WITH Kiama playing host to last week’s 21st annual NSW coastal conference, local representatives didn’t pass up the opportunity to spruik the area’s assets.
More than 200 delegates including local and state government representatives, scientists, academics, surf lifesavers and emergency services personnel descended for the four-day conference.
Visitors also took in five field trips including Crooked River and Seven Mile Beach National Park, the Minnamurra River catchment and rainforest, the Kiama Coastal Walk and Killalea State Park.
More than 45 papers were presented to the conference covering topics such as engaging communities in climate change and sea level rise; national surfing reserves; managing coastal geotechnical hazards; coastal lagoon entrance management; Aboriginal cultural fishing in NSW; healthy waterways; and innovative approaches to project delivery including using social networking.
The conference also included an address on a proposed policy framework for coastal Australia by the National Sea Change Taskforce.
Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler opens the 2012 NSW Coastal Conference.
Conference welcome speaker, former Fairfax journalist, travel writer and ABC radio commentator Bruce Elder spoke of the changes to the South Coast in the past 30 years, the reasons for those changes and the need for the necessary development and tourism expansion to be considered.
Moving to Kiama in the 1980s, Mr Elder described the magical Kiama he remembered from his childhood holidays as Enid Blyton country, “Famous Five go on Adventures to the Sea”.
“Never ignore the reason people originally came to your destination,” he said.
“That seems to be absolutely fundamental and is one of the great questions and challenges for the South Coast.”
Kiama MP Gareth Ward continued the sales pitch, saying the region had the most beautiful part of the NSW coastline.
“These conferences provide a great opportunity to share our collective knowledge and experiences so we can better manage our coastline,” Mr Ward said.
“The time has well and truly passed on the issue of whether climate change is happening or not. Climate change is a reality and simply burying one’s head in the sand will not send the challenges out with the tide.
“Ignorance on this issue will only lead to greater challenges and costs into the future as denial will equal delay.”