 metre potential sea level rise level which is projected to occur in the longer term). Based on this Policy, the WGCMA can provide consistent Planning Permit referral advice to Council in areas affected by potential sea level rise.
In terms of recent flood initiatives/projects, the WGCMA has completed new flood studies in Seaspray and Rosedale which can be accessed on the WGCMA website. These flood studies result in the need for updated overlay controls to be applied in the Wellington Planning Scheme at a future date (via a Planning Scheme Amendment process). In the interim, these flood studies (along with free flood advice available from the WGCMA) provide landowners (or prospective landowners) with the best available flood information to make informed decisions.
The East and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authorities have also recently prepared regional floodplain management strategies, which provide an overview of flood risks across the region (and within Wellington Shire).
State Planning Policy (Clause 13 - Environmental Risks) requires Council to plan for and manage the potential coastal impacts of climate change. Various tools are now available to better understand potential climate change risks, such as rising sea levels. For example, the website links below allow potential sea level rise risks to be shown at a local level.
More specifically, in March 2008 a report titled Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Implications: Ninety Mile Beach and Lake Reeve and Honeysuckles to Paradise Beach was completed (please refer to attachment below). In 2014, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning also completed the Gippsland Lakes/90 Mile Beach Local Coastal Hazard Assessment Project as one of four pilot studies prepared across Victoria.
In response to this information, when coastal development is approved Council will typically require the Planning Permit holder to prepare a Climate Change Response Plan (CCRP). When a condition of a planning permit requires a CCRP to be prepared, the attached guidelines should be used as a reference.
Upon completion of the CCRP, Council will endorse the CCRP and require it be complied with on an ongoing basis via a Section 173 agreement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. CCRP's have been used by Council since 2008, initially in the Honeysuckles and more recently in other low lying areas subject to potential climate change risks.