Faraz Khan is the municipal energy manager for both Jasper and Hinton. | Supplied photoScott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Jasper is moving forward with a climate resilience capacity building project after Municipal Energy Manager Faraz Khan’s presentation to council last week.

“When you’re talking about climate resiliency, it’s basically being able to anticipate or prepare for events related to change of climate and disturbances related to climate. With this project, we’re trying to understand – based on climate models – what impact can we expect to see locally in Jasper. That’s the first part: we don’t know what to expect right now,” Khan said.

For this project, there’s a certain amount of predicting the future that is required in order to diminish the risks, mitigate the impacts of climate change and better prepare for any natural disasters to come.  

“We want to understand better. What are these impacts? What are these risks? What can we expect as a community… in terms of the environment and the weather and all those things as to what’s going to happen in the future, at least what we can predict will happen in the future?”  

In December, the municipality received a grant of $80,000 from the Climate Resilience Capacity Building program offered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. The Resilience Institute has been chosen as the lead contractor, with whom Khan had his first meeting on Tuesday this week to discuss submitting the funding application and moving forward with the project.

The deadline for approvals is March 31.

“We had a conversation discussing what are the municipality’s expectations from the project and what are we wanting to see, and putting the work plan together really on how to execute the whole goal of the climate resilience capacity building project that we’re undertaking,” Khan said.

Once the risk assessment is completed, the next step is to determine the municipality’s plan, which could include either or both of soft and hard adaptation measures. Soft measures refer to municipal policies and practices, while hard measures mean tangible changes to buildings and infrastructure.

The project is expected to include regional climate projections and materials for communicating climate change with the community. It will also detail a comprehensive whole-community climate risk assessment that will follow the Protocol for the Identification and Evaluation of Vulnerability to Climate Change. This engineering protocol is used to systematically review historical climate information and project the nature, severity and probability of future climate changes and events.

The discussion with The Resilience Institute also included engagement with the public and with stakeholders, including identifying who those stakeholders would be. The project lead is Brooklyn Rushton, a Jasperite who holds a Master’s degree in climate change.

“It works perfectly, because she’s local. She can understand Jasper and its unique context. She’ll be in a better position to understand what the municipality’s thoughts and needs are to help us work towards this project and getting the results that we want.”

The report will be a useful tool for informing municipal budgeting and future steps for developing an approach to climate resilience.

The project is tentatively targeted for completion by Sept. 30.

The final report will include recommendations for adaptation strategies and next steps, including any possible coordinations between Hinton and Jasper. Khan’s role as municipal energy manager is shared between the two communities.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 24, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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