Description

Vancouver City Council adopts a climate change adaptation strategy in 2012.

Significance

On July 25, 2012, Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to adopt a comprehensive climate change adaptation strategy based on the proven Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) planning framework.  The strategy addresses sea-level rise, flood proofing, temperature, weather, nature and adapting buildings.

Vancouver’s strategy was to be reviewed on a five-year cycle.

Background

The strategy’s nine primary actions were: complete a coastal flood risk assessment, amend flood-proofing policies, develop and implement a city-wide integrated storm-water management plan, continuation of sewer separation, develop a back-up power policy, continue to implement water conservation actions, support and expand extreme heat planning, address climate change adaptation in the new Vancouver Building Bylaw; and develop and implement a comprehensive urban forest management plan. It includes numerous supporting actions and goals and targets. Work on some of the primary actions, including integrated stormwater management planning, review of flood-proofing policies and urban forest management began in 2012.

The actions are based on the prediction that sea level will rise one metre along the city’s floodplain by 2100.

In 2014, Council updated its building bylaw to raise flood construction levels by one metre over existing levels (4.6 metres) under habitable space in areas along floodplain areas: Burrard Inlet, English Bay, False Creek and the Fraser River.

A Phase 2 report of the Coastal Flood Risk Assessment, presented to Council in 2016, noted that almost 13 square kilometres of city lands are in the floodplain. It targeted 11 at-risk zones prone to increased flooding and soil erosion.

Sources