The City of Barrie has developed a strategy to adapt to a changing climate. At last month’s General Committee meeting, Councillors approved the strategy which will guide future planning to reduce the impacts of climate change on Barrie’s physical, economic, social, and ecological systems.
“In Barrie, we’ve already experienced climate change through a number of extreme weather events,” said Katie Thompson, Risk Management Official at the City of Barrie. “This strategy will help ensure staff keeps climate change the top of mind when planning for the future, as well as in everyday operations.”
More frequent and extreme weather events, increasing summer temperatures, changes to freeze-thaw cycles, and prolonged heatwaves are some of the changes being experienced in cities across central Ontario.
The Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was developed through extensive consultation with municipal staff, community stakeholders/experts, and the public. It identifies 59 actions the city can or is already taking to adapt to climate change, including increasing use of low impact development techniques, integrating climate change into existing plans and policies (e.g. emergency response planning, official plan), supporting community initiatives that address vulnerable populations, and upgrading infrastructure.
The strategy ensures that the City of Barrie is doing what is necessary to adapt to the effects of climate change in a sustainable and efficient way, based on best available climate science and local anecdotal knowledge. The goals include maintaining public health and safety, minimizing the risks to buildings and properties, strengthening infrastructure resilience, minimizing the disruption to community services, enhancing ecosystem functions, building community resilience and helping local businesses, and the tourism industry, adapt to the changing climate conditions.
While this strategy focuses on adapting to Climate Change, the city has also taken several measures to becoming more sustainable such as establishing an Energy Management Plan, adopting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for new buildings, installing solar panels on the Operations Centre roof among other initiatives.
To learn more and to read the full report, visit barrie.ca/ClimateChange.