Mansons Landing_Cortes Island_Credit Catriona Mallows

Report cover. Mansons Landing, Cortes Island. Credit: Catriona Mallows.

PICS is supporting efforts by local leaders on Vancouver Island and adjacent coastal communities to collectively plan for climate change, through new research and outreach initiatives.

The idea of a multi-community wide-scale plan to address climate change first gained ground with the launch of the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Climate Leadership Plan Steering Committee (VICC-CLP) in April 2019.

Since then, work undertaken by University of Victoria faculty and students, supported by PICS, has resulted in evidence-based research to support that process. 

Highlights Report and the Full Report of the Territorial Analysis and Survey of Local Government Priorities for Climate Action: Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities, were released in October 2020. 

Among other findings, the report shows that island and coastal communities are already experiencing the effects of climate change including wildfires, extreme rainfall, sea level rise, storm surges, extreme winds and droughts. It also identifies that almost all the region's municipalities and regional districts have identified climate change as a priority, yet none have adequate resources to address the issue.

The Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Region comprises 11 Regional Districts, 89 First Nations Reserves and Indian Government Districts, and 41 municipalities. It includes approximately 40,000 islands of vastly different sizes and around 67 inhabited major islands, the largest of which is Vancouver Island.

This research has informed the resulting VICC Climate Leadership Resilience Summit 2020 being held on November 6, 2020. In a media release, Victoria Mayor and VICC-CLP Co-Chair, Lisa Helps, explained how collective action offers a better chance of meeting current and future climate-related challenges.

"What the UVic research reveals is that rural and urban areas have more common challenges that we have differences. Climate change planning as a whole island and coastal region makes sense.”

“Local governments have to be properly resourced to deal with climate change,” said Nanaimo Councillor Ben Geselbracht, Summit Co-Organizer. “Through the collective voice of an island and coastal community plan we can help senior levels of government support us with what we need and effectively collaborate to leverage resources across our communities.”

The summit's attendees of 150 elected officials, staff, First Nations, and UVic researchers aim to create a list of 2030 goals for climate mitigation and adaptation for the region. 

VICC-CLP working with UVic plan to develop a 2030 Climate Leadership Plan to be presented to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities membership at their annual meeting in April 2021.

The PICS-supported UVic faculty, students and an intern working on this initiative include Kara Shaw, Director, Associate Professor, Environmental Studies; Tamara Krawchenko, Assistant Professor, Public Administration; Katya Rhodes, Assistant Professor, Public Administration; Astrid Brousselle, Director and Professor, Public Administration; Tara Ney, Associate Professor, Public Administration; Katherine Pearce, Environmental Studies (ES) Masters student; Catriona Mallows, ES Masters student and PICS intern; and Kimberly Harrison, geography undergraduate.

Russell Road washed out by flooding, Sunshine Coast 2019. Photo credit: Donna McMahon
Image from the report - Russell Road washed out by flooding, Sunshine Coast 2019. Photo credit: Donna McMahon