March 23, 2017
Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation in the Town of Ajax
Last year, sixteen communities across Ontario joined the ICLEI Train the Trainer program as part of their Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Project. Funded by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change under the Canada-Ontario Great Lakes Agreement, this project’s main goal is to increase the resilience of communities in the context of climate change.
The Town of Ajax saw this as a great opportunity to kick start the process for the development of a Community Climate Adaptation Plan. Ajax joined the initiative in October 2016 and staff participated in a training session that helped them to understand how to engage their community stakeholders and better communicate the projected climate impacts that the community is likely to experience over the next 20 to 25 years.
On March 6th, the Town of Ajax hosted a workshop that supported the development of a climate vulnerability and risk assessment. Recognizing that the implementation of effective climate adaptation measures requires support from multiple stakeholders in the community, participants from all levels of government, utilities, local businesses, conservation authorities, research and environmental organizations were invited to participate in the stakeholder workshop. Their expertise was crucial in in evaluating Ajax’s vulnerability and risk to a wide range of potential impacts that climate models are predicting for the region.
Participants began their day in focus groups (buildings & utilities, terrestrial environment, water, social, economic, and roads) evaluating 45 impact statements for community sensitivity and adaptive capacity. In the afternoon, groups were provided a risk assessment for each impact assessment. This required an evaluation of the likelihood as well as the potential economic, environmental, and social impacts that the climate impact statement would pose on the community.
The outcomes of the workshop suggested that of the 45 climate impacts considered, those associated with flooding, water quality, human exposure to heat, and the resiliency of the urban forest are considered the greatest risk or are the most vulnerable areas of focus within Ajax.
The outcomes of this workshop will be used to help lay the foundation for the development of Ajax’s Community Climate Adaptation Plan. This plan is set to be completed in mid-2018. The climate impacts statements that were rated with high vulnerability and/or risk scores during this workshop form the primary focus areas of the Community Climate Adaptation Plan designing actions and programs. The final plan will be intended to be implemented across all sectors of the community to help ensure Ajax remains a resilient community.
Ajax also recently achieved its corporate greenhouse gas reduction target of 20% which it achieved three years earlier than anticipated. The town is now working on its community climate mitigation strategy to determine the community’s progress with the hope of setting new targets this year.