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Consultant appointed for milestone coastal project

02 May 2019

Our Council has taken a major step forward in the delivery of our Coastal Management Strategy with the appointment of international consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV to support the development of our Shoreline Management Plans.

Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV), an independent engineering and project management consultancy, has been awarded the $1.9M contract, as part of the $2.6M total budget, for what will be a milestone three-year project for our Council and New Zealand more broadly.

While Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) have previously been developed in a couple of other locations in New Zealand, the work our Council is doing is distinct in that we are developing SMPs across our whole district through active involvement of all key stakeholders along our beautiful yet fragile coastline.

These plans and subsequent action plans are a key outcome of our Coastal Management Strategy. SMPs will provide a large-scale hazard assessment on our flooding and erosion issues and identify subsequent risk to people and the environment for our coastline over the next century. SMPs also identify the possible interventions for managing those risks in a sustainable manner. Read more about what’s involved with our Coastal Management Strategy here.

RHDHV has a strong understanding of the SMP process, having developed several of the first and second-generation SMPs in England and Wales, and more recently undertaken a whole of New South Wales coastline risk assessment in Australia.

The consultancy, which has offices in 30 different countries, has established an office on the Thames Coast for this three-year project, for which it has assembled a consortium that includes  the Coastal Management Collective in New Zealand and EMM Consulting in Australia.

Our Council’s Operations Group Manager Bruce Hinson says RHDHV’s appointment follows a competitive tender process and a strong shortlist of consultants.

“The consortium brings together strong experience and local knowledge and is well qualified to help support us through the SMP development process, here on the ground and by drawing on international expertise,” Mr Hinson says.

“RHDHV will be working together and collaboratively with locally-based coastal expertise spread across the coastal process and the environment sector” Mr Hinson says.

“Our Shoreline Management Plans are a significant investment by our Council and we are pleased to have strong support from key stakeholders such as the Waikato Regional Council and our Community Boards as we undertake this important piece of work.

“We are setting the standard very high in Thames-Coromandel. A lot of people will be watching us, as to how we are progressing, but we are confident that Royal HaskoningDHV is a competent consultant that can lead the project in the partnership style we’re looking for.” Mr Hinson says.

Our Mayor Sandra Goudie says the appointment is one of the proactive steps our Council is taking in response to the challenge of climate change for our communities.

"The Coastal Management Strategy is something we have been working on for quite some time as part of our focus on ensuring our communities are engaged, prepared, protected and safe in the long-term," Mayor Sandra says.

The SMPs for Thames-Coromandel will be developed using Ministry for the Environment Guidelines for Councils, which take into account a 1.88m sea level rise by 2150, and by using the Dynamic Adaptive Pathway Planning (DAPP) tool, which sets out how to prepare for coastal change.

The plans go beyond traditional asset management and include understanding the coastal environment more holistically, including the connections between people, catchments and waterways, landscapes, estuaries and beaches.

RHDHV's environment director for coastal and marine development, and its New Zealand-based project lead, Sian John says the team is very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with our Council and communities in our SMP journey.

The consortium brings experience not just in understanding the different systems that operate within a coastal environment, but in integrating environmental processes with cultural and socio-economic drivers and critical infrastructure needs, Ms John says.

“The project is a progressive journey for a local council,” Ms John says.

“The Coromandel is a wonderful place and we are very pleased to be working and based here now, and to have the opportunity to work with the different communities and mana whenua involved to ensure a unified approach to managing this coastline,” Ms John says.