Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

False creek – flooding?

with 3 comments

The following item was sent to the trans-action email list serve by Jack Becker. It is reproduced here with his permission

How Susceptible is the City of Vancouver and the False Creek Neighbourhood from Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels?

At an open house for the Southeast False Creek Lands, the Olympic site, before its approval at the City’s Council, I asked a planner if provisions were being made in the development for the predicted rising of the sea level from global warming. He responded that there were not and further that city management did not want to consider that need.

As a resident on the north side of False Creek, my thoughts were that the city wanted to get into the sand bagging business or wanted to throw a lot of work to the retaining wall builders when water levels were threatening to cross the seaside roads and enter into the doors of the roadside townhouses.

Today, around noon as I was cycling along the seawall, I noticed that some of the gangways to the False Creek ferries docks were bending slightly upwards at the docks, not downwards as is usual. Also, I noticed that the walkways along the seawall were submerged with the water level almost reaching the underside of the benches facing the water.

Sure it had snowed somewhat for two days and rained for the last 18 hours. But the Pacific Ocean is a wide body of water with capabilities to absorb such rainfall. False Creek is not a river.

So, with high tide, the water level was within one and a half meter of Marinaside Crescent and about two to two and a half meters from the front door of the townhouses abutting the Seaside Path.

Is there a lesson here for us?

H-JEH (Jack) Becker


Written by Stephen Rees

December 4, 2007 at 12:57 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I am assuming this refers to yesterday Dec.3rd. We are on the south arm of the Fraser in Ladner. The tide predicted was an 14.8 ft. high at approx. 1:30. Between the strong South East winds and the heavy rains that night our tide ended up being 18.3 ft. It sounds like the tide (1:00 pm high) in False Creek was similar in height. If the wind is sustained enough from the southwest thru to southeast, it can hold the tide up and create a surge. Also the rains Sunday night were particularly heavy and warm which created substantial melting in the mountains that seems to have combined with the storm surge.

    There was some disagreement here as to whether the extra height was due to river levels from the night before or a wind generated storm surge. So your comments more or less clarify the situation. We are in the delta about 1.6 miles from the open Straight of Georgia so heavy flows don’t make much difference in height of tides. One late breaking note, a friend of ours who lives on the water in Tsawassen also had a 3.5 ft. higher tide yesterday. According to our tide charts any tide over 17 ft. is unusually high. You may recall the high tides in the Campbell River area about 3 weeks ago on a Sunday? Well a good friend lives on the other side of Quadra Island on Heriot Bay on the water facing south experienced a 6.5 extra height tide due to the the sustained winds that pushed it up to about 21 ft. Which flooded the garden around his house with about 12 inches.

    Concerning the Global Warming generated higher ocean levels. I suppose the canary in the coal mine are these storm surges as compared to past storm surges. Stay tuned!


    December 4, 2007 at 2:31 pm

  2. We dragon boat on False Creek and the section of the seawall with the nonsensical wording on the railing (i.e. art) has always seen some flooding during the high tides, especially in winter. That’s probably the lowest section of the seawall as it’s a section that steps down to the water from the regular pedestrian and bike path elevation.
    As for the lower level seawall along David Lam Park, I’m not sure if those areas were intended to flood – certainly the circular gazebo near the salt water fire station was intended to flood (as a feature of the design) and that’s close to the same elevation.

    Ron C.

    December 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm

  3. […] both cases the view espoused in earlier blog posts has been shown to have been right. I like being right. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", […]

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