Letters: Open letter to Minister

Hicks writes open letter to provincial ministers on tsunami risk

Dear Ministers Polak and Oakes,

I am the Regional Director of Juan de Fuca and wish to add my concerns to the Capital Regional District’s letter today dated Oct. 30, concerning proposed building regulations in response to tsunami and rising sea level risks on the coast of British Columbian and in particular the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The bottom line recommendation asks that buildings be raised from 1.5 metres to roughly 5 metres in response to a one metre rise in sea level.

The reasons given for this huge increase involves allowing for a projected storm surge. The storm surge, in reality varies from 0 inches to a few feet depending on the location. My home, for instance, is located in the Sooke Basin where there can never be a storm surge because of the protected harbour. This would be the same for the Beecher Bay First Nation’s development, Esquimalt Harbour and even Bamfield Harbour in the neighbouring regional district. It make absolutely no sense to have a universal increase based on storm surge.

The tsunami setback of 30 metres versus the existing 15 metres is also seriously flawed. People are encouraged to evacuate to a higher elevation rather than further back to avoid a tsunami wave. The recent tsunami in Japan travelled 10 kilometres inland. Fifteen metres at the same level is meaningless.

The universal  five-metre standard for building and 30-metre-tsuanmi setback will absolutely devastate thousands of homes and properties in the CRD and Coastal Vancouver Island. I am aware that very few communities have responded to your department’s recommendations which I would assume is because of the ongoing municipal elections.

This is the most important issue, that I have witnessed in my two terms on the CRD and I would ask that you stop the process, re-evaluate the basis for the recommendations and reach out for practical solutions to counter rising sea levels and the threat of a Tsuammi.

Mike Hicks

Regional Director

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area

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