False Creek is Vancouver's earthquake weak spot: report
A new report on earthquake preparedness says, among other issues, False Creek could suffer from intense shaking that could cause the soil to liquefy and destroy utilities and damage older buildings during a seismic event. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
Vancouver has moved to strengthen its earthquake preparedness after a new report revealed weak spots in the city’s response to a big shakeup — with False Creek looking like a potential danger zone.
Staff gave city council “12 primary actions and 44 supporting actions to improve Vancouver’s preparedness for a major seismic event” to help it recover.
Actions include seismic upgrades to the Granville Street Bridge and the development of disaster-support hubs.
The report said consequences of quake damage include sewage backups and discharges into marine areas.
The report pointed to portable toilets, water stations and showers used after the 2011 quake in Christchurch, New Zealand as examples of how the city should prepare itself.
“It’s crucial that every home and workplace in Vancouver is prepared in advance with an emergency plan and earthquake kit,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release.
False Creek could end up resembling a bowl of jelly should a quake hit, the report said, with the area out to the Granville Street Bridge and as far east as Clark Street being the most susceptible to tsunami damage and liquefaction, when sand and rock acts as a liquid when shaking.
Liquefaction can bring sewage lines and utilities to the surface.
Coun. Raymond Louie said extra design conditions were put in to newer buildings in False Creek to guard against liquefaction, but said many of the older ones could be at risk of losing water, power and sewage systems.
“Older buildings are susceptible — those are hazards and are a problem,” said Louie. “But the city is upgrading our sewer and water structure so they incorporate flexible couplings, so it’s much more resilient to an earthquake.”
The city said economic damage from a quake could range in the $75 million range.