The Our Coast website provides information to local government and communities in the Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong areas about planning for a changing climate and the potential local environmental impacts such as rising sea levels, storm surges and coastal erosion.
The Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula study area is one of four similar coastal assessment projects across Victoria. Related initiatives are being conducted nation-wide, offering coastal assessments and mapping to provide communities with a more complete understanding of the potential impacts of climate change along Australia’s coastlines.
The project has an extensive community engagement focus and was supported by the Victorian Government, the City of Greater Geelong, the Borough of Queenscliffe and local committees of management.
This project is helping to build community and stakeholder capacity and knowledge of the impacts associated with inundation on our coast, and the responses relating to various locations.
The information gained from the project will assist in planning and managing coastal hazards and allow management agencies and other stakeholders to identify triggers for short, medium and long term management responses.
The type of response in each local area will vary with community response and expectations, and may include, strategic and statutory planning processes, infrastructure maintenance and replacement schedules, natural asset management business planning and budget allocation.
The Our Coast website, developed at CeRDI, was launched in 2016 in Geelong by Water Minister, the Honourable Lisa Neville.
CeRDI’s role within the project included the development of a simple coastal impact solutions tool (http://www.ourcoast.org.au/solution_matrix.php), with Data61 involved in the development of a number of visualisations (available as Videos on the resources page).
A series of community information sessions have been conducted in each of the geographic areas enabling community members to learn more about the coastal data and the predicted scenarios relating to sea level rises over the next 50 years. Session attendees have learnt about possible implications of rising sea levels and have been provided with the opportunity to provide input into future planning initiatives.
There has already been interest from other coastal communities in the Our Coast platform and its tools. As community feedback is collected, the site will respond to the needs of the community. Use of citizen science tools and technologies is being explored and continuing to promote links with related initiatives in the region.