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Tsunami study focuses on Papamoa, Wairakei and Te Tumu

Wednesday, 20 March 2013 4:30 p.m.

New research on the tsunami threat toTauranga City's coastal urban growth areas of Papamoa, Wairakei and Te Tumu has given fresh insight into managing and reducing potential risk.

As part of the SmartGrowth Strategy Update, Bay of Plenty Regional Council commissioned the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) to examine the tsunami risk to these three coastal growth areas.

SmartGrowth's Implementation Committee required better information on which to base planning decisions for future urban development of largely undeveloped growth zones of Wairakei and Te Tumu.

GNS completed two reports; the first was an assessment of the size and scale of the tsunami hazard to the study area and the second - specific to Te Tumu - considered how the risk could be mitigated to an acceptable level.

Announcing the research findings at this week's (March 20) Implementation Management Group meeting, SmartGrowth ChairBill Wasleysaid the GNS research would have wide significance to the community and provided a new level of understanding for future growth planning.

"The tsunami hazard is not new - for generations people have lived and will continue to seek coastal lifestyles in theBayofPlentyknowing we reside in a tsunami risk area.

"However, the real significance of this research is that it focuses specifically on the scale of tsunami and its implications on strategic land use - particularly for planned, yet undeveloped areas of future development,'' said Mr Wasley.

SmartGrowth requested the GNS study to improve understanding of the tsunami hazard, the likelihood and scale of an event and to consider options for reducing the level of risk.

Determining the extent of tsunami threat to Wairakei and Te Tumu and assessing options of how to reduce the risk to an acceptable level were very difficult questions, said Mr Wasley.

"The cornerstone of SmartGrowth's approach is to provide evidence-based decision making.

"In the 10 years since SmartGrowth was introduced there have been significant natural disasters, including the tsunami inJapanand Sumatra and closer to home the earthquakes inChristchurch.

"In addition to these events, the regulatory landscape has changed in terms of natural hazard planning for future settlement. It is our duty of care to respond to the changes and ensure we have the best available science as we review and update the Settlement Pattern for these future urban growth areas."

The SmartGrowth partners Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and iwi are jointly considering the implications of this research on the review of the SmartGrowth Settlement Pattern.

Read the Discussion paper and the Questions and Answers on this report.

coastal Papamoa