Climate change, and its growing impact on our environment and quality of life, is one of the most critical issues being addressed by governments around the world, including here in the Comox Valley. Climate change requires both mitigation and adaptation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to changes that are already taking place.
An important way the CVRD is taking climate action is through the goals set out in the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). One of the eight key goals of the RGS is to minimize regional greenhouse gas emissions and plan for adaptation in the region. This goal is being carried out through the following climate action strategies/projects/initiatives:
- Coastal Flood Mapping
- Airshed Roundtable Project
- Comox Valley Sustainability Strategy
- Comox Valley Rural Areas Community Climate Action Plan
- Corporate Energy Plan
- Transition 2050 Residential Retrofit Acceleration Strategy
- Green Shores Local Government Working Group
In addition to these initiatives the CVRD has committed to climate action by joining the Partners for Climate Protection program in 2006, signing the BC Climate Action Charter in 2007, adopting a Climate Change Toolkit in 2008 and undertaking several solar energy installations designed to reduce the environmental footprint of local facilities.
If GHG emissions continue to grow, it’s expected that global warming will increase, leading to higher sea levels, flooding and more extreme weather patterns. These effects will inevitably put our health, ecosystems and local economies at risk. Accordingly, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is committed to reducing the ecological footprint of our communities and taking appropriate action to mitigate the local effects of climate change.
The CVRD has a number of priorities related to climate change:
- Creating wildfire resistant communities
- Preparation for higher frequency and scale of storm surges in low-lying coastal areas
- Landscaping that can better withstand extreme temperatures
- Storm water management
- Improving transportation choices and behavioural patterns
- Creating forms of development that work to reduce GHG emissions
To be eligible for the grant, the CVRD has committed to working towards carbon neutrality in our corporate operations, measuring and reporting on our community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and creating complete, compact, energy-efficient rural and urban communities.
Each year the CVRD completes the CARIP survey, which highlights key climate actions we have taken to reduce both corporate and community GHG emissions. Some highlights from 2019 include:
- Completion of the new CVRD office, built to LEED Gold Standards, including EV charging stations.
- Planting of 600 trees and shrubs in the new Seal Bay Park Parking Lot.
- Capturing landfill gas at Comox Valley Waste Management Centre and using it to heat the boiler at the Leachate Treatment facility instead of propane.
- Partnering with Comox Valley Land Trust to protect the Morrison Headwater Nature Preserve via land acquisition.
- Working on Residential Retrofit Market Acceleration Strategy to reduce GHG emissions from the building sector.
On British Columbia’s coastline, changing sea levels are influenced by both global and local effects. Global sea level is affected by melting glaciers and ice caps and the warming (thermal expansion) of the upper ocean. Locally, sea level rise is also affected by vertical movements of the land (tectonic movements, rebound and subsidence).
Here in the Comox Valley, local sea levels are projected to rise approximately one metre over the next century along our 77 km coastline. This has many potential impacts, including:
- More frequent and extreme high water levels in coastal areas
- Increased erosion, flooding and related loss of property
- Increased risk to coastal infrastructure, as well as higher maintenance and repair costs
- Loss of habitat and reduced biodiversity
- Saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers
- Loss of cultural and historic sites
The CVRD is currently completing coastal flood mapping of the entire CVRD geographic area in order to gain a complete picture of sea level rise in the region. The results of this work will support the CVRD’s aim to become more resilient to flood hazards and lay the foundation for future flood mitigation planning.
Looking for ways to mitigate for, or adapt to, the effects of climate change in the Comox Valley? Here are several resources to get you started:
- BC Climate Action Toolkit
- Preparing for Climate Change: British Columbia’s Adaptation Strategy
- Climate Change – Province of British Columbia
- Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions
- Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
- Provincial Climate Data Set Portal
- Potential Impacts of Climate Change on BC Hydro's Water Resources
The BC Government Sea Level Rise Adaptation Primer is a resource for local governments and land management authorities, providing information on a range of tools that can be used as part of a sea level rise adaptation strategy.