Vancouver creates plan for climate change adaptation

Posted on Jul 25, 2012

The City of Vancouver voted on July 24 to approve in principle a comprehensive climate change strategy that will address more frequent and intense storm activity, coastal flooding, sewer back-up and hotter summers.

The plan was developed by director of sustainability Amanda Pitre-Hayes in consultation with government, academic institutions and local governments. It recommends nine primary actions as part of the city’s “Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.”

“Scientists project that Vancouver will experience increased annual precipitation and temperatures, with hotter, drier summers,” according to the report sent to Vancouver City Council. “More intense and frequent rain and wind storms are anticipated and sea level rise may pose a significant challenge by mid-century.

“These changes may cause wide-ranging impacts, from increased street flooding and damage to urban forests, to heat-related illness.

“The City needs a strategy that will enable it to be prepared for these changes and continue to meet its goals in the face of climate change. Adaptation refers to actions taken to respond to the impacts of climate change by taking advantage of opportunities or reducing the associated risks.”

The report identifies nine key actions as part of climate change adaptation:

• Complete a coastal flood risk assessment;

• Amend flood-proofing policies;

• Develop and implement a citywide, integrated storm-water management plan;

• Continue with sewer separation;

• Develop a back-up power policy;

• Continue to implement water conservation actions;

• Support and expand extreme heat planning;

• Include climate change adaptation measures in the next Vancouver building bylaw update; and

• Develop and implement a comprehensive urban forest management plan.