Temperature change projections under different greenhouse gas concentration scenarios based on mitigation action. (Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium image/City of Nanaimo)

Temperature change projections under different greenhouse gas concentration scenarios based on mitigation action. (Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium image/City of Nanaimo)

City of Nanaimo plans for extreme weather over next 60 years

Councillors adopt climate change resilience strategy

Record-high temperatures and sea level rise are in Nanaimo’s forecast in the decades to come, and the city has adopted a strategy to try to cope.

Councillors adopted a climate change resilience strategy for the City of Nanaimo at a special council meeting Monday.

According to the report, Nanaimo’s hottest day of the year is expected to rise from a baseline of 31 C between 1971-2000 to 34.5 C in the 2050s and 36.7 C in the 2080s. The sea level is expected to rise from a 6.68-metre baseline to 7m in the 2050s and 8.1m in the 2100s.

“We take all these projections and then we try to explore how these are going to actually impact Nanaimo and its facilities, buildings, services, assets and everything else,” said Lisa Westerhoff, principal at Integral Group, which partnered with Tamsin Mills Resilience Consulting in compiling the report.

Westerhoff said the focus was on adaptation and resilience, not mitigation, noting that climate change mitigation efforts are underway in various sectors of the municipality.

The resilience strategy was paid for with $175,000 from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ climate innovation program, and a city staff report noted that the city spent an additional $50,000 and invested staff time.

“The objective really was to identify expected and current climate change impacts to the city and come up with a range of actions that we can take over the short term and the long term, but also recognize the work that we are doing now as well as potential gaps that we need to fill as we move forward,” said Rob Lawrance, the city’s environmental planner.

Westerhoff said consultants worked with Associated Engineering on climate projections, including scaling down global scientific data to regional levels, and the report cited additional studies including a City of Nanaimo sea level rise study and a Nanaimo Regional General Hospital climate change vulnerability assessment report.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo city council declares climate emergency

Some of the other climate change impacts mentioned in the report included longer periods of drought, from a 22-day baseline to 26 days in the 2050s and 29 days in the 2080s, and growing wildfire risk. Also of note, freezing temperatures are expected to become less common and the growing season – when the daily average temperature is above 5 C – is expected to expand from a baseline of 262 days per year to 322 days in 2050 and 349 days in 2100.

Westerhoff said potential climate impacts were ranked according to risk level and the city’s vulnerability, and the report presents 67 recommendations including 35 which it refers to as “priority actions.” For example, with “hotter, drier summers” forecast, the report recommends the city update its water supply strategic plan. As well, Westerhoff mentioned that the tax base could be challenged due to response and recovery spending following extreme weather events, and the report recommends ensuring allowances for that sort of spending in city reserves.

Westerhoff said the city won’t be “starting from scratch” with its climate resiliency response.

“There were a lot of existing actions underway that could be thought of as adaptation actions, lots of existing plans and standards that are already starting to set the bar for what we would consider an adaptation action,” she said, mentioning the city’s asset management plan, urban forest management plan and community wildfire protection plan as examples.

Lawrance told councillors that implementation of the strategy will be a collective effort across the city’s departments, and mentioned that the next official community plan could include performance measures tied to climate resiliency.

Coun. Ben Geselbracht and others thanked consultants and staff for their efforts on the strategy.

“This is a really critical part of our overall environmental framework,” he said.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo protesters join in on global climate strike


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City HallClimate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Nanaimo area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo councillors like new sustainable buying policy

Finance and audit committee recommends council approve new procurement policy

Action at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo sports organizations qualify for COVID-19 relief funding

Province announces support for curling, rowing, gymastics, softball, rugby, squash, football clubs

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

Most Read