South Australia & NT Chapter

Geotechnical Challenges and Solutions in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Don Richardson

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world and is an important port and centre for commerce and tourism. The geography and geology also make it an exciting and challenging place for geotechnical professionals. The last ice age (as little as 8,000 years ago) covered the region with a thickness of hundreds of metres of glacial ice. The geography and geology of Vancouver includes the legacy of glaciation, together with extensive weak and compressible alluvial sediments from the delta of the Fraser River (a river with a catchment size similar to that of the Murray Darling Basin). The risk of ground movements associated with earthquakes is also an important geotechnical consideration for projects in cities like this on the Pacific coast of North America.

Don’s presentation included an overview of the geological setting of Vancouver. He also discussed the associated ground engineering risks, challenges and geotechnical solutions using examples from projects including port infrastructure, waterfront development, emergency services, commercial developments and roads. Don worked as a geotechnical engineer in the Vancouver office of Golder Associates between 2000 and 2002. The opportunity was part of the Golder Associates international employee exchange program. Don has over 10 years of experience with Golder Associates.

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