Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy

Background

In coastal areas of the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), sea levels are expected to rise as a result of climate change, which will increase flooding from coastal storms. Planning for these changes now will help reduce costs and impacts in the future. In 2018, the Province directed Local Governments to plan for 1 metre of sea level rise. To address this and other climate-related coastal flood issues the CVRD is developing a Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy (CFAS).

The goals and the objectives are to: 

  • Minimize risks and vulnerabilities and increase community resiliency from climate change impacts. 
  • Build adaptive capacity to respond effectively to climate change impacts over time. 
  • Increase awareness and education among CVRD staff, external stakeholders and the community to enhance coastal adaptation and flood risk understanding and capacity. 
  • Strengthen the relationship between the CVRD and external stakeholders. 
  • Develop preferred adaptation options for managing coastal flood resiliency and mitigating coastal flood hazards. 
  • Prioritize coastal flood adaptation efforts.

The CVRD has so far taken a two-phased approach to developing the strategy.  

Phase 1 – Coastal Flood Mapping Project 

A necessary first step in coastal flood management is to acquire coastal flood hazard maps to better understand where and how deep the water might be in a flood event. Phase 1 of the strategy involved detailed analysis and modelling of coastal flood hazards, including various combinations of coastal storm and sea level rise scenarios. With funding support from the National Disaster Mitigation Program, this work was conducted by Kerr Wood Leidal (KWL) Associates Ltd. A variety of mapping products were created, and the project was completed spring 2021.

Phase 1 Findings

The Coastal Flood Mapping Project is now complete. The Coastal Flood Mapping Final Report provides an overview of the mapping project including the scope, methodology, high level key findings and recommendations for next steps.  

Regulatory Coastal Floodplain Mapping

Phase 2 – Flood Risk Assessment and Preliminary Options Assessment 

Phase 2 of the Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy builds on the coastal flood hazard mapping results to develop and implement a decision-making process to identify preferred adaptation actions that maybe used within areas of risk. Phase 2 is now under way, and includes a high-level risk assessment (i.e., identification of what valuable assets lie within present-day and future flood hazard areas), stakeholder engagement to understand local values related to flood risk and flood mitigation, and development of decision tools to support the identification of preferred adaptation options. The flood risk study area includes the CVRD Electoral Areas coastlines and K’ómoks First Nation IR#1, IR#2, and IR#3 (excluding City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, and Denman and Hornby Islands).

The CVRD received a $150,000 grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Emergency Management BC towards this project and retained Ebbwater Consulting Inc. and SHIFT Collaborative to conduct the work. 

Phase 2 Staff Reports

Phase 2 Public Engagement Session

An introductory information session on coastal flood risk in the Comox Valley.
 

On November 30, 2021, the CVRD held a virtual information session addressing coastal flood risk in the Comox Valley. The CVRD shared just completed updated floodplain maps for the entire area that include the effects of sea level rise and climate change. 

Phase 2 Findings

Phase 2 is now complete. Staff brought forward the CFAS Final Report to the Electoral Area Service Committee on March 14, 2022. The Final Report provides an overview of the project, the engagement process, the structured decision-making process that was used to explore adaptation pathways and a series of prioritized implementation actions.

CFAS Final Report

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Project Contact

Contact Robyn Holme, Long Range Planner, Planning and Development Services online or call 250-334-6000.