OUR VIEW: High tides yet to come

There’s evidence to suggest coastal areas would face disaster in the event of sea level rise.

When faced with a scenario that could impact one’s way of life or financial well-being, the typical response is to question the validity of said scenario.

It’s only natural. It was no surprise, then, that some people at North Saanich’s recent workshop on the effects of sea level rise along its coastline immediately questioned the validity of a study based on climate change data that shows the potential for higher tides and waves to negatively impact those people’s property. That study, commissioned by the District, has been out since May of this year — but it took a doctoral student’s visual representation of what it might mean, to really make the numbers sink in.

Estimates of anywhere from a half-metre to one metre rise in sea level around the Saanich Peninsula between now and the year 2100, are certainly causes of concern.

Climate scientists have, for a while now, been predicting higher ocean levels and more extreme weather events as the globe warms under the onslaught of greenhouse gases. Governments around the world are trying to reduce their impact on climate change and perhaps hold the line or reverse the trend. All with limited success.

And while this is all prediction and ‘best guess based on current information’ stuff, there’s enough evidence to suggest that coastal areas on Vancouver Island and around the world would face disaster in the event of sea level rise.

That’s why the District of North Saanich is taking a lead in planning for such events.

It’s early days yet. The District is slowly but surely developing a framework for future planning documents and perhaps even regulation. It’s going to take time, expertise and a lot of public input — and it could still face a political brick wall.

Yet, instead of letting the matter go, the municipality is taking steps to protect its citizens and its own infrastructure.

Will that have an impact on people’s property?

Yes.

Now people will have to judge whether that’s less of an impact than high tides yet to come.