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Diking has to take into account reality of limate change
The new dike system built in Duncan and North Cowichan has disadvantage
It cost taxpayers a lot of money and contributes to the mistaken notion that we can “adapt” to climate change.
Of course, we must take measures to protect ourselves from unavoidable climate change events like flooding; but we cannot solve the historic problem of the breakdown of our climate with dikes. Dikes will not solve the problem!
With climate change events a certainty, estimates of the extent and frequency of flooding events are now impossible for engineers to predict. The height of our new dikes is based on a 1 in 200 year flood, but that is not a calculation, it’s a guess.
In the past year, two locations around the world have had about one metre of rain within a span of one day!
So these new dikes give a false sense of security and create pressure to build on land within a flood plain; land which should stay in the agricultural land reserve, and land which has important ecological assets that need to be preserved.
The University Village Plan, and even the more modest idea to build an RCMP building between Beverly Road and the newly built dikes have the advantage of increasing density — good, since high density development will reduce our collective carbon emissions.
But these developments are in a flood plain (bad, since flooding destroys infrastructure and whole communities as is happening all over the world).
Should we discourage the growth of the existing City of Duncan/North Cowichan urban area within the Cowichan River and Somenos Marsh flood plain? Or should we develop dense urban areas away from the flood plain completely? Big questions.
We need public discussion on this issue and how to create highly dense urban areas that are both safe from flooding and energy-efficient in order to reduce our tax burden as well as our collective carbon emissions.
Please come to a public forum on the Somenos Marsh and the new diking system at the Cowichan Theatre this Friday.
The North Cowichan Climate Action and Energy Plan estimates that if our community reduces its carbon emissions by 80%, it would save each household about $4,000 per year by 2050.
Sign up to get more information and notification of public meetings by clicking www.northcowichan.ca and then follow the climate action links.
The most important action we can take as individuals and politicians is to phase out the burning of fossil fuels as quickly as possible, so that our kids can live in a sustainable society.
Peter Nix is a Cowichan Carbon Buster. The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society is hosting an open forum 7 p.m. Friday at the Cowichan Theatre about marsh area development and diking.