The expressions for interest to volunteer to join Coastal Panels is now closed. We received close to 60 expressions of interest and are currently in the process of reviewing them with the aim of achieving a fair balance of representation on each Coastal Panel. Our recommendations will be put to Council for ratification at their next meeting, which is now not until early August 2020. This is a new phase in what is a major coastal management project, defining the flooding and erosion risks to people and the social, cultural, economic and natural environment across all parts of our coastline over the next century and beyond. Our Council approved for Coastal Panels to be set up to cover our coastline in the following areas (see map below): Thames and Thames Coast Coromandel Town Coast to Kennedy Bay Whangapoua Harbour and Mercury Bay South-East Coast Panels will be advisory boards, made up of Community Board representatives, citizens, iwi, local businesses and asset owners, and it's intended they provide a fair and balanced representation of the relevant viewpoints about our coastal environment. Panels will work together to identify the risks on their local coasts and propose policies and actions to address these as they work through the development of the SMP for their area. The panels will have access to the relevant expertise required along the way and will be guided by a sequence of steps and key questions set out by the Ministry for the Environment. These include: What is happening on the coast? What matters most? What can we do about it and how can we get it done? Is it working? At the end of the process, panels will make recommendations to our Council on how its community can prepare for and adapt to coastal change. “Coastal Panels will be the engine for our Shoreline Management Plan project, which is all about building resilient coastal communities,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “This is a critical new step in the project, and I look forward to our communities getting involved and working together to come up with community-led, coastal adaption solutions,” she says. Who are we looking for to join our Coastal Panels? Each Coastal Panel will have a membership made up of: Mana whenua representatives (up to four) Community Board representatives (two members) Community organisations (two members) Citizens (up to six members) Businesses (two members) Councillors from our Council and Waikato Regional Council will be invited to be observers on the panels. It’s intended that the panels will be balanced and representative of diverse views and of the community within the relevant SMP area.