Sea Level Rise Adaptation Program

Sea Level Rise and Climate Adaptation

To help communities adapt to our changing environment, the RDN has launched the Sea Level Rise and Climate Adaptation Program. This multi-year initiative is designed to use the latest approaches in science and engineering to better understand flood hazards and identify applicable flood mitigation options to reduce the risk of flooding. These resources will be used by engineers and the development industry to plan construction projects and to update development policies and bylaws to ensure a standard of public safety into the future.

Coastal Flood Hazards

In January 2018, the Province of BC adopted an amendment to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines that incorporated new building standards for coastal areas that consider relative sea level rise (RSLR) to 1.0 metre. These standards were integrated into the RDN's Floodplain Management Bylaw No. 1469 in December 2018.

To improve in the application of these standards, the RDN has developed a Coastal Flood Hazard Map Atlas containing four types of flood hazard maps, which were developed in two phases. Phase 1 is for the northern communities, outer part of Area B and Phase 2 is for Area A and the inner part of Area B. Most coastal property owners will refer to Map Atlas, Series 4, FCL Reach 1.0 m RSLR, which is used to easily identify which properties are within the coastal floodplain and the standard for Flood Construction Level (FCL). The FCL being the minimum elevation of a floor system for new construction of any habitable building adjacent to the Strait of Georgia.

The full atlas of coastal flood hazard maps is provided below for information and is accompanied by an overview report and related staff report for context:

Coastal Map Atlas, Series 4, FCL Reach 1.0 m RSLR

Coastal Maps Atlas, Series 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8

River Flood Hazards

There are three major river systems in the region (Nanaimo River, Englishman River and Little Qualicum River) that are prone to flooding. Development in these areas is regulated through the Floodplain Management Bylaw No. 1469, and is based on flood hazard mapping produced by the province in the 1980s and 1990s. These maps do not incorporate changes in the river systems over the last 40 years, nor do they consider factors relating to climate change, such as projected changes in precipitation. To address this, the RDN is updating the river flood hazard maps to include river and coastal influences within the context of climate change. Over the next three years, the river flood hazard maps will be updated starting with the Englishman River in the Summer of 2020 through 2021. Once the maps are developed, they will be made available for use, and the applicable development policies and bylaws will be updated.

Information on active land use bylaw updates can be found by periodically checking the RDN’s Get Involved webpage. Or by contacting the RDN Planning Department directly at 250-390-6510. 

Other Resources