District of Tofino


September 2018 to July 2019


District of Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Their challenge

Having recently completed a coastal storm flood and tsunami hazard mapping project (working with Ebbwater and our partner, Cascadia Coast Research) the District of Tofino wished to understand what this would really mean on the ground today and in the future.  Understanding their risk spatially and with time, would allow the District to target risk reduction strategies and make their community more resilient to natural hazards and climate change.

Our solution

Our approach was to get into the weeds of the problem and explore present and future risk by using a mix of quantitative and qualitative analyses.  To support our work, we drew in a team of seismic and tsunami experts from University College London.

We assessed the risk of tsunami and coastal storm flooding (including four sea level rise scenarios) for six holistic indicators. Notably, we conducted a fully probabilistic risk assessment for coastal storms, developing exceedance probability curves and calculating annual average losses for all six holistic indicators – we believe this is the first example of this type of assessment in Canada. 

Further, stakeholder and public input supported the assessment of some of the more intangible impacts. Our team ran several workshops, and attended public events to both educate the public and learn from them.  We used a variety of tools to make our engagement fun – a tabletop tsunami generator, Virtual Reality tours of high-risk areas, and serious gaming (Game of Floods).

The results guided the selection of high-risk areas, and recommendation of risk reduction approaches.

This project has recently been lauded nationally and internationally; it is being used as a best practice case study by both the National Research Council and Natural Resources Canada.

The outcomes of the project were directly used by the District to implement a new Floodplain Bylaw, the development of which was also supported by Ebbwater.


Flood Risk Assessment

Project assets

Figure 1:  Risk map for directly affected people (summer nighttime population) for 1 m RSLR.

Figure 2:  Playing Game of Floods with Tofino Mayor.

Comprehensive Coastal Flood Risk Assessment – District of Tofino