A report on Channel Nine TV last night by Jane Grljusich painted a wet future for the west end of Fremantle where rising sea levels due to global warming will see many coastal properties disappear in the Indian Ocean unless seawalls are being built.
Grljusich talked about flooded cellars in the west of Fremantle that already require 24/7 pumping by the building owners.
The predicted higher ocean levels would see the Roundhouse become an island and even flooding of the Esplanade, so the state and federal governments need to become pro-active in making plans on how to protect Fremantle’s coast line and significant heritage area.
There is a Cockburn Sound Coastal Alliance where the cities of Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham work together and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the TV reporter a plan will be released in a few weeks.
I have wondered for a long time why governments still allow so much development very close to the coast, as at Coogee for example, and wonder if insurance companies are still willing to insure properties in locations where rising seawater levels will create flooding and damage.
Are people naive or just don’t care that their expensive houses might get flooded or destroyed in 15-20 years from now, and what responsibility do governments have when releasing coastal land for development?
And to add insult too injury and make life even worse for us is a report from Brazil that climate change will cut coffee production by 50%, which no doubt will mean much higher prices for coffee in caffeine-mad Freo in the future.
When it comes to development it appears everyone is a climate change denyer. I am surprised that no one has asked if the huge 110 hectare Cockburn Coast development between Fremantle’s South Beach and Port Coogee, that will incorporate the former Rob Jetty and South Fremantle Power Station sites, is appropriate so close to the ocean and if that is a good long-term investment with the predicted rise in sea levels.
Some 12,000 people will live there, so why is no one concerned they would be building on a future flood plain where beach erosion and storms inevitably will start impacting on the new coastal suburb. Are insurers still happy to cover coastal development or does it come at a premium price, and is buying into any development along the coast close to the Indian Ocean a good investment?
On the up side of it the development will be good for Fremantle even if the Mayor of Cockburn wants to make a bit of a Gold Coast theme park out of it. So many people living close to Fremantle will be good for our retailers and hospitality industry and no doubt the location of the development would make it ideal for coastal light rail.
I question if it is sensible to do it though and if State Government has done a predicted sea level rise study for the area. It might be good if real estate agents offered the properties with free snorkels, wetsuits and diving lessons.
The Kwinana Freeway Foreshore Management Plan put together by the W.A. State Government is concerned about future flooding of the freeway along the river due to climate change. Experts believe that sea levels will rise by 90 centimetres by 2110 according to a report in the Sunday Times.
It is suggested that to prevent freeway flooding to put a storm barrier in the Swan river behind Fremantle port, but I wonder where the surge of rising water would go then. Wouldn’t it flood areas in front of that water barrier and affect the Fremantle and North Fremantle foreshores?