The Town of Qualicum Beach is updating the draft of its Community Climate Change Adaptation Plan to prioritize its objectives.
Council received direction from the Select Committee on Environment and Sustainability, which recommended areas of the plan that should be prioritized and how best to advance the town’s goals in alignment with the town’s Sustainability Plan.
Coun. Anne Skipsey, who chaired the committee, said since the town embarked on the process of building capacity for climate change resilience in 2017, things have changed drastically. She cited the prevalence of heat wave, drought, flooding and wildfires incidences lately have drastically altered the objectives of the CCCAP.
“We’re no longer planning for the future, but this is happening now,” Skipsey told council at its regular meeting on Dec. 7. “So some of the information that was in that original report, the committee felt was already out-of-date, even though we’re just receiving it at this point. The committee was very focused on the fact that we’re in a climate emergency and we must respond accordingly.”
The focus of the original plan was adaptation but the committee, Skipsey explained, believes it is imperative the town focus on measures of mitigation and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Local actions that committee feels the town can possibly achieve include minimizing emissions from town operations, phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles and landscape equipment, mandating efficient buildings, promoting installation of heat pumps for heating and cooling, and maintaining and enhancing the town’s urban forest.
The committee recommended the climate change adaptation plan objectives be prioritize in the following order:
1. Integrate climate change thinking into all planning and decision making.
2. Improve public health, safety and preparedness to climate-related events.
3. Effectively manage and support a healthy urban forest.
4. Continue long-term planning for sea level rise in alignment with Waterfront Master Plan
5. Continue to prioritize the supply of clean water including: improve coordinated watershed management and planning and increase water conservation practices and policies.
6. Sustainable Development Policies - Promote and expand the use of Low Impact Development (LID) and Nature-based Solutions (NBS) for building.
7. Continue to manage invasive species throughout the community.
The committee also suggested to include the remainder of its other major recommendations be referred to the 2023-2025 council strategic plan and five-year financial plan review.
Council unanimously endorsed both recommendations.