The Vancouver Sun has written an article on the future of flooding in Metro Vancouver, and it is not a pretty picture.
The Fraser Basin Council has done some research and is suggesting that close to 71 per cent of the dikes in the area will fail with a major flood or climatic event from the Fraser River or from the ocean.
The study newly released last week suggests that nearly 110,000 hectares could be underwater, with transportation and food routes cut off. Lower Mainland floods are projected to worsen over the next 85 years. These impacts can be mitigated with proactive planning and comprehensive management of dike building and restoring. The study also showed that many of the First Nations settlements in the area will be severely impacted by storm surges and/or flooding.
An earlier study had suggested that the costs of dike upgrades would be in the $9 billion dollar range. This compares to the potential flood damage being $22.9 billion dollars today, to an estimated $24.7 billion dollars in the year 2100.
The cost of increasing flood protection will be determined in the next phase, but Fraser Basin officials noted that an earlier study had pegged the cost of dike upgrades at $9 billion.
The City of Vancouver has identified 11 areas in need of flood mitigation and has been working on a flood plan for the past five years as part of its climate adaptation strategy. Those impacted lands include False Creek, Coal Harbour, Stanley Park and the Fraser River lands. It is unfortunate that several of these areas also contain a lot of housing.
New houses in the city must also be 4.6 meters above the main tide levels. I have been specifically watching the prices of houses north and south of the 3500 block of West 48th Avenue-the north side of the street and the streets to the north are above the flood plain, the south side of the street and the streets to the south would be underwater if subject to a flood. So far realized sale prices on both sides of the flood line are consistent, and not reflective of the potential flooding problems.
Is it enough? Should the city be warning potential purchasers in impacted lands of flood concerns in these areas? What about housing located near the Fraser River in the rest of the region?