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Lake Macquarie residents facing rising sea levels

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Lake Macquarie water levels are intensifying, with residents from Teralba to Toronto expected to bear the brunt of the rise.

Based on current trajectories, the lake is set to rise 40cm by 2050 and 90cm by 2100*. 

Residents of Teralba, Booragul, Marmong Point, Woodrising, Bolton Point, Fennell Bay, Fassifern, Blackalls Park and Toronto are likely to be most affected. 

Lake Macquarie City Council manager environmental systems Karen Partington says decisions need to be made now to safeguard the future. 

“We need to get on the front foot to ensure we minimise the growing impact of climate change in years to come,” she said. 

“We’re not talking about kneejerk reactions – these will be considered and measured responses to predictions of climate change made by the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the NSW Government.” 

The council will spend the next two-to-three years collaborating with residents and stakeholders to create a new Climate Resilience Plan to combat increasing sea and lake levels, bushfires, urban heat and other “climate risks”. 

Five Bays Sustainable Neighbourhood Group chair Robyn Charlton welcomed the new planning. 

“This type of planning for Teralba to Toronto is important to assist building the resilience of the area for now and future generations, environmentally, economically and socially,” she said.  

“I think bushfire will always be a concern. Food security is definitely becoming more of a concern, especially with the current extreme weather events occurring across the country and the increasing cost of living, and for people living near our waterways, flooding and lake level rise is another concern.” 

Risk areas within the Teralba to Toronto zone include sports fields, jetties and wharves, foreshore reserves, parks and playgrounds, public and private buildings, roads, drains and shared pathways.  

climate
An increase in extreme weather patterns is just one reason councils are prioritising climate action. Photo: AAP

“There’s an estimated 17km of roads, 565 buildings, 87km of cycleways and dozens of other points of interest within that at-risk zone,” Ms Partington explained.  

Lake Macquarie City Council adopted similar local adaptation planning for Swansea, Pelican, Blacksmiths and surrounds in 2021 after extensive community consultation. 

“It’s vital we involve the community at every step for a plan like this,” mayor Kay Fraser said. 

“They are the ones who will be directly affected by the effects of climate change, so we want to make sure they’re the ones who benefit most from the actions we take.” 

A series of free community events will be held throughout February, with attendees able to use a simulation tool to learn more about the risks and actions they can take to prepare and protect themselves. 

*Compared to 1990. 

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