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History of the Shoreline Protection Plan (SPP)

The SPP represents the District of West Vancouver’s commitment to protect and enhance one of its greatest natural assets.

SPP 2012 Shoreline Work Plan

Launched in 2006, the SPP represents the District of West Vancouver’s commitment to protect and
enhance one of its greatest natural assets.

The West Vancouver waterfront has undergone more than a century of development and erosion and is in need of attention. The goal of the SPP is to re-create and foster natural processes to sustain a
naturally resilient and healthy shoreline, to address the impacts of development, climate change and sea level rise. The SPP is driven by the principle that the most cost effective and environmentally sound strategy to ensure this outcome is to understand and work to enhance the key restorative features of a natural coastline.

These ‘key’ features of the shoreline include;

  • Creeks and streams
  • Sediment pathways
  • Accretion and erosion processes
  • Beach profile/elevations
  • Reefs as natural wave defences
  • Salt marsh & riparian habitat
  • Intertidal and subtidal habitat

In the past several severe storms caused considerable flooding and damage to the Seawalk and waterfront infrastructure, gradual ongoing erosion of the foreshore will increase the risks to long term stability of the sewer lines that run along the foreshore. Repairs are costly and take time; following the 2001 storm events the total cost of repair work exceeded $540,000 and the schedule for work ran into 2003.

With winter storms escalating in frequency and ferocity, increasingly strong El Niño events, and
sea levels predicted to rise up to 60 cm by 2100, protection of the West Vancouver waterfront is an
issue of mounting importance. Proactive approaches now will adapt and provide natural, cost-effective protection in the future while at the same time providing all the benefits of a healthy shoreline that can be enjoyed by West Vancouver citizens in the interim.

The benefits and scope of the SPP extend beyond the physical shoreline; it is inextricably linked to urban areas, municipal infrastructure and parkland. As such the SPP fits within the District’s wider Official Community Plan, most notably with the policies of Climate Action, development of tourism,
incorporating social planning, building neighbourhood character, preserving the natural environment, increasing parks and open spaces and facilitating community recreation.

The Shoreline Protection Plan presents ‘SMART’ projects (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic
and Timely) that can be implemented in place of recurring shoreline repair works. The projects use
‘soft’ engineering methods such as reefs, tombolos, berms and natural vegetation, in a cost effective
manner, taking advantage of donated materials and resources to supplement or accelerate West
Vancouver budgeted projects.