Unique approach helps Durham Region, ON, plan effectively for climate change
The Regional Municipality of Durham's Community Climate Adaptation Plan is the 2018 winner in the climate change category of FCM's Sustainable Communities Awards.
Local experts used scientific models of future weather conditions to identify risks from climate change and develop plans to adapt. (Photo: Regional Municipality of Durham, ON)
When it came time for the Regional Municipality of Durham, ON to develop its community climate adaptation plan, no single method suited its needs. So, staff developed a hybrid approach that combined two methodologies along with local expertise and scientific projections of future weather conditions in their area. The result is a far-reaching plan that will help the community adapt to the realities of climate change over the next 25 years.
Pioneering approach to developing a community climate adaptation plan
Socially-minded plan will look after residents' future needs
The result of this integrative process is a socially-minded plan that focuses on using and supporting natural systems and green infrastructure as much as possible. Programs supporting social adaptation include protecting outdoor workers from exposure to extreme weather and providing wellness checks during weather events for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or ill, and low income households. Plans include educating high-rise dwellers on emergency protocols, implementing higher building standards for new construction, retrofitting older homes to better protect against climate change, and strengthening the electrical grid and extreme weather alert and response system.
Plan protects community from economic losses due to extreme weather
The plan will reduce the municipality's exposure to uninsured losses and mitigate loss of revenue for businesses due to climate events. During emergencies, it will reduce the need for assistance from other jurisdictions, and lower the risk of loss of life. The plan will also improve infrastructure and social recovery time from extreme weather events.
Learn more about this project
Want to develop a similar project in your community? This spring, we'll publish a video of the project team's presentation at FCM's 2018 Sustainable Communities Conference, along with a guide.
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FCM's Sustainable Communities Awards recognize and celebrate sustainability leaders and trailblazers in municipalities of all sizes across Canada.