What is the project about?
It is a major project to protect the community from the impacts of climate change. The creek system below Highway 1 in West Vancouver has many sections that are unable to safely convey large amounts of water from storm events. These events, while infrequent, would overpower the existing creek systems and have the potential to cause significant damage to existing properties, public infrastructure and creek ecology.
The solution is a diversion system that redirects excessive runoff during extreme rainfall events, which are increasing in frequency due to climate change. Approximately 800 properties in the Westmount and Altamont neighbourhoods will be protected by this project.
Is new development above the highway what makes the project necessary?
No. This project would be necessary even if there was no additional development above the highway, according to hydraulic analysis. Existing properties below the highway need the protection provided by the diversion pipe because these properties were often built inside current creek setbacks and, in some cases, on top of creeks. Many existing culverts are undersized and sections of channel are compromised by previously permitted and unpermitted encroachments within creek setbacks. All this creates risk of overland flooding.
Why is British Pacific Properties involved in this project?
Council always searches for alternative sources of funding for infrastructure projects. Council entered into a partnership with British Pacific Properties (BPP) to build this important infrastructure that meets the needs of both parties to the benefit of District taxpayers. By working together and combining funds, we are able to build a better solution for all residents.
What is this costing District taxpayers?
The District’s share has been capped, up to a maximum of $6.25 million. BPP will assume all remaining costs, currently estimated at $9.75 million, including overseeing the construction.
For the District’s portion, $4 million will come from Development Cost Charges related to growth and the remainder from the capital reserve, which is funded by utility fees, not property taxes. When construction is complete, the District will assume ownership of the infrastructure, having avoided any financial risk to taxpayers.
Will it harm the environment?
No. This project will not dam or damage any creeks. It will only allow for the diversion of excessive stormwater surges, which could overflow the creek banks. In doing so, the system will keep water levels in the creeks stable, protecting the ecology of the creeks from flood events and erosion. The benefit to the environment has always been a key consideration in the solution.
Has the District looked into other solutions?
Yes. The District has reviewed three potential solutions for this project and determined that a diversion is the optimal solution for this area. The project details were carefully considered and this plan is the least intrusive option.
In addition to the District’s Professional Engineers on staff, the following third party professionals have been involved in reviewing the options and developing design solutions for this project: Dayton & Knight, Urban Systems, Kerr Wood Leidal, Northwest Hydraulics, Golder, InterCAD, Sartori Environmental and SLR Consulting.
Will construction be disruptive?
Construction can be disruptive and the stormwater diversion pipe will require removal of private landscaping that has been placed on public lands. We understand this is of concern to affected residents and we are continuously working to minimize disruption and impacts.
The diversion system is being installed in segments. This phased construction plan means that residents on a block will be directly inconvenienced for about two to four weeks, after which crews will move on to the next segment.
Streets will be open to local traffic at all times, as well as emergency responders, deliveries, and garbage and recycling pick-up. We anticipate that the entire portion of the project below the highway will be finished by early 2020. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to work with residents and address their concerns.
Can the District pause the project?
This project has been public and under development for the past 10 years. The Integrated Stormwater Management Plan was passed in 2013. The construction contracts have been awarded and the crews are on site. Delays at this juncture would have significant cost consequences and result in an unsafe situation continuing.
The District is confident that this project is the appropriate solution. Council must always ensure the safety of the community above all else, especially in the face of threats caused by climate change.
Questions or concerns? Get the facts.
For information and updates on traffic impacts or to subscribe to email updates about this project, visit westvancouver.ca/fivecreeks.