‘Managed retreat’ option dropped from Surrey’s coastal flooding strategy

Controversial measure removed from analysis of future rise in sea level at Crescent Beach

Surrey is dropping the ‘Managed Retreat’ option from its Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy.

A media release issued Wednesday morning said the controversial option – which some news reports suggested might have seen the city buying out Crescent Beach waterfront homes – is being removed from the strategy as a result of “additional feedback from directly-impacted stakeholders from Crescent Beach.”

The option – part of a response to provincial directives to plan for at least a one-metre sea level rise by 2100 – created a stir in May when a CBC News story reported the city was “hatching a plan” to buy out approximately 400 homes which would be relocated or abandoned as sea levels increase.

But city engineer Matt Osler told Peace Arch News at the time that it was “too early to say how we would implement a managed retreat.”

In Wednesday’s announcement the city said “no further analysis will be conducted on this option and it will not be recommended by staff in the draft Coastal Flood Adaptation Strategy (CFAS) to be brought forward in spring 2019.”

Instead the city will continue to explore the ‘Expanded Edge’ and ‘Barrier Island/Spit’ options, the release said, as well as expanding monitoring of sea level changes, ground subsidence, long-term beach erosion, storm surge and wave damage and seasonal water pooling.

Mayoral candidate Doug McCallum – a longtime Crescent Beach resident who served as Surrey mayor from 1996 to 2005 – told PAN he was happy with the decision.

“I believe strongly in leaving nature alone,” he said. “It’s looked after Crescent Beach for hundreds of years, and will continue to look after Crescent Beach for hundreds of years in the future.”

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