LAKE Macquarie residents vowed on Wednesday night to fight for their financial futures, amid concerns the city council’s sea level rise measures were eroding their rights and causing property prices to plummet.
About 150 residents packed into Marks Point Bowling Club to attend a meeting of the Lake Macquarie Ratepayers Action Group – a group set up to give residents a voice.
Residents asserted the council’s handling of sea level rise threats was causing property prices to fall, despite repeated council denials.
Many residents believed the council’s sea level rise measures are hardline, harsh and presumptuous.
They were particularly concerned about the council’s placement of notations relating to flood and sea level rise on section 149 property certificates of about 10,000 properties.
Marks Point resident Chris Osborne called on the council to remove the notations.
‘‘Gosford City Council has done it, so why doesn’t Lake Macquarie?’’ Mr Osborne asked.
Meeting organiser Barbara Davis said the council ‘‘claims our homes will be flooded and permanently inundated within 100 years’’.
‘‘They have given us no opportunity to research and develop plans to protect our properties in the event sea levels should rise,’’ Mrs Davis said.
She alleged council plans on the matter were ‘‘very one-sided’’.
‘‘If anyone dares to challenge them they are branded a climate change sceptic,’’ she said.
Belmont architect Janet Henriksen accused the council of ‘‘over-anxious, climate-change alarmism over predicted sea level rise’’.
‘‘This is affecting thousands of households and businesses, financially, physically and emotionally,’’ Ms Henriksen said.
The council made no comment, saying it did not want to pre-empt the meeting.
The council has consistently argued that it has a duty of care to consider sea-level rise in planning and development decisions.
Lake Macquarie Liberal councillor Ken Paxinos said council officials ‘‘cannot continue to leave their heads in the sand and act as though this is not an issue or will magically disappear’’.
Liberal councillor Jason Pauling said the council was ‘‘somewhat dismissive of the concerns expressed by residents’’.
‘‘[The] council has not consulted sufficiently nor undertaken sufficient dialogue with the community,’’ Cr Pauling said.
Residents were increasingly concerned that banks and finance companies had begun to avoid loans on properties with flood and sea level rise notations.
As recently reported, Marks Point resident Karen Mahoney said the sale of her home had fallen through because banks were only willing to lend up to 50per cent of the value of the property.
Not sure about the sea, but stress levels are certainly rising
ELAINE Wolfe has lived in her Pelican home for 65 years. The 83-year-old fears that if she has to move into a nursing home one day, she won’t be able to sell her house because it is subject to council warnings about rising sea levels.
‘‘It’s just a worry,’’ Mrs Wolfe said on Wednesday. ‘‘You can’t get into a nursing home with nothing.’’
Mrs Wolfe’s house is a couple of hundred metres from the lake. She said she felt for younger people and those about to retire with big homes that they couldn’t sell.
‘‘I have a friend at Swansea who had great difficulty selling her place because the bank wouldn’t lend buyers the money.’’