Climate change  |  1 Oct 2021

Christchurch City Council has released a discussion document that explores options for managing future development, subdivision, redevelopment and changes in land use in areas exposed to coastal hazards.

This Issues and Options discussion document is a first step in the District Plan Change process and will be open for feedback between 8 October and 15 November - if given approval by the Urban Development and Transport Committee next week. 

“Our current District Plan doesn’t define the full extent of areas at risk of coastal hazards and only manages some activities,” says Council’s General Manager of Infrastructure, Planning and Regulatory Services Jane Davis.

“We’re also need to change the plan to meet our responsibilities to implement national and regional policy.

“We need to act now because we aren’t effectively managing risks, and we are potentially enabling new development to occur without the appropriate measures in place to minimise that risk.”

The Issues and Options paper uses the updated Coastal Hazards Assessment to identify how coastal hazards might affect communities across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. It discusses the issues we are facing, and sets out four proposed options for how the District Plan could manage coastal hazards. The options are:

  • A risk based approach which recognises that the level of risk is not the same in every location and that a range of restrictions should therefore apply to reflect the circumstances in different areas. This approach establishes areas of high, medium and low risk. Land use, development and subdivision would be limited in areas identified as high risk. In areas of medium to low risk people would still be able to extend their house, subdivide their property and change the use of a building, subject to conditions. This is the preferred option.
  • A ‘do minimum’ approach which would bolster existing District Plan policies and rules with practical methods that would better manage risk – for example, requirements to raise floor levels.
  • Avoid activities that increase risk which would mean development, subdivision and land use activities would only be allowed where it can be demonstrated that there would be no adverse effects on people, property or environment, including economic, social or other effects.
  • Avoid activities that increase risk outside existing urban areas while enabling a risk-based approach within the existing urban area. This approach would provide for development in urban areas (those zoned for residential, commercial or industrial activities, are already built up, and are serviced by infrastructure) where effects could be managed based on the level or risk. However, new subdivisions and developments in rural zones would be restricted to limit increasing exposure of people and properties to coastal hazards.

“Maintaining the status quo hasn’t been included as an option as it doesn’t adequately manage risks to people and property from coastal hazards. It also doesn’t implement national or regional direction,” says Ms Davis

“We’re at the start of this plan change process and no decisions have yet been made. We’ve taken on board community feedback from the previous attempt to introduce coastal hazard policies and rules to the District Plan and we’re taking a different approach this time.”

The Issues and Options paper is an opportunity for residents to provide early feedback, which will then will help shape the Draft Plan Change. Residents will then have another opportunity to have their say when the draft Plan Change goes out for consultation in April/May 2022. Feedback from that consultation will then help inform the Plan Change which will be formally notified for consultation in the second half of next year.

A separate process to reduce current and future coastal hazards risk for existing communities and infrastructure will also be open for feedback from 8October – 15 November, subject to Urban Development & Transport Committee approval. 

Find out more about Coastal Hazards.