15
March
2024
|
18:35
Europe/Amsterdam

Sea Island Climate Resilience Project

The Sea Island Climate Resilience Project is a proactive solution to address climate-related challenges, including implications of rising sea levels and increased risk of flooding. The project will see YVR upgrade the dike and drainage system on Sea Island by raising the existing perimeter dikes by approximately one metre to a total height of 4.7 metres and improving overall drainage and geotechnical stability.

Beginning in fall 2024, YVR will be conducting works to upgrade the dike and drainage system along the eastern part of the Sea Island Conservation Area, known as SICA East. A portion of the SICA East area, including a walking trail, will be temporarily closed as this work takes place to ensure the safety of the community and workers. The trail will reopen once construction is completed.

We urge trail users to adhere to posted signage for their safety.

Please continue to check this page for the latest information on our dike and drainage upgrades.

Contact us about this project by emailing: community_relations@yvr.ca.

  • Background
  • Project timelines
  • Community impacts
  • Benefits
  • Questions & answers

 

BACKGROUND

YVR is situated in the heart of the traditional, unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory, nestled between the Fraser River and the Salish Sea ecosystem. The airport coexists with a rich habitat of local wildlife, birds and plant species, and as such, YVR is guided by a commitment to serve both our community protect the important and sensitive environment from the increasing impacts of climate change.

The Sea Island Conservation Area (SICA), located on the northern edge of Sea Island, is managed by Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada. It encompasses 140 hectares of land that is managed to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife in a manner that does not contribute to aviation safety hazards at Vancouver International Airport. Public use access is allowed where it is compatible with aviation safety and wildlife management goals.

Sea Island is safeguarded from sea levels and flooding by a perimeter dike system that spans 15 kilometres. The SICA East dike is a 2.5 kilometres dike within this system that borders the northeast side of Sea Island and the North Arm of the Fraser River.

As part of the Sea Island Climate Resilience Project, YVR is investing to improve the perimeter dike system and enhance the long-term resiliency of Sea Island, ensuring the airport and our infrastructure as well as our community is protected from seismic activity and impacts of climate change.

Sustainability practices are at the forefront of this work. We have conducted habitat and vegetation mapping, bird surveys and aquatic habitat surveys. Moreover, we have taken the necessary steps to ensure this project aligns with the Impact Assessment Act, Species at Risk Act, and the Fisheries Act.

Maintaining wildlife habitats is the of the utmost importance for SICA. Following the completion of work, habitat restoration efforts will restore any habitats that were disturbed, leaving the ecosystem in a healthy position. YVR is also SalmonSafe certified and will strive to incorporate aquatic habitat enhancements into the project.

 

PROJECT TIMELINES

The planning process for the improvements to the dike system in the SICA East area of Sea Island is already underway, with the environmental assessment in progress.

Site investigation work is scheduled to take place in Spring & Summer of 2024.

Dike and drainage improvement work is scheduled to take place in from fall 2024 – fall 2025, during which time the SICA East trail and surrounding area will be temporarily closed.

Work is scheduled for completion in fall 2025.

YVR is carefully planning and staging our work to minimize the overall project duration, however the exact duration of the work is dependent on several factors, including weather conditions.

 

COMMUNITY IMPACTS

We recognize the temporary closure of the SICA East trail and surrounding area will be challenging for some trail users.

Information on nearby trails and alternative access to beach areas along the Fraser River can be found here.

 

BENEFITS

  • Enhanced flood protection system of Sea Island, to safeguard the community as well as YVR’s airfield and operations.
  • Mitigation of risk of land loss due to geotechnical instability.
  • Maintained wildlife habitat within the upgraded dike area.
  • Enhanced recreational area for the community.