Beaches as societal assets: Council expenditure, recreational returns, and climate change
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Drawing on expenditure and survey data from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland, Australia, this chapter compares expenditures on beaches relative to their recreational benefits. Beaches are found to be exceptional investments. The comparison of the two councils also provides insights into their relative capacity to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Gold Coast can rely to some extent on historical large investments in infrastructure to defend itself against change. In contrast, the Sunshine Coast has more options which may lower the cost of adaptation e.g., it can rely more heavily on retreating from change in certain locations because of historical investment in dunal buffer zones. However, historical investment patterns impact in different ways on the environmental quality of beaches and the benefits provided to users and non-users. Limitations and areas of future research are also outlined.
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