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Marine Policy Planning

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Marine Policy Planning


Ongoing climate change is expected to lead to many changes including increased temperatures and as a result, increased ice melting and rising sea levels. Although the pace of these effects is still uncertain, the District of North Saanich (DNS) is undertaking planning work to assess, evaluate and plan for the expected effects of rising sea levels and the likely consequences around the shoreline of the District. The current flood risk for the District of North Saanich is projected to increase in some areas of the coast of North Saanich during the lifespan of buildings being developed now. Planning for this now, will reduce impacts and costs down the road as the risk is projected to increase with time.

The marine policy Planning project relates to the following District of North Saanich strategic goals:

  • Preserve and Protect Sensitive & Significant Environmental Areas & Ecosystems
  • Preserve and Protect Sensitive Marine & Inter-tidal Habitats
  • Climate Change Impacts Mitigated

The marine policy planning project advances the following District of North Saanich strategic plan projects and Initiatives:

  • Identify Roles for the District of North Saanich in the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary
  • Review and develop policies to guide marine and shoreline development (including planning for sea level rise
  • Consider the Marine Task Force recommendations and work plan
  • Review District bylaws and policies that affect waterfront property owners

The District retained SNC-Lavalin Inc. (SLI) to define the Flood Construction Levels (FCL) for the District of North Saanich, considering site-specific conditions such as wave exposure and shoreline type.

Project Documents and Reports


Public Consultation/Workshop Information

Notice to Developers – Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines

The Provincial Government update to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines (FHALUMG, 2004) to include guidance on land use and development in areas that will be affected by sea level rise will come into effect on January 1, 2018 to allow a transition period for local governments. This update is based on a technical report commissioned by the Province and published in 2011, which demonstrates how sea level rise will influence setbacks and flood construction levels in coastal areas and recommends incorporating sea level rise into planning and development to ensure a standard of public safety into the future. The Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines have been prepared by the provincial government to help local governments, land-use managers, and approving officers develop and implement land-use management plans, and make subdivision approval decisions, in areas subject to flood hazards.

This update represents a significant policy change that will impact land use and development decisions made by local governments in coastal areas. The update amends sections 3.5 (The Sea) and 3.6 (Areas Protected by Standard Dikes) based on a series of technical studies, Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use (Ausenco Sandwell, 2011), as well as discussion with local governments and stakeholders over several years.

A technical working group of local government professional staff was established by the Province to review written submissions on the FHALUMG proposed amendments and make recommendations to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations regarding changes to the draft amendment. 

The Local Government Act:

Section 298where building regulations are established or under S.305 where the building inspector considers that construction would be subject to flooding and flood proofing conditions are not established in any of the above
Section 488where a development permit area has been designated under the provisions of Section 488 a development permit may specific areas of land that may be subject to hazardous conditions;
Section 479can regulate parcel configuration, the density of the land use, siting and standards of buildings and structures;
Section 524 of the Local Government Act to enact either flood construction level or floodplain setback standards.

Additional Resources

Adapting to Climate Change – BC Coast Engineers & Geoscientists BC
Legislated Flood Assessments in a Changing Climate in BC
Relative Sea level Project in Canada & Adjacent Mainland US
Canada’s Marine Coast in a Changing Climate – 2016
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Coastal Floodplain Mapping – Guidelines and Specifications (June, 2011) PLEASE NOTE: this is a large file and may take time to download
BC Ministry of Environment
Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer A Toolkit to Build Adaptive Capacity on Canada’s South Coasts (January 2013)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
An Examination of the Factors Affecting Relative and Absolute Sea Level in Coastal British Columbia Canadian Technical Report of Hydrography and Ocean Sciences 260 (2008)
BC Ministry of Environment
Professional Practices in Assessing Flood Protection Guidelines (June 30, 2014)
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