Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

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Cover of South Huron's Climate Change Adaptation StrategyIn 2020, the Municipality of South Huron developed South Huron's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy with financial support provided by the Government of Canada through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP). The strategy was adopted by South Huron Council on September 8, 2020. 

South Huron's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is the first iteration of a climate change adaptation strategy for the municipality and is intended to be living document; one in which will be updated as new information becomes available and as the Municipality moves through implementing and evaluating the actions. 

The development of the adaptation strategy was achieved through a collaborative effort between municipal staff and Council, members of the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, stakeholders and members of the general public. Thank you to all those who contributed to the development of the strategy.

If you would like to view the full technical South Huron Climate Change Adaptation Strategy document, please contact Stacey Jeffery, Climate Change Officer by email or by phone 519-235-0310 extension 247.  

Summary of South Huron's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

Impacts from climate change on the Municipality

Impact statements represent a climate variable (anticipated change), what happens (outcome) and what the impact to the municipality is (consequence).  

Through municipal staff workshops, public survey responses and input from the Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee, a total of 75 impacts from climate change were identified for the Municipality to consider related to the following themes:

  • Administration (municipal)
  • Built Infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, buildings)
  • Community Well-being
  • Community Facilities
  • Emergency Services
  • Energy
  • Fire Services
  • Insects, Pests and Invasive Species
  • Natural Environment
  • Outdoor Maintenance and Construction
  • Private Property
  • Sewage Services
  • Stormwater and Flooding
  • Water Services
  • Winter Maintenance

 

What is most at risk and vulnerable to climate change? 

Vulnerability and risk assessments help the Municipality determine which impacts from climate change are most important and how to best address them. The assessments completed resulted in 22 impacts identified as priorities for action implementation

Vulnerability

A vulnerability assessment identifies the susceptibility of service areas within the municipality and the potential harm that may arise from climate change.

Vulnerability = Sensitivity (to what degree will the functionality change) / Adaptive Capacity (cost and staff intervention required to recover)

Risk

A risk assessment prioritizes the impacts to determine which impacts should be addressed through action planning (those that pose the greatest risk).

Risk = Likelihood (recurrent or single event) x Consequence (degree in which would impact social, economic, and environmental factors)

Vision and Goals for the Strategy

Vision

A future-ready South Huron that is resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.

Goals

Goal 1: Integrate climate change adaptation into municipal planning, asset management and operations;

Goal 2: Support municipal and community resilience awareness and action;

Goal 3: Ensure community readiness and a coordinated response to extreme weather events;

Goal 4: Reduce risks to buildings, properties and people from flooding;

Goal 5: Minimize disruption to municipal service delivery;

Goal 6: Reduce health and safety risks to municipal workers and community members from extreme temperatures;

Goal 7: Protect and enhance the natural landscape to mitigate impact; and

Goal 8: Strengthen the resiliency of municipal infrastructure and facilities.

What actions will the Municipality implement to address the impacts from climate change?

The following actions for the Municipality to implement to address the impacts from climate change: 

Goal 1: Integrate climate change adaptation into municipal planning, asset management and operations;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Include climate change consideration section in staff reports to Council
  • Develop a qualitative climate lens tool to guide staff and Council decision-making. 
  • Develop a process to ensure climate change adaptation is considered during review of existing and                development of new policies and plans for South Huron. 
  • Integrate climate change projections into asset management planning.
  • Continue to lobby provincial and federal governments to support adaptation initiatives at the municipal level.

