Sea Level Rise Incorporated into Flood Hazard Guidelines

Posted on 09 November 2017
An amendment to BC’s Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines incorporating sea level rise into building setbacks and flood construction in coastal areas will come into effect January 1, 2018.  Local governments are required to consider the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines in development and land-use management planning and approval decisions for flood hazard areas. 

The amendment is based on a 2011 technical report commissioned by the Province, which recommended incorporating sea level rise into planning and development to ensure a standard of public safety into the future. The amendment recommends that coastal communities allow 1.0 m sea level rise by 2100 and 2.0 m sea level rise by 2200 (relative to the year 2000 and considering regional uplift and subsidence). It provides recommended flood construction levels and setbacks that local governments are required to consider when making bylaws for designated sea level rise planning areas. The definition of and methodology for the determination of flood construction levels and setbacks for coastal areas have also been modified.

The amendment is available on the Provincial government website. It is supplemented by the 2011 report Climate Change Adaption Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use – Guidelines for Management of Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use, and the 2011 companion report, Climate Change Adaption Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use - Draft Policy Discussion Paper.  

As identified by Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s professional practice guidelines Flood Mapping in BC and Legislated Flood Assessments in a Changing Climate in BC, those acting in the role of Qualified Professional must review and reference relevant legislation, such as the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines, and appropriately educate the client regarding pertinent aspects while providing services such as determining flood construction levels, flood plain mapping and flood assessments. 

Starting in 2013, consultation on the amendment to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines occurred prior to implementation, seeking feedback from technical experts, local government professional staff, First Nations, and other stakeholders. Engineers and Geoscientists BC participated, providing review of and input on the amendment. 
 
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