Blog Contributor: April Sorenson
On February 25th, representatives from municipalities within the Niagara Region of Ontario came together to present to the current Master of Sustainability graduate students about an innovative partnership called Niagara Adapts. Niagara Adapts is a partnership that works to reduce the risks associated with climate change and increase resilience in the Niagara Region. On the 25th, a representative from each of seven municipalities gave a presentation on the specific climate change issues their municipality is facing along with their adaptation efforts.
Deanna Allen, the Climate Change Coordinator for the Town of Pelham, said that her municipality is predicting many challenges related to climate change. Some of these challenges include summer droughts leading to water supply shortages, more frequent episodes of rain resulting in severe washouts and flooding, a higher likelihood of experiencing heat stress, freezing rain events that could damage hydro lines, and an increased demand for municipal services. Many of the other municipal representatives presented similar concerns. Olivia Groff, the Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for St. Catharines, said that there have been 56 extreme weather warnings in the past two years alone.
Fortunately, several municipalities have already taken steps to adapt to climate change. James Sticca, Manager of Environmental Services at the City of Niagara Falls, outlined the steps they’ve taken to adapt to climate change, including a Rain Barrel Purchasing Program, a Low Flow Toilet Rebate Program, and a Water Monitoring Device Rebate Program. Many of the presenters were hopeful that through continued collaboration with Niagara Adapts and local communities, real progress will be made in adapting to climate change.
Municipal governments are at the front lines of climate change. Many are stepping up to ensure the safety and well–being of their residents. The Town of Lincoln, the Town of Pelham, St. Catharines, Welland and The City of Niagara Falls have provided more information about their climate change adaptation efforts and their contribution to Niagara Adapts on their websites.
These presentations are available online via the ESRC YouTube Channel.
Links to the climate vulnerability fact sheets can be found on the Niagara Adapts Website