Tsunami-hazard signage coming to Peninsula

Semiahmoo First Nation says goal is to be prepared

Signage warning of the potential tsunami-hazard in Semiahmoo Bay, along with a route for leaving the area in the event one actually occurs, is to be posted along Beach Road and a stretch of White Rock and South Surrey waterfront this week.

Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles told Peace Arch News the series of blue-and-white signs will be erected on Marine Drive from Finlay Street to Highway 99, as well as along Beach Road.

“It’s important to educate and make the public aware of the dangers we have of being here on the coast,” Charles said.

“In the event that we do have a major disaster… (residents and visitors) know to get to higher ground and how to leave.”

The signs are to be erected Thursday.

Charles said the move is a required followup to the installation of an emergency-notification siren on the band’s lands, which took place in January.

Monthly testing of the siren – which began following a March evacuation exercise for reserve residents that caught many others off-guard – is being done in partnership with Washington, and funding to do it has been received, she said.

Sirens, she added, are now in place from Point Roberts to the Lummi Nation in Bellingham. The one on SFN land can also warn residents to vacate the beach and shelter-in-place; Charles said it is also equipped for live broadcast, if deemed necessary.

She acknowledged a tsunami in the bay would more likely result in a flood surge than a massive wave. The steps underway are simply about being prepared, and helping others do the same, she said.