CONCERNS were raised last night that Lake Macquarie City Council would not have enough money to pay for infrastructure upgrades to adapt to sea level rise.
A council report said the council could expose itself to litigation if it approved development in a high-risk flood area or an area that became inhabitable due to sea level rise.
Conversely, the report said landowners may also seek compensation in future :‘‘if sea level rise does not eventuate’’.
It said there was an increased risk of roads, drains and the sewer failing as flooding became more frequent and lake levels rose.
The report was part of a council staff recommendation to refuse a plan, because of sea level rise concerns, to increase dwellings on a Marks Point site from three to 22.
The developer’s architect Rod Seymour said the Marks Point Road plan would be built 2.36 metres above sea level and floors could be raised further in future to adapt to sea level rise.
Cr Daniel Wallace said the council must consider whether it was viable to allow the development, when it might not be able to afford infrastructure upgrades in the area to cope with rising seas in 30 to 50 years.
‘‘We could be sued if we can’t provide infrastructure to support the development,’’ he said.
Mayor Greg Piper said he had no doubt action would be taken to protect the area, raise road levels and upgrade drainage if sea levels rose.
Councillors are facing legal and political pressure from residents opposed to the council’s sea level rise policy.
Cr Phillipa Parsons said the policy was up for review in August.
Cr Parsons said 97 per cent of scientists globally had reached consensus on human-induced global warming.
?Authorities should consider making Belmont’s busy Brooks Parade a one-way street or closing it to traffic, Lake Macquarie councillor Phillipa Parsons says.
The council plans to write to state officials asking for Cr Parsons’ plan to be considered.