Orillia takes next steps towards advancing climate change adaptation

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Orillia Council received approved a new climate change adaptation strategy at its meeting held on Aug. 14.

While the plan identifies the path to net zero emissions for corporate operations by 2040 and the entire community by 2050, it also focuses on building climate change resilience and advancing community and City efforts to adapt to a changing climate.

“The City of Orillia is committed to environmental stewardship and continuous improvement to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Mayor Don McIsaac. “The city’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, along with our Climate Change Action Plan, will help guide decision making to take the necessary steps to reduce our environmental impact and protect our natural resources.”

Orillia worked in partnership with ICLEI Canada and in consultation with various community stakeholders including Hydro One, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Lakehead University, Georgian College, Sustainable Orillia, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Couchiching Conservancy, Bass Lake Farms and Green Orillia. Over the course of 18 months, community and staff working groups met to identify 27 actions grouped under four themes:

People and Health

  • Increasing the resilience of the community to climate change-related impacts and creating a healthier, more vibrant community.

Built Environment

  • Targeting key infrastructure vulnerability, rethinking the way the City builds, and supporting residents in protecting and increasing the resilience of their property and homes from future climate change.

Natural Environment

  • Protecting and enhancing Orillia’s natural environment and the services it provides while encouraging residents to engage in the growing of their food and gardens to further solidify our relationship with our surrounding environment.

Energy and Economy

  • Improving energy availability and resiliency as well as business continuity in the face of extreme weather to minimize damage and losses, ensuring our community is protected, and that we are adapted where possible to the future economic shifts that come with a changing climate.

“The city continues to take action to mitigate and reduce our green house gas emissions as a corporation, but as a municipality we are also focusing on helping our community adapt to climate change effects,” said Renee Recoskie, director of facilities, climate change and operations. “As a community, we all must work together to address and mitigate climate change and our new adaption strategy will help guide us through this process.”

Action items with a financial impact would be brought to Council for approval during the annual budget process.

More information is available at orillia.ca/climatefuture