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Artificial spit near new Qualicum Beach roundabout holds up well as waves bash waterfront

Built to re-establish artificial estuary, spit doubles as storm-softening feature
Town engineer Bob Weir, right, accepts from John Readshaw - senior advisor on coastal engineering for SNC Lavalin - the plaque for an award of merit received from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies for the marina spit project. In the background, from left: Tim Chapman, engineering technologist from Koers Associates Engineering, Qualicum Beach Mayor Brian Wiese and town director of planning Luke Sales. (Submitted photo)

Town of Qualicum Beach council was pleased the artificial spit built near the new roundabout held up well during the recent high tide and heavy winds that caused significant damage to some waterfront businesses and residences.

Town director of engineering Bob Weir reported to council on Jan. 12 that the spit “performed extraordinarily well.”

“There’s been an odd rock misplaced but it performed admirably,” said Weir. “If you viewed it during the height of the storm, and saw the way that the energy was dissipated and the waves were breaking around it, and the degree to which the debris was managed without causing damage to any infrastructure, I think is a perfect example of it being the right solution.”

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach crews again working on Marine Spit

The spit was built to re-establish an artificial estuary for Beach Creek two years ago. It also served as a storm-softening feature designed to protect the waterfront infrastructure from severe storms and high tide events, which the town’s Waterfront Master Plan indicates will happen more in the years ahead.

“It really demonstrated that it is the correct solution to try and re-establish more natural beach profiles that dissipate the energy and don’t allow that energy to just be impacting on seawalls,” said Weir.

Weir said the experience has given insight into what a half-metre of water level rise would look like in Qualicum Beach.

The Sand Pebbles Inn suffered the most damage from the storm, as its seawall crumbled and some of its outside structure fell. There was also a large amount of logs, rocks and other debris strewn all over the area. Mayor Brian Wiese suggested the town possibly look at the Green Shores program again of the Stewardship Centre for BC, which focuses on natural designs to protect shorelines.

Coun. Teunis Westbroek endorsed the suggestion.

“It is serious,” said Westbroek. “Huge assets for us. If you looked at Vancouver, I saw it on news there, the seawall and the devastation that happened with some of the piers out in the area, I think it’s a good thing to do. I am not sure how I could formally ask staff to monitor how the effect of Green Shores would have helped in some of those situations.”

Westbroek said that he will discuss the matter with the select committee on public safety and hopes to draft a motion to make it formal.

On Thursday afternoon, Wiese and Weir met with designer of the marine spit, John Readshaw, senior advisor on coastal engineering from SNC Lavalin. They went to look at the state of the marine spit where Readshaw also presented the town with a plaque for the award of merit SNC received from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies for the project.

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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