Earthquake rattled northern Vancouver Island. How will Vancouver’s downtown peninsula fare after The Big One?

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earthquake seismic graph(Updated) CBC reported that a “moderate” quake shook the northern end of Vancouver Island early Sunday, waking people in their beds as windows rattled and blinds swayed from the tremors (Earthquake rattles northern Vancouver Island, no injuries, August 4, 2013). The 5.5 magnitude quake hit at about 6:20 a.m. about 25 kilometres west of Nootka Island.

Seismic experts wisely seized the moment to remind media and the public to be prepared, as our whole region will be struck some day by a megathrust earthquake. But what about the very design of our cities, structures, and buildings? Are the many towers sprouting up around the region strong enough to withstand a megaquake (e.g., see New BC highrises at risk in major quake)? Do B.C.’s Building Code and municipal regulations stand up to global best practices? What about master plans in the event of a disaster? Consider this specific example.

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