Experts chosen for Christchurch coastal hazards report review

Christchurch City Council has chosen five experts to consider if a coastal hazard report is fit for purpose.

Christchurch City Council has chosen five experts to consider if a coastal hazard report is fit for purpose.

A team of five experts has been chosen to peer review a controversial report on erosion and flooding risk in Christchurch.

The Christchurch City Council on Thursday confirmed the make-up of an expert panel and the scope of a second peer review of Tonkin and Taylor's Coastal Hazard Assessment Report.

The report, released in July, identified 6000 properties that could be susceptible to erosion and nearly 18,000 at risk of coastal inundation over the next 50 to 100 years.

The science behind the report has been widely questioned and in December the council decided to subject the document to a second peer review.

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Earlier this year, GHD Consultants was appointed by the council to determine the scope of the review and outline a short-list of experts, after the community raised concerns the process could be tainted by the involvement of council staff.

The list of experts approved by the council included New South Wales University coastal engineer Dr Ron Cox, Canterbury University coastal studies senior lecturer Dr Deirdre Hart, Waikato University earth sciences senior lecturer Dr Willem de Lange, retired Environment Court judge Shonagh Kenderdine and statistician Dr Keston Green, of South Australia University business school. 

Cr Phil Clearwater wanted to add another local scientist to the panel, but other councillors did not agree. 

Cr David East said the council went to great lengths to avoid any involvement of council staff or councillors in the process and councillors should not be altering the recommendations from GHD. 

GHD consulted with the public, including the Christchurch Coastal Residents United (CCRU), to come up with the list of experts and key questions it wanted the panel to answer.

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The peer review panel would be asked to consider if the Tonkin and Taylor report represented good science, if the findings were still relevant and whether or not the report and its findings should inform planning for future land use decisions.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said coastal hazards had been a hugely challenging issue for the council.

The panel's draft report would be finished by July 8, with a final report expected on July 25, before being presented to the council on August 11.​

 - Stuff

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