Letter submitted by Cadboro Bay Resident to Saanich Council:
Dear Saanich Council members,
On this coming Monday evening, 22 August you will be considering what form of new
Local Area Plan, LAP, will be adopted for the Cadboro Bay area.
All four proposals wish to address affordable housing, something to be encouraged.
One way to accomplish this is the reduction in minimum lot sizes to try to make the land cost portion of the housing equation less expensive.
There is a proposal to reduce lot sizes in the low lying Gyro Park area. It is well known
and documented by Saanich that this area is subject to extensive and repeated flooding by winter storms. The flooding will continue to increase over the next several decades, due to rising sea levels. Saanich Emergency Preparedness is also very aware of the potential for more severe flooding in the area in the event of a tsunami.
Please see sketch below combining the tsunami hazard zone and the proposed
reduced minimum lot size zone 780 square meter.
We respectfully ask that the lower half of the proposed new 780 square meter zone be left with the current lot zoning (RS-10 mainly) in place and only the upper half be
classified as 780SQM.
The proposal to make everything 780SQM will encourage more people living in more
housing in unsafe areas. In the lower half, a 16% reduction in minimum lot size
encourages more people to live in jeopardy.
Is this change responsible?
Recall events of January 2018, Saanich emergency personnel went door to door at 3 in the morning awaking residents for a possible tsunami event triggered by an Alaskan earthquake. Sirens could not be used as the authorities did not want a stampede of both ‘in danger’ and ‘not in danger’ folks clogging roads, see the Victoria Times article:
From the Victoria News:
One year anniversary of tsunami warning in Victoria: what’s changed?
One year ago today, 23 January 2018, phones were chiming across Vancouver Island with tsunami warning alerts in effect for coastal areas of British Columbia. The alerts came after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska, leading the National Tsunami Warning Center to issue warnings for coastal B.C., stretching from Washington State up to Attu, Alaska.
RELATED: Tsunami warning after earthquake rattles Saanich residents
In the early hours of the morning, emergency crews began knocking on doors in low-lying areas of Greater Victoria. Greater Victoria residents gather at higher ground during tsunami warning The warning ended by 5:30 a.m., when the B.C. government issued a statement. “A tsunami warning on the coast of B.C. has now been cancelled. Overnight, several communities along the coast activated their emergency plans and evacuated those at risk,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety.
What do the experts say:
The latest and highest resolution tsunami modelling completed for the area is linked on the CRD website: https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/data/climate-change/coastal-flood-inundation-mapping-project
At the RHS, see Project Reports – Nov 2021 – Task 3.
Of most relevance to Saanich are the maximum modelled tsunami elevations in Table 4-2, with maps in Figures 4-18 and 4-19. For Saanich, modelled elevations are 3-3.5 m for two different tsunami types – both a subduction zone tsunami (CSZ-L1) and a tsunami triggered by a smaller, but closer fault (Devil’s Mountain fault, DMF). Notably, although DMF earthquakes occur less frequently, there will be almost no warning – the residents of the Saanich hazard zone will have barely 5 minutes to get to higher ground following the onset of strong shaking (see Table 4-3).
The latest national-scale sea level projections are provided at:
The potential for 1 m rise by 2100 (as shown in Fig 4i and Fig 5 of that report) is also noted in the LAP draft. Note that sea level rise will also bring tsunamis to higher elevations than currently modelled.
UVic Assistant Professor Lucinda Leonard also notes that some modelled events are still not well constrained and levels could well reach higher.
Council has enormous powers, please make responsible, informed choices.
Council’s first responsibility is public safety, our generation and future populations will understand why additional density was not pursued inappropriately.
Here is a suggestion, leave the lower lying areas within the tsunami hazard zone ‘as-is’, lot minimums to remain the same. The higher elevations (above 5 meters) to change to
780SQM (8,396sf from the current 10,000sf RS-10 zoning).
This is our annotated map included in Saanich Tsunami Brochure referenced below.
Our recommendation to council is to limit the 780 sq.m. area to the slightly higher elevation properties where the flood and tsunami risk is lower. (i.e., 5 meters or more above mean sea level)
Thank you for your consideration
D and D Waring
47 year Saanich residents
These are the original Saanich reference sources for the above ‘sketch’
This annotated map combines contour lines and minimum lot sizes
(Apologies for the rushed quality), note that the tsunami hazard zone appears to follow the 5m contour which has been inked in as a solid line. To repeat ourselves, we strongly recommend leaving the area below the 5m contour ‘as-is’, no change to the minimum existing sizes under the current zoning, changing things in the LAP will encourage change. This would recognize the certainty of Tsunami risk and rising sea levels.