City planners in Campbell River, B.C., have planned to address climate change impacts and rising sea levels on stormwater infrastructure and public space in 2017.

In a statement released December 1st, Campbell River gave notice that it would fund a study on how to protect long-term infrastructure along the community’s waterfront.

“An important step in the City’s asset maintenance process will involve reviewing the scheduled replacement plans for critical infrastructure that may be affected by sea level rise to ensure that we select locations and alignments that minimize risk,” said Ron Neufeld, deputy City manager and general manager of operations. “For example, over the long-term, sewer and water lines that are currently buried on the water side of the highway may be relocated farther inland to provide better protection and access.”

In its 2012 Community Plan, which guides the municipality’s development broader development goals, the city outlined its intention to “develop community outreach and education programs that promote integrated storm water management practices, and promotion of pervious materials use.” The goal being to “reduce operating costs for pumping and wastewater and water treatment and support carbon-neutral local government commitments.”

Historically, heavy rain combined with strong south-east winds and king tides slow the flow of stormwater from low-lying areas in the city. The same community plan outlines strong regulations for development in watershed areas, mandating impervious site surfaces to less then 10 per cent of the total site area and requiring on-site oil/sediment/water separators in all zones to remove point-source pollution from stormwater runoff.

“With rising sea levels and with more frequent storms anticipated, we can expect that our existing storm drain system will be overwhelmed more often,” Neufeld added. “As a result, we will need to make changes and improvements to the way we manage stormwater within the community, and particularly in those areas most affected by sea level rise.”

The city has also halted plans to upgrade a park. Planners have found it necessary to reassess the planned upgrades to Ostler Park to keep pace with the anticipated impacts of climate change.

“We appreciate all the time people have taken to provide input on this project, and we realize this delay might be disappointing, but it’s wise to ensure we build this project on the most solid science,” says City manager Deborah Sargent. “New information has become available since the feasibility plan for Ostler Park upgrades was first presented. To be fiscally prudent, this project will be postponed until we have a revised design that incorporates these new realities.”


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