Flood warning signs are a regular sight at Monaco. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

‘Protect us from floods’ say Monaco residents

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Some Monaco residents are ‘frustrated’ at Nelson City Council and believe their community has been ignored following the flooding and sea-level rise projections released last week.

The council launched their virtual coastal inundation map last week, demonstrating the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels through Nelson.

Monaco, a thin peninsular jutting out from Nayland, is predicted as one of the first areas to be vastly impacted by sea-level rise as early as 2060.

Rosie Muster has been a Monaco resident for 32 years and says she feels “frustrated” at the lack of communication and protection for their community following the impacts of cyclones in 2018.

“Why is the council not doing something to protect us?” she says.

During tropical cyclone Fehi in February of 2018, many Monaco homes were evacuated, flooded and destroyed.

Rosie and her partner were some of those residents who experienced severe flooding damage.

They lost historical family documents and paid thousands for a residential sea wall in the front of their property, an expense also adopted by other neighbouring residents.

While Rosie and other Monaco residents understand the risks of living seaside, some are questioning why more has not been done to protect the area from coastal inundation.

“We pay the highest rates for nothing,” says Rosie, who questioned why the road had not been raised or why storm piping had not been installed in the area.

Monaco resident Ian Fenemor says he is still waiting to hear from the council regarding a plan against coastal inundation.

“I would’ve thought the council would do something,” he says.

Despite living seaside and being impacted by the 2018 flooding, Rosie, Ian and other neighbours have yet to hear directly from the council regarding the future of their area.

According to the council, a letter to 4500 residents in these at-risk coastal areas was sent out last week but Rosie along with other Monaco residents have yet to receive their letters.

Council projections show sea levels may rise 0.5m from the year 2075 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

In extreme weather events, this could see significant flooding through Nelson’s CBD as well as other coastal areas by the turn of the century.

Mayor Rachel Reese says, “there are no surprises” in the newly-released data and says she doesn’t want Nelsonians to panic.

However, Monaco resident Rosie Ross believes the council’s announcement has left some residents “panicky” and confused, as houses continue to sell in the area.

Council’s group manager environmental management Clare Barton says to ensure there were no delays with impacted property owners being informed about the release of coastal inundation maps, council opted to hand deliver letters to any property owners that they did not hold email addresses for.

“We worked hard to ensure that all property owners received notification via letter or email,” she told Nelson Weekly.

“This is very much an early stage in the Nelson Plan process, and right now we are proactively seeking engagement from Nelsonians on what they value and how they want our city’s natural environment managed in the future.

“Those living in Monaco understandably have strong feelings in regard to coastal inundation, and many of them attended a recent drop in session at Greenmeadows where we were able to answer many of their questions and outline the process ahead. That included when we will be able to talk about options. I would encourage anyone who missed that session to contact us directly or provide feedback to this first round of consultation.”

The online consultation period runs until December 18 through Shape Nelson.