Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks

Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks

Proposed setbacks irk Hicks

Social and economic tsunamis could result from changes

Over the next 200 years, water levels are expected to rise two metres and because of that estimate, the B.C government is recommending changes to building codes and regulations.

In an amendment to Section 3.5 and 3.6 – Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines, the government asked for comments from the Capital Regional District on proposed changes to setbacks in areas with may be susceptible to tsunamis, storm surges, steep properties and dikes.

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks is not happy with the report presented to the CRD Board.

“The report says property in the Strait of Georgia can keep the 15 metre setback, but property in a tsunami zone it’s 30 metres,” said Hicks.

Hicks said they are using a standard associated with the Alaska earthquake in 1964 in Prince William Sound.

Hicks said there was no reported damage in the Juan de Fica, including Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht, Jordan River or Gordon’s Beach from the 1964 tsunami.

“We’ve never had a tsunami here,” said Hicks.

He feels the 30 metre setback is completely unreasonable as is the five metre Flood Construction Level.

What this would mean is that in case of fire or damage, a home or building could not be rebuilt with the previous setbacks if these recommended changes come into effect.

“At most, I believe that the few JDF residents affected by the possible rise of global sea levels will be able to raise their foundations, design tsunami resistant break away foundations or create dikes in Port Renfrew. Currently we use professional geotects and engineers in the JDF to advise, case by case, property by property  the best way to counter the power of the ocean. I think we should continue this practice rather than adopting the general regulations suggested by the provincial government which will cause it’s own economic and social tsunami,” said Hicks.

At this point the government is only asking for comments from various governing bodies.