COURTENAY, B.C. – The City of Courtenay has been picked to take part in a project that will improve its resilience to the effects of climate change.

72 communities across Canada have been chosen for the pilot project. Courtenay will develop an action plan for flood mitigation in the downtown core through a combination of natural assets and the built environment, according to a release issued by the City.

Natural assets are defined as ecosystem features like wetlands that provide, or could be restored to provide, services like storm water management.

Courtenay’s pilot will be funded through the 2018 Municipal Natural Asset Initiative (MNAI).

MNAI is a partnership between the Town of Gibsons, Smart Prosperity Institute and The David Suzuki Foundation, as well as Brooke & Associates.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected for a natural asset pilot project here in Courtenay, and it puts us on the leading edge nationally for this approach,” said Courtenay CAO David Allen, in the release.

“We’ve already seen the effects of several floods in low-lying areas in recent years, and it makes sense to maximize the potential of our natural environment to reduce the potential impact of these events on residents and businesses.”

Allen explained that natural asset management is a cost-effective, sustainable way forward.

“Courtenay’s efforts could potentially be used as a model for other communities dealing with similar challenges,” he said.

As an MNAI pilot project, Courtenay will have access to funding, expert support and guidance on top of the funding up to $110,000 that has already been set aside for flood mitigation in the city’s 2017 budget.