The city has put itself in the running for grant funding to help protect the community from the threat of serious flooding as a consequence of rising sea levels.
Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator, and Chris Osborne, the city’s senior planner, wrote in a joint report to city council that the threat from sea level rise is real and the city needs to be prepared.
“The Campbell River area has experienced a number of severe storms over the last few years and it is anticipated that these storms will continue and will increase in frequency and intensity due to climate change. When combined with king tides and storm surge conditions, coastal flooding and bank erosion are significant risks along the city’s shoreline,” they wrote. “It is necessary for the City of Campbell River to understand better how projected coastal flooding, surface flooding and sea level rise will impact key areas within the community and develop a plan to replace/relocate/protect infrastructure accordingly, and to enact appropriate land-use management bylaws and policies.”
The threat from sea level rise has already affected projects such as improvements to Robert Ostler Park which were put on hold so that the city can first get a hold of downtown flooding issues.
City staff is currently working on a multi-faceted approach to studying the impacts of sea level rise and climate change and developing options and potential solutions for Campbell River’s coastline using funding allocated by council ($65,000 for 2017 and $85,000 in 2018). Staff is also using that funding to try and leverage funding from other organizations.
At its Oct. 23 meeting, council directed city staff to apply to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ Emergency Preparedness Fund for $150,000 for sea level rise planning.
The funding is earmarked for ensuring local governments across B.C. are aware of the flood hazards they face and to develop strategies to mitigate and prepare for those risks, according to city staff.
If the city is successful in its application, it will receive 100 per cent funding, up to a maximum of $150,000, to complete studies and develop images and information related to potential impacts of sea level rise in Willow Point and the Painter-Barclay area.
The city has already submitted another application to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for similar plans to protect key infrastructure elsewhere in the community.
“If received, these grants will enable the city to undertake a high level comprehensive overview of the impacts of sea level rise along Campbell River’s coastline, and begin to undertake detailed coastal assessments along the foreshore in strategic areas including the downtown, estuary, Willow Point and Painter Barclay neighbourhoods.”
Whether or not the city will be successful in its grant application to the UBCM emergency fund is expected to be determined in January.