10063811A sandbag dike holds back the water from the Fraser River in Chilliwack, B.C., on June 28, 2012.    Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD , THE CANADIAN PRESS

SFU Public Square is looking for innovative ideas on how to combat a predicted one-metre rise in sea levels around Metro Vancouver due to climate change.

This fall, the university will launch a RISE ideas competition, which is expected to raise awareness and dialogue on the issue of sea levels across the region and ensure Metro Vancouver can “adapt and thrive in the face of this environmental challenge,” according to a statement.

The competition, which will be open to 50 teams, will be part of a third-annual Community Summit hosted by SFU Public Square.

“Metro Vancouver is a fast-growing region with rapidly expanding population, housing and employment density,” the statement said. “However, climate change science predicts the ocean that surrounds our communities will rise in Metro Vancouver by at least one metre by 2100. This puts housing, business, transportation, and ecosystems at major risk.”

The competition follows several recent studies which suggest that by the end of this century, a 50-year flood could be similar in magnitude to floods that had once occurred only every 200 to 500 years.

A coalition of senior levels of government, along with 25 municipalities, two regional districts and the Fraser Basin Council, announced this week they would join together to develop an integrated flood plan from Hope to Richmond, recognizing that the Lower Mainland is highly vulnerable to river and coastal flooding..

The SFU Public Square competition, which is free to enter, will see teams submit their ideas online and pitch them in person to a panel of judges. The public will be able to engage with the ideas through the competition website. At a daylong expo of ideas, “Most Popular” voting will be ongoing, and team pitches will occur. All final-round teams will be invited to attend SFU Public Square’s large-scale public event at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

To register interest in the competition, go to sfu.ca/rise.


The above article was published in the Vancouver Sun, July 25, 2014.