Tauranga City Council has hit out against plans that could force it to find ways to reduce the hazards from a life-threatening tsunami hitting the coastline.

The council took a near united front on Tuesday against the most controversial aspects of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's draft Coastal Environment Plan. Opposition centred on the requirements for new developments at Papamoa and the imposition of a buffer to deal with erosion and inundation inside the harbour.

Councillors have asked the regional council to delete both proposals to mitigate against tsunami hazards, until technical work was completed.

The coastal hazards plan required the council to find ways to reduce the impact of a tsunami on any new development potentially impacted by tsunami.


City planning and growth manager Andy Ralph said the thrust of the council's submission to the coastal plan was that limited work had been carried out on tsunami susceptibility mapping. "Until there is more robust mapping, we don't know how it will play out." The policy applied to all new developments. The council's fallback position was that a one-in-1000 year tsunami return period be adopted by the regional council for land use planning. Mr Ralph said a return period would allow tsunami susceptibility to be modelled with certainty.

The plan for inner harbour inundation and erosion stipulated that if the council had not researched the risk, then any activity which required consent above 100 metres of the high tide line would need a hazard assessment. Mr Ralph said the 100m hazard line would impose a significant burden on landowners whose land was zoned for residential use. Councillors agreed that the 100m buffer should be deleted until the evidence was in. The council agreed to engage with the regional council to create integrated policy and rules.

Have your say

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is inviting people to have their say on how the region's coastal areas should be cared for.

People can make a submission on the proposed Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal environment plan by August 22.

The proposed plan includes new rules for mangrove removal, aquaculture and sewage discharge from boats.

The report is available here.