As Vancouver’s coastal line is expected to be hit by the seasonal King Tide next week, the city’s mayor says they are trying to work ahead by sandbagging areas expected to be hardest hit while working on a more permanent solution.
In 2012, a massive King Tide combined with a storm surge caused extensive flooding in the area of Vancouver’s Locarno Beach, Stanley Park Sea Wall and Kitsilano pool.
King Tides, also known as perigean spring tides, are extreme high-tide events that occur when the Sun and Moon’s gravitation forces reinforce one another at times of the year when the Moon is closest to the Earth. They happen twice a year, but they are typically more dramatic during winter.
Today, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced they are launching their third annual pro-active sandbagging operation to protect low-lying homes from potential flooding ahead of the King Tide expected to hit as early as Nov.15.
Robertson is blaming the changing nature of the King Tides on climate change.
He says billions of dollars will have to be invested to deal with the problem of rising sea levels on the Lower Mainland in the future.
For now, sand bagging is the approach the city is taking.
City’s General Manager of Engineering, Jerry Dobrovolny, says they will be installing over 3,500 sand bags at a cost of $45,000 in what has become an annual event for city crews.
“If we have a major storm hit with heavy rain, wind and low pressure at the same time as the King Tides, we could see severe flooding through this whole area,” said Dobrovolny. “What once was a very rare, occasional event is becoming a regular occurrence. That’s why we are starting to take a number of precautions related to climate change and will continue to do more and more as time goes on.”
READ MORE: Sandbags to greet Vancouver’s King Tide
Robertson says city council has heard a presentation about rising sea levels and their potential impact on the city last week.
“There are a number of areas around the city that are at sea level and are increasingly at the risk of flooding,” said Robertson. “We have work going on now by city staff to lay out the options of how permanent we can make these changes — whether it’s building a road bed or levy. The sooner we start, the better. But for now, we have to sandbag annually when the King Tides arrive.”
With the King Tides approaching, Dobrovolny says residents should make sure to clear catch basins, gutters and water drains on their property.
“A lot of the flooding that we see overland is caused by blocked drainage,” said Dobrovolny.