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Saltair study guides development in areas that may be subjected to natural hazards

June 16, 2022

Current View

By Richard Guthrie

Stantec’s Dr. Rick Guthrie discusses abundant landslide activity in the past factoring into future decisions

The findings of field studies conducted in 2021 by the Cowichan Valley Regional District that examined natural hazards in the coastal zone, causes of slope instability and potential impacts of sea level rise were revealed to Saltair residents during a public information meeting by Stantec’s Dr. Richard Guthrie.

The purpose of the open house was to provide further opportunity to present and discuss the Saltair Coastal Slope Stability Assessment and draft Bylaw No. 4427 Development Permit Area 7: Landslide Hazard (DPA 7). The draft bylaw guides development activities in areas that may be subject to natural hazards and has been amended to include the report recommendations and new mapping.

The scope of the work was to identify and characterize changes in slope stability considering a future sea level rise of one metre and based on observations of increased incidents of slope failure along the coastal zone. The Stantec team (in association with Palmer) found several low angle landslides that extended deep into the community, into regions previously presumed to be stable. Stantec determined the probability of occurrence to help residents understand why the landslides were previously unrecognized, and to present the results within the context of the CVRD hazard and risk tolerance criteria. Stantec presented the results, explaining the complex math in a digestible form, to the community during the open house. We helped explain that the risk level islow in any given year but becomes more significant when considering longer time periods such as the 50-100 year lifespan of a house.

Recommendations from the study were made to both the public and the CVRD about how to proceed with the available data.

  • Richard Guthrie

    Richard brings over 25 years of experience in geotechnical analysis and expert advice, gaining some impressive industry recognition along the way.

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