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One-day virtual summit focuses on climate change on island, coast

What can we do to address climate change?

That’s what’s on the minds of 150 elected officials, staff, First Nations, UVIC researchers, and B.C. government observers during a virtual summit tomorrow (Nov. 6th).

They’ll be meeting via zoom for a day-long session to plan for climate change in the island and coastal regions. 

A recently released report by U VIC researchers shows climate change is already impacting island and coastal communities, with wildfires, extreme rainfall, sea level rise, storm surges, extreme winds and droughts.

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The summit’s aim is to establish goals and actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation on Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities out to 2030. 

The Community Resilience Summit is being hosted by a steering committee that was formed in April.

It was put together to plan for climate change at the island and coastal communities wide scale.

“Smaller communities like Duncan don’t have the staff or resources to develop comprehensive climate action plans, yet our residents and businesses are vulnerable to the risks and hazards that climate change is already bringing,” said Duncan Mayor and committee chair Michelle Staples. 

“That’s why we’re throwing our energy into this island and coastal communities’ wide climate and resilience plan.”

Co-chair and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said by coming together as island and coastal communities “we have a better chance of meeting the challenges already facing us.”

“What the UVIC research reveals is that rural and urban areas have more common challenges that we have differences. Climate change planning as a whole island and coastal region makes sense,” Helps added.

The UVIC research also shows that although almost all municipalities and regional districts in the region have identified climate change as a priority, none have adequate resources to address the issue.

“Local governments have to be properly resourced to deal with climate change,” said summit co-organizer and Nanaimo councillor Ben Geselbracht. 

“Through the collective voice of an island and coastal community plan we can help senior levels of government support us with what we need and effectively collaborate to leverage resources across our communities.”

A plan will be presented to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities membership at their annual meeting in April 2021.

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