Government proposes changes to flood hazard areas

Water front properties in JdF and Sooke will be affected

Mike Hicks

The Capital Regional District has released their analysis of properties affected by proposed amendments to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines.

Local governments were tasked with looking at the proposed amendments and to report back to the province on the implications. The amendments in response to climate change would see homeowners unable to rebuild on their ocean front properties with the current setbacks and minimum height above sea level.

The province estimates sea levels will rise approximately one metre by the year 2100.

The amendments are looking at increasing the setbacks for buildings from 15 metres to 30 metres and the Flood Construction Level from 1.5 metres to overĀ  5 metres above the natural boundary.

The recently released CRD analysis estimates more than 1,100 properties in the Juan de Fuca and 850 properties in Sooke will be affected. The estimated value of Juan de Fuca properties (land and improvements) in the Flood Hazard Area is $100 million; in Sooke the value is $130 million.

There are inter-governmental, social and economic implications according to the CRD analysis.

Once enacted, the authority for designating flood hazard areas rests with each local government, and local governments will need to develop their own analysis to determine how to interpret, and respond to the guidelines.

Hicks has responded to the province stating the guidelines are an over-reaction to the potential sea level rise and will devastate many of his constituents. He has requested further discussion before adoption of the guidelines.

Restrictive covenants would be applied to properties stipulating that any future reconstruction must meet the FCL and setbacks requirements in force at the time of redevelopment.

The CRD communicated with the 10 local First Nations with Reserve lands that could be directly impacted with the findings of the materials presented to the Board.