Watters wonders about county prepared for significant weather events

ABOYNE — County of Wellington councillor and Centre Wellington mayor Shawn Watters is looking for funding from both the federal and provincial governments to help the county and member municipalities to implement climate change mitigation measures.

"I anticipate funding coming out of the feds or maybe even the province, we never know," Watters said at Monday's county council meeting.

"But at least the feds, that way, they're going to say, hey you gonna need to prepare your communities for these extreme weather events. How do you look at the resources in your communities and how do you prepare that?

"Whether you have a river going through your community and how you sort of you look at it and prepare for flooding? Even with heat events, how do you protect your community, either by planting more trees or that? So yeah I think we definitely got to be thinking that way," Watters said.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is already working to secure funding for responses to climate change.

"Through the FCM that's one of the items we've been talking to the federal government about is funding for that kind of mitigation," said Mapleton mayor Gregg Davidson.

Watters was interested in how communities are supported by the county in preparing for extreme weather events.

“Have you talked about developing or providing partners here, plans to programming plans in terms of climate adaptation? How the communities get prepared for extreme events? Sort of help, direction that way? Was there any talk that way? With how we work with us that way?” Watters said.

Aldo Salis, director of planning, responded by noting the mitigation plan (called Future Focused) that will involve incorporating responses to climate change into county decision making processes with the goal of ensuring community safety.

Ken DeHart, county treasurer, brought up the mitigation plan during a presentation for the county council.

“Part of this funding that Ken has alluded to is the adaptation study. It will be initiated. The mitigation plan’s approved and the adaptation is the next phase so that would be again contingent on available funding. The hope is to start it this year,” Salis said.

As it stands the county has $8.7 million allotted for climate change initiatives by the county.

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com