Goal 2: Support municipal and community resilience awareness and action;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Initiate community-wide conversation to provide information to the entire community (residents, business) about relevant climate change topics to provide the tools required to incorporate resilience on a community-wide scale.
  • Develop information briefing program to be regularly sent to staff and Council to inform on current climate change information.
  • Create and promote regularly scheduled climate change themed challenges for the community to showcase their resilience.
  • Develop communication strategy to showcase municipal initiatives to the community that are related to adaptation and resilience.
Goal 3: Ensure community readiness and a coordinated response to extreme weather events;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Investigate tools to expand municipal communications during extreme weather events to ensure information is convenient, accurately communicated and regularly updated to inform the public.
  • Develop a current public awareness campaign to enhance community preparedness before an extreme weather event occurs.
  • Identify potential partnerships and explore options to create a voluntary “Check in with your neighbour” program within South Huron.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessment of critical infrastructure within municipal facilities and prioritize deficiencies required to be addressed to ensure resiliency.
  • Develop an internal training program for all municipal staff for coordination during extreme weather events to ensure service continuity. 

Goal 4: Reduce risks to buildings, properties and people from flooding;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Undertake a Stormwater Master Plan for all settlement areas within the Municipality.
  • Support updating floodplain mapping for core development areas within the municipality.
  • Develop procedure for regularly updating rain Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves to reflect changing climate variables to inform design of all municipal infrastructure.
  • Develop awareness program and investigate the potential for incentives to encourage lot level stormwater controls for private property.
  • Investigate grading control measures to be implemented for infill lots designated for development.
  • Incorporate low impact development (LID) strategies into lot design of municipal facility upgrades and new municipal facilities.
  • Reintroduction and update of sewage backflow value/ sump pump program.
  • Develop a guide for public to provide information to them when they inquire about what to do when private property buildings are flooded.
  • Require developers to utilize best practices within site plan design to ensure risk of flooding within new developments is reduced.  
Goal 5: Minimize disruption to municipal service delivery;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Enhance communication pathways between departments to ensure efficient response to and recovery from disruptions to services.
  • Identify critical services; develop, document and train on contingency procedures.
Goal 6: Reduce health and safety risks to municipal workers and community members from extreme temperatures;

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Establish municipal facility locations and operating parameters to function as temporary warming and cooling centres for community members.
  • Develop a public awareness campaign to provide education to the community on how to stay safe during an extreme temperature events.
  • Develop extreme temperature training program for municipal staff.
  • Establish tree planting guidelines to assist in mitigating the effects of extreme heat, particularly within urban settlement boundaries.  (related to action item 7.1)
  • Increase public education and communication related to fire risk during extreme heat events. 
Goal 7: Protect and enhance the natural landscape to mitigate impact; and

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Development of a municipal wide forest strategy.  (related to action item 6.4)
  • Develop a naturalization strategy focused on riparian areas located on municipal properties.
  • Develop awareness and investigate an incentive program to encourage naturalization and environmental stewardship on private property.
  • Investigate the feasibility of integrating municipal natural infrastructure into asset management. 
Goal 8: Strengthen the resiliency of municipal infrastructure and facilities.

Actions to address this goal: 

  • Incorporate climate change impacts into inspection process and identified deficiencies related to municipal infrastructure and facilities are completed and remediated on a regular basis.
  • Provide municipal staff information on green infrastructure (natural) as a means to provide support to grey infrastructure (human engineered) within municipal projects.
Additional Action Identified

Additional actions (mitigation focused) identified to be implemented:

  • Eliminate of single use plastics within Municipal offices.
  • Creation of a Municipal Backyard Composting Program.

Want to learn more about climate change and how you can respond?

Community Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change was created and is intended to provide a non-technical overview of climate change and how the community can respond. We have also generated a Climate Change Resource Library (organized by topic) to help individuals and businesses access resources of interest. 

About our project partners

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is a voice for municipalities across Canada. They provide support to strengthen communities and to ensure the needs are reflected in federal policies and programs.  With funding from the Government of Canada, the FCM launched the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP). The MCIP is a five-year $75-million program aimed at providing assistance to more than 600 municipalities in responding to climate change for the protection of citizens, environment and the economy.

Contact(s)

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We work hard to ensure that everyone can access the information and services they need.

For information in alternative formats or assistance accessing information, please contact the Municipal Office at 519-235-0310. 

© 2020 The Municipality of South Huron, 322 Main Street South P.O. Box 759 Exeter, ON N0M 1S6