The City of Edmonton has a new framework to help brace the city for a warmer future of unpredictable weather events.
Climate Resilient Edmonton: Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan, released Thursday, is intended to help guide the city and council in future decision-making. The strategy will be discussed Tuesday at an executive committee meeting.
Paul Ross, the city’s acting deputy manager of urban form, said the strategy is a starting point to a lot of work ahead.
“This is not an end point, this is the beginning,” he said. “But as the city grows and the city changes and the city reinvests in infrastructure, then we’ll have certainly different kinds of forecast and numbers to bring forward.”
The strategy includes 18 points of action.
The first is to develop a framework built on science-based evidence for city administration and council to consider when making decisions about health, economy, environment, infrastructure and climate.
Other steps call for evaluating programs, buildings, infrastructure, to see what we can do to be more climate change ready.
The strategy suggests partnering with EPCOR and other utilities to develop a drought management program.
The strategy also calls for food resilience programs and exploring agribusiness programs with the goal of integrating them into Edmonton’s food and urban agriculture strategy.
Edmonton sets example
Ross noted Edmonton has an international reputation in this area after hosting the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in March.
In conjunction with the international conference, the city hosted the Global mayors’ summit, which resulted in the Edmonton Declaration — a pledge to accelerate the goals to curb climate change.
“The Edmonton Declaration calls upon cities to take bold action on climate change,” Ross said.
To date, Ross said 4,500 cities worldwide have endorsed the declaration.
“And that put, really, this city on the map in terms of a northerly city in Canada that’s basically an energy economy that said straight up that we see our place in the world in terms of climate change and some of the things we can actively to work towards some of those solutions.”
Researchers joined the city team Thursday to explain the plan.
Using international models, they calculated that Edmonton’s gross domestic product could be reduced by $3.2 billion annually by the 2050s.
Richard Boyd, a research fellow with All One Sky Foundation, said being better prepared for extreme weather events, like freezing rain storms, high winds and downpours, will save money.
They also estimated an additional 22,000 health incident are expected a year due to mental and physical stress and anxiety related to climate change.
Ross said his team is asking for money in this upcoming operating budget to hire four new staff members and contract experts to “help move the agenda forward.”
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.