The effects of climate change are already being felt with higher temperatures, wetter winters, and drier summers. Although local and world efforts on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction are critical and urgent, the impacts of climate change will continue. The following are some City initiatives that address Climate Adaptation:
In 2022, Council adopted City Plan, which includes a number of policies to help support the City adapt to Climate Change. Climate change adaptation strategies can be found throughout City Plan but are primarily focused within Sections C1.2, Climate Adaptation and Hazard Management and D3, Blue and Green Network. City Plan also included two new Development Permit Areas for Sea Level Rise and Wildfire Mitigation to help guide and protect new development from future climate hazards.
Sea Level Rise
In January 2018, the Province of BC adopted an amendment to the Flood Hazard Area Land Use Management Guidelines that incorporated new building standards for coastal areas that consider relative sea level rise (RSLR) to 1.0 metre by 2100. In response to the province's actions, the City began an initiative to better understand and address the potential impacts of sea level rise on the City.
The City's Sea Level Rise Study (Study) was completed in 2019 and is a high-level vulnerability assessment of the City's coastline. The Study includes sea level rise projections for 2050 and 2100; an assessment of potential coastal erosion impacts, and defines a Flood Construction Level (FCL) along the City's shoreline for 2050 and 2100. The Flood Construction Level is defined by summing up the high tide, storm surge, and wind and wave effects for the shoreline. An additional parameter, "freeboard", is added on top of this to provide an extra factor of safety.
Results from the Study show that there are low-lying areas along the coastline, which are vulnerable to sea level rise. Specifically Departure Bay, Duke Point, Protection Island, and portions of the Downtown. Assessing the extent of risk posed will require further work. This will be done as the City implements the Climate Change Resilience Strategy, which was adopted by Council in June 2020.
The results of the Study will also be used in further work to assess the vulnerability of City infrastructure and were used to update to the City's Official Community Plan (City Plan), through the ReImagine Nanaimo process including creating a new Sea Level Rise Development Permit Area for Nanaimo.
Case Studies in Resiliency
Disaster and Emergency. We live in an earthquake zone, and with climate change upon us, there is a growing risk of disasters and major emergencies that could affect our city. To learn about the City of Nanaimo's Emergency Management Program, our Emergency Response and Recovery Program, and even how you and your family can be better prepared for an emergency, visit the Emergency Management page. In addition, if you haven't already, sign up for emergency notifications by app, text, email, or phone call here on our Emergency Call Alert System page.