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From Flooding to Fire: How the Town of Canmore is preparing for climate change

Key Messages

  • The Town of Canmore has gained a better understanding of climate-related risks and opportunities and prioritized adaptation actions based on local climate projections by undertaking an adaptation planning process guided by the Climate Resilience Express tool.
  • Using a planning tool streamlined the adaptation planning process for Canmore by enabling town staff and stakeholders to focus their efforts and identify concrete next steps to be incorporated into municipal planning and budget cycles.
  • Canmore’s Climate Resilience Action Plan signals to stakeholders and the broader community that future climate-related risks are real and that it is necessary to start preparing now.

Canadian municipalities are becoming increasingly concerned about the risks posed by climate change, such as impacts from more frequent and extreme flooding events. For the Bow Valley Corridor in Alberta, climate projections anticipate drier summers, increased rain in the winter, earlier snowmelt and increased frequency of extreme weather events, emphasizing the need for communities to prepare.

The Town of Canmore created a Climate Resilience Action Plan to identify key risks and vulnerabilities as well as to prioritize adaptation actions following the devastating impacts of flooding in 2013. They used the Climate Resilience Express tool to help guide this process. The Climate Resilience Express tool is designed to help municipalities host a one-day workshop to identify climate risks and opportunities, prioritize these risks and opportunities, and, after the workshop, create an adaptation action plan. It was created by All One Sky in partnership with the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and the Miistakis Institute.

Through an extended two-day workshop and a series of bilateral meetings, Canmore municipal staff and key stakeholders identified, assessed and evaluated climate-related risks and opportunities and created a ranked list of actions and implementation timeline. Completion of an adaptation plan has led Canmore to implement a number of actions, including a flood risk assessment of the Bow River and incorporation of adaptation priorities into budget planning. This case study presents the process used by Canmore to create its action plan and highlights key insights for other communities.

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