“Local governments in Canada have a significant role to play in minimizing the impacts of climate change on their population, economy, and fiscal budgets.”
― Simon Fraser University Adaptation to Climate Change Team, 2015
The potential adaptive actions and implementation framework were developed based on extensive consultation.
The Climate Adaptation Strategy is a long-term initiative that will require participation and engagement across all City Departments as well as collaboration amongst community stakeholders in order to successfully achieve the City’s climate adaptation vision. An implementation framework was developed to provide a detailed roadmap with which the City of Thunder Bay can move forward in putting the adaptation opportunities identified into action.
This framework is intended to be a living document that will be further refined as the City moves forward into the implementation phase of Milestone Four. Details and prioritization of the actions may change to reflect the City of Thunder Bay’s existing procedures, decision-making processes, evaluation, annual review, and external factors. Best practices, internal structures, and collaboration will inform successful implementation of the actions that are presented in the strategy.
The implementation framework developed is reflective of extensive consultation and feedback received from City managers and staff, service sector professionals, key community stakeholder, and EarthCare community partners. As a whole, the implementation framework documents financial, human, and other resources required to carry out the climate adaptation actions.
The adaptation actions presented in the framework were analyzed through an implementation lens to identify resources required to move forward. Short-term actions, i.e. those requiring less than two years to implement, can be seen as ‘quick wins’ that can be achieved to build a sense of success and momentum. In comparison, longer-term actions will require ongoing and collaborative efforts over a number of years to achieve success. The implementation framework also identifies key actions that should be completed sooner rather than later. The complete implementation framework is presented in Appendix A.
To assist in achieving the adaptation actions and documenting the collaborative processes that may be required to do so, an action register approach will complement the implementation framework. The action register is a template developed to document the implementation of each action item. The content of the action registers will inform the development of an implementation plan in Milestone Four to complement the Climate Adaptation Strategy.
The action registers allow for fine-tuning of the details and elements required for the successful implementation of the actions. The details of the action registers will include information such as the person(s) responsible to facilitate the completion of the action, departmental approval, budget, community partners, detailed implementation dates, specific actions, and supporting documentation. A sample action register is provided in Appendix B.
It is the intention that action registers will be filled out for each action by the primary leads identified in the implementation framework. Once developed and approved, the action registers will form and feed back into a constantly evolving implementation plan and also serve as institutional memory for the City to track progress towards meeting its adaptation goals and vision.
The process of monitoring and evaluation informs an ongoing cycle of learning that provides insight into the nature of climate change adaptation. Based on experiences and responses observed, corrections or new opportunities can be integrated into future climate adaptation strategies. A five-year monitoring and evaluation cycle has been recommended to guide future monitoring and evaluation activities as well as regularly update the Climate Adaptation Strategy.
Figure 2 illustrates the type of data proposed for this purpose and the frequency with which it would be collected. The magnitude of effort required to complete the activities is represented by circle size, where larger circles will require a greater effort. All activities culminate in a five-year review of the Climate Adaptation Strategy, its goals, objectives, and actions. Additional details regarding the proposed monitoring and evaluation activities are presented in a Monitoring & Evaluation Strategy developed to complement the Climate Adaptation Strategy.
A total of 20 indicators have been recommended as measures of the success of the Climate Adaptation Strategy and to track how the Corporation and the community are achieving the City of Thunder Bay’s climate adaptation vision and goals. Though the majority of these indicators are existing ones that the City is already tracking, new indicators were also identified. For the purpose of the Climate Adaptation Strategy, a baseline year of 2016 was established for overall consistency and comparison of data. Progress over time will be tracked against this baseline. All indicators, data sources, and responsibility for reporting are listed in Appendix C.
Each year the City will report progress to City Council and the community through the EarthCare Annual Report. The focus of the Annual Report will be based on the trends seen amongst the identified indicators and reflections on the factors which influence the trends. The City will also review work-to-date and prioritize actions on a yearly basis. Prioritization of actions is expected to change from year to year based on the City of Thunder Bay’s existing decision-making processes, evaluation, annual review, budget, and external factors.
It is recommended that every two years, a simple risk and vulnerability survey should be considered to gauge preparedness and awareness of climate change adaptation both within the City of Thunder Bay and the community.
Science and best practices should be reviewed on an ongoing basis and incorporated into the annual work plan and priorities as required. It is recommended that every five years, working with a university or research organization, a formal science review be considered to collate the above and to review new findings and information on global, regional, and local climate change and/or new adaptation techniques.
It is recommended that every five years the Climate Adaptation Strategy itself be reviewed. This five-year review would be an explicit opportunity to consider the appropriateness of the goals, objectives, actions and strategic directions.
Given the wide ranging list of actions and cross-departmental responsibilities, along with the ever-changing information and science associated with climate change, the Climate Adaptation Strategy will need to be administered and managed on a long-term basis to ensure its success.
A strategy of this scale and scope will require dedicated individuals who will be able to act as lead administrators, providing the necessary resources, support, and expertise to assist City Departments in implementing their actions. Collating and reporting on performance indicators, preparing reports, communicating to City Council and the community, assisting with annual prioritization of actions, and continuing to build stakeholder involvement are some of the administrative tasks that are likely to be associated with this strategy in implementation. To this effect, financial resources will be required for ongoing implementation and management. Allocating both human and financial resources to the Climate Adaption Strategy will be essential in achieving the City’s adaptation vision.
City Departments, Primary Leads, and staff will require ongoing support and feedback throughout implementation and management of the Climate Adaptation Strategy. The EarthCare network and a dedicated Climate Adaptation Steering Committee are existing structures that can be employed to house and oversee the implementation of the Strategy and achieve of the City’s climate adaption vision.
Adaptation planning can increase benefits and reduce risks associated with climate change impacts. Through proactive action, the City can achieve its climate adaptation goals and simultaneously realize a host of community benefits including economic development, community health and wellness, and the continued development of a sustainable and liveable city over decades to come. Climate adaptation is an opportunity to drive sustainable development by combining synergies between different levels of governments, private partners, and local residents.
Key findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report predict that climate change impacts will have significant effects on migration flow and patterns of investment. If the City of Thunder Bay can show that it is climate-ready, it can capitalize on the opportunity to attract businesses, people, and investments.
The City will also become well-positioned to access potential sources of funding from the federal and provincial governments in the future. Assessment of climate risk together with quantification of the costs and benefits of climate-resilient development measures will highlight new investment opportunities and so should help unlock innovation, public-private partnerships, and investment.
Thunder Bay’s Memorial Avenue Low Impact Development biofiltration facility is an example of how the municipality is using green and grey infrastructure to manage stormwater and mitigate flooding to address climate change impacts. External funds for this project were made available through the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to increase municipal adaptation and resilience through stormwater and watershed management.