Sidney’s adaptation planning in the face of rising sea levels caused by climate change is “its relative infancy,” according to municipality’s chief administrator.
“The Town of Sidney’s focus on adaptation planning is in its relative infancy; however, some work has been done,” said Randy Humble, Sidney’s CAO. “In 2017, the Town established an [interim flood construction level policy] for new construction. The establishment of such a policy is not mandated by the province, but is based upon the BC Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines. Please note that consideration of other climate adaptation initiatives, including discussion of a future strategy, are in the early stages of development.”
He made these comment after the Peninsula News Review sought comment on a new report from the International Panel on Climate. Its Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate prepared by more than 100 scientists from more than 30 countries assessed what the report calls the “latest scientific knowledge about the physical science basis and impacts of climate change on ocean, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems, and the human communities that depend on them.”
The report says the global sea level is currently rising more than twice as fast — 3.6 mm per year — than it did during the 20th century, during which the global sea level rose 15 centimetres, with the rate of rise accelerating.“Sea level will continue to rise for centuries,” it reads. “It could reach around 30-60 cm by 2100 even if greenhouse gas emissions are sharply reduced and global warming is limited to well below 2C, but around 60-110 cm if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly.”
While the report does not directly address the impacts of rising seal levels on the Saanich Peninsula, it notes with “very high confidence” that “[risk] related to sea level rise (including erosion, flooding and salinization) is expected to significantly increase by the end of this century along all low-lying coasts in the absence of major additional adaptation efforts.”
In other words, Sidney’s shoreline and everything along it — be in public infrastructure or private residences — face significant changes.