Wednesday, September 03, 2008


click to enlarge  —  imarge by jarcob

It seems global climate change and sea-level rise are imminently upon us.

The threat of rising sea levels has persuaded a tribunal to refuse a housing development in South Gippsland.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal said it was “reasonably foreseeable” that climate change would affect the allotments, which could be flooded and storm-damaged.

It is believed to be one of the first cases in Australia where climate change has been given as a reason to refuse a coastal development.

The VCAT decision apparently makes no assertions on whether climate change is anthropogenic, or human-induced, but it does lean heavily on the authority of “the preliminary view of CSIRO scientists that the Grip Rd area of coastline near Toora would experience storm surges and potential flooding.” (My emphasis)

This blog knows of at least one family who’ve bought a small acreage in the ‘affected’ area with a view to building a home there. The VCAT decision renders their existing planning permit null and void, leaving them with a marginal agricultural-zoned allotment which may be good for ... agisting horses?

One would think that building a residential dwelling, on land that may theoretically be subject to flooding at some future date, is a matter solely undertaken at the owners’ risk.

Of course, there are wider issues and downstream consequences of allowing exceptions in this case. But what are such people now to do with land acquired expressly for a given purpose, which has now been scotched by administrative fiat?

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