NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A Harbourside development project will be built on four and a half metres of raised land in preparation of rising sea levels expected to come over the next 50 years.

The plan is expected to cost developers Concert Properties’ and Knightsbridge Properties’ an extra $5 million.

Simon Donner, a professor of Climatology at UBC, says this is just an example of how climate change will become more tangible for the public, businesses and governments.

He says costs will continue to rise for everyone as earth’s climate warms and the severity of the a warming atmosphere become more extreme.

“This is the impact of climate change. So we are seeing that, while you might not notice the impact of climate change on a daily basis we are seeing it in the decisions we have to make,” he explains.

Despite the precautions the Harbourside development is taking, Donner doesn’t think 4.5 metres is a high enough threshold for the project to have a life span over the next century.

“We had flooding all around Vancouver last December during a storm surge. In a number of years from now we could be upwards of a meters change in sea-level,” he tells us. “Depending on how high the sea rises, a storm surge that happens during high-tide could certainly lead to flooding in the new development in the future.”

The City of North Vancouver recently lowered minimum heights new projects must be built at by a meter; before the change the minimum height was 5.2 metres.

Donner adds it’s time for the federal and provincial government to wake-up and look at the leaps cities are making in combating climate change.

“All the big action, the really progressive stuff is happening in cities,” he says. “Cities have been on-top of this for years including many Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. In Canada, the US and even in Europe, cities have been way ahead of their national governments.”

North Vancouver City Council is expected to hold a public hearing, and vote on the project this fall.