Development in and near floodplains is governed by the Floodplain Management Bylaw No. 600, 2020. The main purpose of the bylaw is to help protect buildings and structures from flood hazards. For example, the bylaw establishes how high off the ground habitable area should be built (flood construction level) and how far a building or structure should be setback from the sea (floodplain setback).
The new Floodplain Management Bylaw was adopted by the CVRD Board on April 28, 2020. The bylaw was updated to incorporate amendments made to the Provincial Flood Hazard Land Use Management Guidelines “Provincial Floodplain Guidelines”, which now consider sea level rise into the determination of floodplain setbacks and flood construction levels in coastal areas. If you are constructing habitable space within 100 metres of the sea, you will need to provide a report from a qualified professional engineer that determines the floodplain setback and flood construction level in accordance with the provincial floodplain guidelines. Please contact the Planning Services Department to confirm the requirements.
Other amendments to the bylaw include specifying the distance the flood construction level needs to be, limiting the size of additions below the flood construction level, updating definitions and removing references to the Strathcona Regional District.
The updates to the bylaw are considered an interim measure to reflect new provincial standards and provide clarity to land owners and developers. The Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) Coastal Floodplain Mapping project will produce new coastal mapping that identifies where and how deep the water will be during a flood event and how this might change with sea level rise. The maps will also identify where and how high the buildings, structures and infrastructure should be constructed to mitigate flood damage. The next step of this project (dependent on grant funding) would be risk and adaptation planning, which may include more comprehensive updates to the Floodplain Management Bylaw.