Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change continues to bring challenges that municipalities need to face head-on and manage proactively. The City’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Implementation Plan have been developed to address the physical, economic, social, and ecological impacts of climate change.
Adaptation versus Mitigation
Mitigation refers to measures that aim to address the root causes of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City has undertaken several initiatives to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.
While mitigation efforts aim to reduce the long-term effects of global warming, adaptation measures are needed to minimize the impacts that a changing climate will have on our City.
Climate change adaptation refers to any action that seeks to reduce the City’s vulnerability to local climate change impacts.
Adaptation is not meant to replace or undermine mitigation efforts. It is a pro-active way to protect ourselves from expected impacts, and to avoid the high costs of responding to changes reactively.
Climate Change Adaptation Strategy
The City has developed a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to build community resilience to the risks inherent in Climate Change. The development of the strategy was guided by ICLEI Canada's Building Adaptation and Resilient Communities (BARC) program. A five milestone adaptation planning framework for local governments.
The purpose of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is to mainstream adaptation actions into City operations and to reduce the risk Climate Change poses to Barrie’s physical, economic, social and ecological systems.
Vision: Barrie will adapt to changing Climate Change conditions and embrace new opportunities to remain a vibrant, healthy and sustainable waterfront community.
Mission: The City of Barrie will demonstrate leadership by taking progressive and innovative steps to achieve the vision of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. We have a responsibility to anticipate and prepare for potential impacts of Climate Change on our community. The City is committed to taking action in the face of uncertainty.
There are seven goals in the Strategy, which outline high level intentions the Barrie will strive towards:
- Maintain Public Health and Safety
- Minimize Risk to Buildings and Properties
- Strengthen Infrastructure Resilience
- Help Local Businesses and the Tourism Industry Adapt to Changing Conditions
- Protect Biodiversity and Enhance Ecosystem Functions
- Minimize Disruption to Community Services
- Build Community Resilience
Each goal outlines numerous actions for the City and community to undertake to build resiliency to anticipated impacts of Climate Change.
An Implementation Plan has been developed and released in 2018 which outlines how the City will ‘walk the walk’ to achieve the actions set out in the Strategy, as well as setting a framework to monitor and report on progress.
Central to the development of our Implementation Plan was the creation of Action-Specific Action Plans or ASAPs for each of the priority actions identified in the strategy. The ASAPs are intended to show the key implementation information for each action in an easy to use format. They outline the following:
- Background information,
- Current practices,
- Supporting tasks,
- Measures of success.
A reporting framework has also been developed to track the progress and success of implementation, and help the City to measure progress over time.