Municipal representatives from across the region gathered at the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority’s 2018 Municipal Conference to learn how erosion, sediment control, and climate change impact their communities.
“Changing climate, including more frequent run-off events that we’re seeing, has the potential to impact their critical infrastructure,” said Katelyn Lynch, NBMCA’s Manager of Watershed Management.
Gord Miller, Ontario’s former Environmental Commissioner, brought attention to the impact of climate change on municipalities.
“The climate has changed, and it continues to change, and that raises huge challenges. We have to change our planning process to accommodate the realities of climate change. We have to change our thinking,” said Miller.
“In the past, we all had the confidence to say we know how to deal with major storm events, we’ve dealt with them before and we’re ready for them. We’re not. Climate is changing constantly and major things are happening that will disrupt our municipalities and we have to anticipate that, and have some kind of plan in place to cope with that,” he added.
“I think it’s in the emergency planning process. We should expect extreme heat. We should expect major rain storms. We should expect ice storms. There are many ways of doing things differently. There are often choices when we’re building roads, and building infrastructure and laying out flood plains, and we’ve got to make those changes the wise way, with the thought that climate is changing. The reality is different.”
Jill Attwood, a sediment and control specialist from the Toronto Region Conservation Authority gave the municipalities a heads up on best management practices that will help protect the water courses during municipal construction projects. Proper erosion and sediment controls both directly impact the health of our watershed, as well as the municipal infrastructure.
“There is a need to ensure municipal projects are done properly and that they have longevity. The practice of erosion and sediment control during construction is a critical component necessary for the protection of the natural environment including sensitive water bodies, terrestrial habitat and aquatic ecosystems,” she said.