Council Services / Community

Kingborough Council - Natural Hazards and Climate Change

The Kingborough area is home to about 35,830 people and is one of relatively few places in Tasmania that are consistently growing in population by about 1-2% per year. In several other council areas, Tasmania’s population is tending to remain static or is in decline.

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 Figure 1: Kingborough Council area includes a lot of coastline

Kingborough Council residents are able to access to jobs in the Greater Hobart area easily and combined with availability of land in the Kingborough Council area and the beaches, the Council likely has a lot of growth and development to manage for quite some time.

Kingborough Council has an area of about 717 km2, shown in Figure 1, with 336km of coastline, including Bruny Island. With many towns on the water, a growing population, and the modern appetite for beach and coastal living it is not surprising that Kingborough Council have taken the lead on planning and managing natural hazards.    

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F igure 2: Kingston Beach and neighbouring Blackmans Bay offer an idyllic lifestyle close to the water

The Council noted from a study of its records and other sources that Kingston Beach has a long history of being exposed to bushfires, flooding and coastal inundation. So Kingston Beach was selected to be the subject of a case study into natural hazards and new risks from climate change. 

The study explored nine risks to the community in the Kingston Beach area:

  • bushfire
  • heatwave
  • dam break
  • landslip
  • riverine flood
  • coastal inundation from sea level rise, storm surge and coincident flooding
  • tsunami

The core of the project focused on quantifying the exposure of the Kingston Beach assets, both structural and social, to the range of hazards identified.

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Figure 3: Mapping software is used to model the potential impacts of flooding

The case study was undertaken by consultants, Climate Planning, with the potential flood modelling and mapping completed by Kingborough Council’s staff using state of the art methods and technology.

The report has presented some key recommendations.  Some of the great outcomes from the Kingston Beach Integrated Natural Hazard and Climate Change Project are: 

  • various options to adapt the current methods and processes of development control
  • using natural hazard and climate change resilient designs generally
  • using new alternative sea wall designs and approaches

The study process also served as a template for how Council approaches risk management for other communities in the Kingborough Council area that are facing natural hazard risks and climate change. 

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Figure 4: An unusually high tide at Kingston Beach

Also, it was noted through the study that community and other stakeholder engagement is a key factor in planning and preparing for disaster. The resilience of the community too is a key aspect in dealing with disaster, personally and as a community.

The Kingborough community have gotten some great benefits from the vision of the Council and the study already. 

Another very exciting outcome from the Project work was the concept of establishing a Climate Change Innovation Lab in Kingborough. The Kingborough Council has endorsed a process of investigating the feasibility of establishing such a Lab.  The concept is for a facility where researchers, Council staff, community and business can come together and explore real-world applications to climate change. The Lab would connect with public, academic and private sector organisations, researchers and outreach specialists to deliver technical support, and provide tools and strategies to deal with climate change, and ultimately be self-funding.

The Lab could integrate with the community in creative ways to promote awareness, discussion and preparedness. The Kingborough Arts Hub has been identified as a partner that could promote and explore the ‘Art of Adaptation’ with the Kingborough community. 

The Lab could increase preparedness in Kingborough but also assist councils and other stakeholders in Australia to take practical actions now to reduce the impact of climate change in coastal and other areas. Strong support for the Lab concept has poured in from organisations and professionals across Australia. We hope to be able to bring you more on that story someday!