Orangeville’s Climate Policy

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The Town has a responsibility to integrate climate considerations into existing policy and decision-making processes. Orangeville Council endorsed a Climate Change Adaptation Policy on September 23, 2019. That policy establishes the Town’s commitment to advancing climate adaptation efforts and supports the development and implementation of a climate change adaptation plan. Municipalities across Canada have started to advance local adaptation efforts to protect their citizens, assets and service areas from the impacts associated with climate change, and Orangeville has just made its first step to achieve these objectives too.

The goals of the Climate Change Adaptation Policy include:

  • Maintain levels of service that meet or exceed expectations set by Council despite changes in local climate
  • Increase climate resilience of Town assets, operations and service areas
  • Manage, minimize or eliminate local risks and impacts associated with climate change
  • Advance understanding and awareness of local climate change impacts and adaptation across the Town
  • Demonstrate accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility throughout corporate adaptation efforts

 

To work towards achieving the goals of this policy, the Town of Orangeville will:

  • Integrate climate change adaptation into existing and future Town plans, procedures and operations where possible
  • Support the implementation of priority actions identified in the Town’s Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan
  • Identify existing and avoid future maladaptive actions throughout the corporation
  • Allocate adequate funding for prioritized adaptation measures
  • Commit to the ongoing monitoring of corporate adaptation measures and update as required

The Town of Orangeville has recently experienced both direct and indirect impacts of a changing climate, with noteworthy flooding events caused by extreme rainfall in June and August of 2017 and February of 2018, and an ice storm with significant tree damage in March of 2016. After reviewing downscaled climate projections, it is clear that the Town of Orangeville will continue to experience these impacts, likely increasing in frequency and magnitude over time. Climate projections indicate that Orangeville is going to experience warming temperatures across all seasons, increased annual and seasonal variability in precipitation and increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events.

The adoption of this policy supports the Town of Orangeville in pursuing the development of an actionable and innovative Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan (CCCAP). The purpose of the CCCAP is to scope and prepare for the effects of a changing climate on Town-managed infrastructure, assets, and services. The end goal is to reduce the risks that climate change poses to Orangeville’s physical, economic, social, and ecological systems. Based on the identification of impacts through a vulnerability and risk assessment, the plan will prioritize practical and effective actions to minimize impacts and build climate resilience across the corporation. The CCCAP will recommend specific measures with implementation details to enhance the Town’s ability to cope with the impacts and risks associated with climate change.

Climate change adaptation aligns with several goals identified in the Town’s Strategic Plan and Official Plan, as climate resilience is required to ensure infrastructure, assets and service areas remain operational. Adaptation planning also builds on a history of other sustainability and climate change related work completed by the Town. This work includes but is not limited to the Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Plan, Cycling and Trails Master Plan and Corporate Energy and Greenhouse Gas Conservation and Demand Management Action Plan. The CCCAP will incorporate and align climate mitigation efforts (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) into adaptation planning in order to identify synergies, avoid maladaptive practices, and generate co-benefits for the Town.

The Town of Orangeville values the input and opinions of community stakeholders and residents. Engagement and outreach opportunities have been strategically planned throughout the development of the Town’s climate change adaptation plan. Once the assessment work has been completed, findings will be presented to the community through various engagement events and online surveys, inviting residents and stakeholders to comment on the findings. This feedback will be used to ensure that the findings and proposed actions resonate with residents and the goals of the plan align with community priorities.

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