LAKE Macquarie City Council reaffirmed its commitment to prepare for rising sea levels on Monday night, despite concerns its policy was an overreaction.
Shanghai night field

Cr Ken Paxinos was concerned the council was imposing unnecessary costs on residents.

“We’re overreacting,” Cr Paxinos said.

Cr Paxinos said the council was forcing residents to increase floor levels on new buildings in line with worse-case sea-level rise predictions, despite the council not increasing the height of roads and other infrastructure.

Such houses would be worthless if the lake rose as predicted because surrounding roads would be underwater, he said.

“The logic is lost on me.’’

Councillors were debating a Lifestyle 2030 strategy, which sets direction for the city.

They voted 9-2 against Cr Paxinos’s move to defer the strategy, amid concern about sea-level rise policy.

Cr Barry Johnston said the council could not be certain lake levels would rise, but there was a strong science-based chance they would.

’’It’s like taking out an insurance policy,” Cr Johnston said.

’’We need to make sure we protect the people.”

Cr Johnston said council infrastructure could be dealt with in future.

Cr Paxinos said residents could be given information about potential sea-level rise predictions, then be allowed to work with insurance companies and decide themselves whether to spend the extra money to raise floor levels.

Cr Barney Langford said the council’s sea-level rise policy was ’’simply good risk management”.

“Carbon dioxide is causing the Earth to warm,” Cr Langford said.

RISING: Councillors are trying for climate ‘‘insurance’’.