PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE – An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia




“Tools for communities to increase resilience in a changing climate”

BC is already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate, and scientists are projecting further changes over the next decades. Some of the predicted impacts include increased risk of flooding and wildfires, changes in temperatures, seasonal water flows, water shortages, and sea level rise.

To support local government efforts to increase resilience in the face of a changing climate, West Coast Environmental Law, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, (MCSCD), the Fraser Basin Council and Natural Resources Canada have jointly released PREPARING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE – An Implementation Guide for Local Governments in British Columbia.

“Preparing for and responding to climate change impacts will, in most communities, engage a wide range of existing tools, local government services and responsibilities,” states Deborah Carlson, Staff Counsel with West Coast Environmental  Law, and author of theGuide.

“Wherever possible, this Guide provides concrete examples, drawing on the growing experience of local governments in BC, and also some examples from outside the province. Many of the strategies that can help to address a changing climate are also good practices that will benefit communities regardless of the climate change impacts they face.”

“Green infrastructure measures may offer significant benefits from a climate change perspective, in the face of impacts like flooding and water shortages,” concludes Deborah Carlson.


Reslience, Resilience, Resilience

“Mainstreaming and working collaboratively across government departments are key components of climate adaptation strategies,” continues Cathy LeBlanc, MCSCD project lead.

“For local governments, adapting to climate change will mean starting with the projected impacts, then enhancing the resilience of their built, social, economic and natural environments. It also means managing risk, making sound capital investments, managing infrastructure costs, ensuring service continuity and reducing liability.”

“Deborah Carlson has provided BC’s local governments with a highly valuable source of information on adapting to climate change. This report is outstanding in its focus on the real challenges faced by communities and regions and practical approaches to these,” observes Erik Karlsen.

Erik Karlsen has had a distinguished career of public service in British Columbia. He is a professional land use planner with over 40 years experience in advisory through management level positions in federal, provincial, regional and local levels of government. A former Director of Regional Growth Strategies in the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs, he later served four years (2005 through 2009) as Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission.

“Local officials and staff will be able to augment local approaches with those from other communities in the province, providing residents with ‘show me’ examples of how to prepare for potential impacts from extreme weather conditions. Deborah Carlson’s frequent reference to resilience is noteworthy given the need to prepare for wide ranging impacts of unprecedented conditions.  This is a ‘must read’ for all staff with roles in preparing their communities and regions for climate change,” concludes Erik Karlsen.



To download a copy of this just-released guidance document, click on

Also, click on for predicted impacts.