Battling the elements to protect safety and property

Working to manage water and waves during the wettest time of the year on the west coast isn’t ideal – but it was just one of the many hurdles crews at 19 Wing Comox faced to tackle a project with potentially significant public impacts.

Along with fall and winter rains and runoff, DCC and DND worked together to tackle the challenge of coordinating the Shoreline Erosion Protection Project in just two years, under extreme environmental conditions.

The project was originally proposed to address slope erosion along the base’s steep coastline property. The impacts of waves at the bottom, and sloughing from ground and surface water running at the top, was causing property loss as well as creating a public safety risk.

“We had to really dive in and look at a lot of options for them,” said Joel Upsdell, Technical Specialist – Project Management for DCC at Comox.

The solution they found was two-fold: build an armouring wall at the slope base as well as installing proper swales and drainage infrastructure to collect and redirect water effectively over the slope.

Construction required a lot of coordination: between external agencies, members of the public and residents who live in the area and use the popular beach regularly, and crews to maximize tide windows and more.

“The whole time, we were just pushing really, really hard, because we had such a short timeline,” said Upsdell.

In May 2017, the roughly $3.5-million project was successfully completed within the schedule required. It’s now weathered one winter/fall season and is already making a difference, with the slope holding up well against the elements.


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