The Province invited feedback on proposed amendments to the 2004 Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines. The Guidelines 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.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations updated these guidelines to include design considerations for land use and development in areas that will be affected by sea level rise. The update will amend Sections 3.5 (The Sea) and 3.6 (Areas Protected by Standard Dikes) based on a series of technical studies, the Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines for Sea Dikes and Coastal Flood Hazard Land Use (Ausenco Sandwell, 2011), as well as discussions with local governments and stakeholders over the past three years.
The Ministry considered all feedback and recommendations in preparing the final guideline amendment. A technical working group was established to review written submissions and make recommendations regarding changes to the draft amendment.
May 2013 to October 31, 2014
A technical working group of local government professional staff was formed in May 2014 to provide advice to the Province on the wording of the proposed amendment to Sections 3.5 and 3.6 of the Guidelines.
The technical working group included representatives from the Capital Regional District, City of Campbell River, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Corporation of Delta, Islands Trust, the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (Capital Regional District), City of Nanaimo, District of North Saanich, Town of Qualicum Beach, City of Richmond, Town of Sidney, District of Sooke, District of Squamish, Strathcona Regional District, City of Surrey, District of Tofino, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, City of Vancouver, City of Victoria, Town of View Royal, and District of West Vancouver.
Seven meetings were held between May 2014 and July 2015.
Fourteen written submissions were received on the proposed amendments during a public comment period between May and October 2014. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia provided a final review of the proposed amendments on October 2015.
Input leads to action:
The Technical Working Group provided recommendations to the Province on Version 1 of the guideline amendment on May 6, 2015, and Version 2 of the guideline amendment on July 2, 2015.
On July 20, 2015, the Water Policy and Legislation Committee approved the Technical Working Group’s recommendations. The status of provincial action on each of the recommendations as of October 25, 2016 is summarized below:
The following recommendations were made upon completion of the review of Version 1 of the proposed amendment on May 6, 2015:
|1. Provincial staff to prepare a second version of the draft amendment to the Guidelines based on the comments and feedback recorded during the Technical Working Group’s review process.||Complete|
|2. Provincial staff to prepare a rationale document to accompany the second version of the Guideline amendment explaining how Technical Working comments were considered.||Complete|
|3. Provincial staff to make a request to the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG BC) to review the Guideline amendment to determine if it presents a barrier to APEG BC members certifying that land may be used safely for the use intended.||Complete– APEG BC recommendations incorporated into Version 4|
|4. Provincial staff to seek advice regarding the use of the term “future estimated natural boundary” in the Guideline amendment and its potential to be in conflict with the definition of “natural boundary” in the Land Act.||Complete – no concerns|
|5. Provincial staff to seek advice from the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation to determine implications of the Guideline changes for First Nations and identify appropriate engagement actions.||In progress|
|6. Provincial staff to develop a Power Point presentation that local governments can use in communicating about the Guideline amendment.||Outstanding|
The following recommendations were made upon completion of the review of Version 2 of the proposed amendment and at the conclusion of the TWG engagement process on July 2, 2015:
|Provincial staff to complete Technical Working Group recommendations 3, 5 and 6 from May 6, 2015 (See below).||In progress – see below|
|Provincial staff prepare a third version of the draft amendment to the Guidelines based on feedback received during the Technical Working Group meeting held on July 2, 2015, and comments submitted subsequently by email.||Version 4 prepared and will be presented to the Water Policy & Legislation Committee for approval at December meeting|
|Provincial staff circulate version 4 of the amendment to the Technical Working Group and post it to the provincial government’s website.||Outstanding – will complete when final wording approved by the Water Policy & Legislation Committee and after engagement with First Nations|
|Provincial staff to notify affected local governments about the Province’s intention to approve and publish the guideline amendment.||Outstanding – will complete when final wording approved by the Water Policy & Legislation Committee and after engagement with First Nations|
|Provincial staff allow at least two months for local governments to present the guideline amendment to their boards and councils prior to seeking internal approval of the amendment (noting that many local government boards and councils do not meet in August).||Outstanding. Will be incorporated into communications plan|
|Provincial staff to develop a communications plan relating to the publication of the guideline amendment that places the Province in a leading communications role, includes communications support for local governments and targets audiences such as the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities.||Outstanding|
Additional TWG Concerns
The Water Policy and Legislation Committee was briefed at their July 20, 2015 meeting regarding the following additional concerns expressed by Technical Working Group members:
- The need for further consultation with First Nations, affected landowners and professional associations;
- The need for provincial leadership in communicating the new guideline to affected parties;
- A lack of technical guidance for determining wave effects and concern that approaches could vary widely between jurisdictions;
- Outdated tsunami information resulting in unreasonable setback guidelines;
- A lack of federal/provincial funding programs for sea level rise planning studies, floodplain mapping and flood protection infrastructure;
- Limited provincial program capacity to provide technical support and engage on development of long-term flood protection strategies;
- A lack of requirements for provincial agencies and Crown corporations to adhere to the guidelines and coordinate infrastructure development (e.g., highways and rail) with local government flood protection measures; and
- The absence of provincial role in floodplain mapping and lost opportunity to realize economies of scale and ensure consistent approaches.