It is hard to believe on a day like today, that is calm, serene and idyllic, that the piece of Auckland of which we are so proud is at risk.
A changing climate means a number of things for the waterfront – from one extreme, heavy and more frequent storm events, through to more days where the temperature exceeds 25 degrees. Both pose a challenge for us.
But we are not alone in pondering this issue. Hurricane Sandy provide a very real focus for New York City to take the issue of extreme climate events seriously! And consequently the city is investing millions in coastal protection and other adaptation measures. Cities in the Netherlands are all active in preparing climate change adaptation strategies because the risks to them are significant given the low lying nature of the land. In Australia, where water is such a precious commodity, the response to climate change is more about how ensure people are resilient to changes in water availability.
The reality of climate change is that the impact is different in different parts of the world, and even in different parts of Auckland. In some ways we are lucky here at the waterfront. We are inside the harbour, which provides us a bit of protection. Our land is elevated which provides some protection from a rising sea level. But most importantly the organisation understands the potential risks of a changing climate and has been looking at the best ways to adapt. Retreat is not really an option as Waterfront Auckland has a responsibility to develop the area and manage the marina, so we need to be smart about the measures we use to manage real and potential risks.
I remember so well the big storm in April this year when we could look out the window from the office and see first-hand what the impacts of a changing climate are. The boats were being moved around the marina by the waves and wind – as if they were bath toys bobbing up and down. And coincidentally this happened the day after we kicked off the development of our climate change adaptation strategy – it really helped to focus minds on the task ahead of us.
VIV HESLOP, Senior Advisor Sustainability
Viv is Senior Advisor Sustainability for Panuku Development Auckland and her work is focused on implementing the sustainable development framework. She has an extensive experience as an urban planner and sustainability strategist and tries to practice what she preaches by cycling to and from work each day from her home in Mt Albert.
This was originally posted on www.waterfrontauckland.co.nz