Re: Waiting for the Big One to Strike, in the Jan. 24 issue.
Thank you for having Dr. Johnston remind us that Oak Bay is living on borrowed time. His quote, “Tsunamis, which are typically responsible for the greatest loss of life,” was proven by the southeast Asian tsunami of 2005 and again in 2011 in Japan. Those tsunamis voided every existing tsunami planning map as being far too optimistic.
According to the new CRD flood planning maps, the flood plains of Oak Bay are at high risk from rising sea levels. These flood plains stretch inland from our bays, that is, along Monterey Avenue from Shoal Bay, and along Windsor Avenue and Bowker Creek from Oak Bay.
Long ago when sea levels were higher, Anderson Hill (southeast tip of Oak Bay) was an island cut off by a sea channel that ran between Shoal and Oak Bay. The tides churned through there like they still do today between Anderson Hill and Trial Island. Although it may take rising sea levels hundreds of years to recreate this channel, one 2011-sized tsunami could recreate it in 10 minutes on any day of the week. This would mean the devastation of a six-block-wide strip running all along Monterey and Windsor.
Oak Bay has just hired a full-time town planner, presumably to comply with CRD agreements that our community plan includes, a reduction in the number of people and buildings at risk in these priority flood zones. The new CRD estimate is that $500 million worth of properties are at high risk of sea floods in Oak Bay, so likely over 3,000 people.