Porirua moves with the changing world

Climate change and the effect on Porirua’s communities is the focus of Te Ao Hurihuri (the changing world).

Climate change and the effect on Porirua’s communities is the focus of Te Ao Hurihuri (the changing world).

Porirua City Council is developing a strategy, Te Ao Hurihuri (the changing world), to address the effects of climate change on the city, with community engagement a vital part of the process. 

There was a packed public gallery at last night’s Council meeting and oral submissions, including two from Aotea College students, asked councillors to declare a climate emergency.  

Councillor ‘Ana Coffey had a notice of motion on the agenda to support Porirua’s rangatahi in declaring a climate emergency.  

“It’s important we listen to the rangatahi of our city who want action on this issue,” she said. 

“We have amazing young people in Porirua who are articulate and smart and I acknowledge their leadership, both at last night’s meeting, but in general. 

I am very pleased to be able to support them, and other members of the community wanting action on climate change. This declaration sets the scene for the next Council to take this matter seriously and that Te Ao Hurihuri and other policies reflect this greater emphasis on climate change.” 

Nicola Etheridge, General Manager Policy, Planning and Regulatory Services, said climate change experts agree that we can expect warmer sea temperatures, sea level rise and more regular heavy rain events. These will result in an increase in slips, floods, coastal erosion and other issues across our city. 

“It’s been made clear in earlier consultation that our people value the land and the sea, and want to see it protected for future generations, she said. 

“We want to acknowledge how vested our rangitahi are in this topic, because it will be their generation that most feels the effects of climate change. 

“We will do our best to give them a strong voice as Te Ao Hurihuri is developed.” 

The principles of the strategy are being progressed in conjunction with other Council work. 

“At a regional level we are member of the Wellington Region Climate Change Working Group, which is looking at both climate change mitigation and adaptation across the region, but it’s time we have our own firm principles, directions, and carry out engagement with our community on climate change at the local level,” said Ms Etheridge. 

“One of the key principles from our recently released Growth Strategy was ‘A resilient city’ – we want Porirua to be ready and willing to adapt to the effects of climate change. This is our Council being responsible to its residents, preparing our communities to be resilient.” 

Porirua City’s draft District Plan is expected to be released later this year and as part of this review, extensive work has been done with the community on coastal hazards, flood impacts, sea level rise, multi-modal transport and urban growth. 

Incorporating the principles of the Growth Strategy and draft District Plan will be important as Te Ao Hurihuri is progressed. 

The Council will be listening to and developing the principles with the community, Ms Etheridge said. 

“Our councillors have told us that the values of our community must be present in this strategy, so we will welcome the public’s input from the outset. 

“We have the time, and we want to get this right.” 

Over the coming months, detailed planning will be completed, with some early engagement and promotion of the strategy included in our next coastal hazards workshops in coastal communities in late July. These workshops will be led by coastal hazard expert Jim Dahm, who will present draft coastal hazard maps and discuss potential management approaches.  

Formal consultation on Te Ao Hurihuri is likely to take place early next year.

-Porirua City Council