On July 12, 2022, Burlington City Council approved Burlington’s first climate adaptation plan called Climate Resilient Burlington (CRB): A Plan for Adapting to Our Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather.
With this new plan, the City of Burlington is now addressing both aspects of climate change:
- Climate mitigation, or reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through the Corporate Energy and Emissions Management Plan: 2019-2024 and the community Climate Action Plan. Both of these climate mitigation plans are in the implementation stage and have carbon neutral goals of 2040 for corporate emissions (City operations) and 2050 for community emissions.
- Climate adaptation, which is preparing for and managing the impacts of our changing climate, through the CRB plan.
Why develop Climate Resilient Burlington?
Recognizing that even if carbon neutrality is achieved today, existing greenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere for the foreseeable future and continue to impact our climate. As such, it is important to plan for the weather we are going to see.
The purpose of the CRB plan is to identify actions to manage the highest risks of warmer, wetter and wilder weather. While the CRB plan considers Burlington’s climate projections to the years 2051-2080 under a high emissions scenario, the plan outlines actions to focus on for the next 10 years to build resilience and prepare for a changing climate. Although this is our first climate adaptation plan, we are not starting from scratch and many of the actions are building on work already underway and referred to under ‘related initiatives’ in the CRB plan.
The CRB plan was developed using a bottom-up approach with 49 City staff and community stakeholders representing 12 City departments and 17 community organizations through 15 workshops between September 2021 and January 2022 as well as additional follow-up. The community was also engaged through:
- A dedicated CRB page on the Get Involved Burlington portal
- A public project launch in October 2021 with David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada who presented “Weather and Climate: It’s Not What Our Grandparents Knew”
- Surveys on the vision, principles, climate impacts and actions in October and November 2021; and on the 32 proposed actions of the CRB plan, the citizen action checklists, and proposed future community climate resilience education program in April and May 2022
- Reports and presentations regarding the plan to City Council in March 2021, May and July 2022
- Fifteen blog posts published at TakeActionBurlington.ca since March 2021 which referred to the plan
10-year action plan
The CRB plan has 32 actions under five themes, which are aligned with Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, and 10 action areas along with associated goals, indicators and targets for ongoing monitoring and reporting.
- Theme 1: Resilient Built and Natural Infrastructure
- Infrastructure Design and Life Cycle Management
- Flood Management
- Service Disruption
- Theme 2: Thriving Natural Environment
- Tree Management
- Natural Area Management
- Theme 3: Health and Well-Being
- Extreme Heat and Health
- Theme 4: Disaster Resilience
- Community Capacity Building
- Citizen and Business Support Programs
- Theme 5: Strong and Resilient Economy
- Local Economy
Each of the 32 actions identify the City lead and supporting departments, community connections, related initiatives, timelines, and how the actions align to higher risk hazards such as high winds, wet conditions, extreme heat, etc. The document also has two Citizen Action Checklists which were developed based on community feedback to our first survey.
- Work will begin to start implementing the short-term actions. If additional funding is needed, the request will be made through the annual budget process.
- Annual update reports will be prepared for City Council.
- The plan will be renewed every five years including progress to date; revision or addition of actions as needed; integration of any new or updated climate projections and risks; and alignment with updated City policies and guiding documents.
Take Action Burlington! Let’s work together to prepare for our warmer, wetter and wilder weather. Collectively we can make a difference.