City planning for impacts of climate change
Even as the City of St. Catharines takes efforts to prevent climate change from occurring, planning and action is under way to adapt to the impacts a changing climate will bring.
On Monday, May 31, Council approved the City’s first Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP), a document that will guide the City as it undertakes efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The document is the culmination of months of work by the City, in cooperation with the Niagara Adapts network of local municipalities and Brock University.
“While we are working hard as a City and community to prevent the worst of climate change, some of its impacts will occur here and around the globe. The Climate Adaptation Plan is a critical step in planning for those impacts, including worst case scenarios, to ensure our community remains healthy and safe in the face of changing weather patterns and climactic events,” said Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator Olivia Groff.
Specifically, the plan outlines the City’s response to hotter summers; warmer and wetter winters; longer and wetter springs; and shorter falls, all driving increased extreme weather events including flooding, heat waves and intense winter storms.
Building on three rounds of public engagement, the CAP outlines six goals:
- Prepare for hotter summers
- Prepare for and respond to extreme weather events
- Develop a flood prevention strategy
- Improve stormwater management including the use of green infrastructure
- Prepare for high Lake Ontario water levels
- Re-think how the City addresses climate change
Based on these goals, 28 action items have been developed, ranging from the use of low-impact development to reduce stormwater runoff to increased inter-municipal cooperation in response to extreme weather. Some action items, such as investments in shoreline protection and renewal of the city’s urban tree canopy are already underway.
“Climate change poses an existential threat to not only our community, but every corner of the planet. As a City we are continuing to do all that we can to limit emissions and mitigate its scope, but we also have to be ready for those impacts, even a worst-case scenario. The plan ensures no matter what a changing climate throws at us the City is ready to protect its residents, property and the vital infrastructure we all rely on,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik.
The CAP’s action plan to prepare for climate change, builds on existing City efforts to mitigate, or prevent, climate change from occurring. Mitigation efforts to date include electric vehicle fleet replacements, City facility retrofits and the commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2050.
For more information on the CAP, including a link to a full copy of the plan, visit stcatharines.ca/ClimateChange.