Groundwater Studies Could Change the Entire Project
An aquifer is an underground body of water which is sometimes held under pressure by layers or rock or impervious material. Such pressurized aquifers are called artesian. We suspect that such an aquifer underlies at least part of the Jericho Lands.
When the confining layer of an artesian aquifer is punctured by drilling or excavation, huge amounts of water can escape, sometimes causing extensive damage to buildings, infrastructure, and park land. This damage may include land subsiding, sinkholes, erosion or starving downstream areas of required water.
Quoted from the City of Vancouver website
“in 2015 an unlicensed and unqualified well driller tapped a pressurized aquifer in Kerrisdale and released 2 million litres of water a day into the neighbourhood. Almost a dozen homes had to evacuate.”
Of course, the conditions are different, but on the other hand we are not talking about one simple well but the foundations of 60 high rise towers.
The Draft Policy Statement mentions that the studies have been held up due to a delay in the Provincial archeological permits. But members of the Working Group have for years repeatedly called for the proponents to deal with groundwater issues.
Now with their final draft of the Policy Statement they admit they may have a significant problem.
In their words:
Substantive groundwater information for the entire site will be required prior to the first rezoning application, as per Policy 220.127.116.11. The detailed findings on groundwater conditions and its interactions, and subsequent analysis may significantly impact various elements of the site development, including: water management systems, ecological functioning (on and off-site), built form and open space design, subsurface parking and circulation, the alignment of the proposed UBCx SkyTrain, upfront and lifecycle costs of the project, and sustainability.
In other words, the whole project.
We have no idea what we are dealing with on this site until the groundwater studies are complete.
Improper treatment of artesian aquifers can lead to land subsidence, flooding, sinkholes, erosion or the starving of downstream areas of required water.