Sea Level Rise and Climate Adaptation

Sea levels are expected to rise as a result of climate change and winter storms are expected to increase in intensity. Planning for climate change and sea level rise now will help reduce costs and impacts in the future.

The Province adopted an amendment to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines as of January 1, 2018, by incorporating sea level rise into building setbacks and flood construction levels in all coastal areas. Provincial guidelines indicate that wave effect and freeboard, which would increase water levels above what previous flood maps indicated, also have to be considered when preparing mapping to determine a Flood Construction Level (FCL).

CVRD Coastal Flood Mapping Project

  • In August 2018, CVRD Planning and Development Services and Comox Valley Emergency Program staff jointly applied to the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) to develop coastal flood mapping as well as a riverine flood model and flood map for the Oyster River system. 
  • The CVRD has secured $500,000 through the National Disaster Mitigation Program for coastal flood mapping.
  • The CVRD Coastal Flood Mapping project stems from the 2018 Oyster River/Saratoga Beach Flood Risk Assessment Final Report, funded by the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund and conducted by Ebbwater Consulting. The risk assessment determined there is significant flood risk. Flood mapping and risk reduction were identified as priorities in the final report.
  • The CVRD intends to work with adjacent local governments to undertake the coastal flood mapping of the entire CVRD geographic area in order to gain a complete picture of sea level rise in the region.
  • With funds secured, the next step in understanding the full picture of flood mitigation in the Comox Valley.

 Project Next steps

  • A necessary first step in flood management is to acquire coastal flood hazard maps to better understand where and how deep the water might be in a flood event, especially in the context of changing sea levels.
  • With funding support from the National Disaster Mitigation Program, this work is being conducted by Kerr Wood Leidel (KWL) Consulting Engineers.
  • When complete in 2020, the CVRD anticipates undertaking a risk assessment to inform risk-based planning, which is considered the best practice for disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation.
  • The CVRD is in the research phase, which includes undertaking a coastal analysis to develop coastal hazard maps. Project deliverables will support the CVRD’s aim to become more resilient to flood hazards and lay the foundation for future flood mitigation planning which may include updates to bylaws and regulations as well as future assessments, policies and plans regarding sea level rise adaptation.

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