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News Release

QUEST Unveils Key Lessons for Canadian Communities on Resilience

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Feb 5, 2020

Ottawa, Ontario – February 5, 2020 Today QUEST released two publications that unveil key lessons learned from the Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience initiative.

Municipalities and utilities are on the front lines when it comes to coping with the impacts of climate change. This initiative was a response to communities’ need to have relevant tools and an assessment process to adapt their energy system to climate hazards, reduce the risk associated with prolonged power outages, and respond to emergency situations in order to mitigate the social and economic costs of climate change to residents and businesses.

Over two years, QUEST worked with twelve Canadian municipalities, their utilities, and community stakeholders in four provinces through workshops, research, and mentoring. With a specific focus on energy, QUEST helped them to better incorporate climate data in their planning documents and process, map their vulnerabilities and strengths to specific climate hazards, and prioritize actions and solutions to address identified gaps.

The twelve Canadian municipalities that participated in the project are:

  • The City of Charlottetown, the City of Summerside, and the Town of Stratford in Prince Edward Island
  • City of the City of Campbellton,  the City of Saint John, the Town of Tracadie, and the Town of Woodstock in New Brunswick
  • The City of Dauphin and the Rural Municipality of Alexander in Manitoba
  • The Town of Cochrane, the Town of Devon, and the Town of Okotoks in Alberta

Participating municipalities received tailored recommendations with a focus on building resilient energy infrastructure, developing Community Energy Plans, and preparing for prolonged power outages. This helped municipalities inform the development and implementation of their climate adaptation plans and review of their emergency management plans.

This initiative also highlighted three key findings. First, while each community is unique and provincial energy landscapes diverse, participating municipalities and partnering energy utilities share common vulnerabilities such as energy infrastructure located in flood and wildfire prone areas, no back-up power on essential facilities, lack of incorporation of climate data and projection in land-use planning and asset management plans. Second, municipalities and energy utilities are aware of the importance of adapting to climate change and willing to act. Municipalities have already started to implement adaptation and resilience measures despite limited human and financial resources as well as limited access to sound and affordable expertise. Finally, the initiative confirmed the need for more collaboration between municipalities and utilities to improve energy resilience. 

QUEST has shaped the lessons learned from this on-the-ground work into a set of two resources for communities interested in starting or reviewing their climate adaptation and climate planning strategy and their emergency responses, with a specific lens on energy infrastructure. The two new publications include Building Community Resilience: Key Considerations and Lessons Learned from Twelve Canadian Communities and the Community Resilience Mini-Guide.

QUEST is dedicated to advance Smart Energy Communities in Canada. Adapting energy infrastructure to more extreme weather events and securing the continuation of energy services are key components of Smart Energy Communities.

This project is made possible by support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP) and Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change and Adaptation Program. FCM’s  MCIP helps communities to build sustainable and reliable services while tackling climate change and its effects. Learn more about MCIP

To learn more visit the project webpage or join the upcoming webinar where QUEST will present key insights from the Building Community Resilience report, on Thursday, February, 20th, 2020 at 12:30 PM AT / 11:30 AM EST / 9:30 AM MST​.
Register now.

Tonja Leach, Executive Director, QUEST

“The Municipalities and Utilities Partnering for Community Resilience Initiative has been instrumental in identifying how communities in Canada and their utilities can work better together and adapt energy infrastructure through end-use planning, asset planning, and emergency response during power outages. QUEST is proud to provide the Building Community Resilience Report to inform communities across Canada enabling them to become Smart Energy Communities.”

Daniel Hachey, Director General, Regional Municipality of Tracadie

“QUEST’s approach and support were definitely up to our expectations. The municipality was able to obtain relevant, realistic, achievable and measurable recommendations. The recommendations allow us to have the necessary tools for their implementation”

Samir Yammine, Manager of Asset and Energy Management, The City of Saint John, New Brunswick

“The project delivered by QUEST resulted in an increased knowledge and capacity building for staff and Council on the climate impacts in the community, including services provided by the City. It also increased the collaboration among the various departments and community stakeholders, and enabled the City to augment its Emergency Management Plans thanks to proposed recommendations.”

Mayor Stephanie Anglehart-Paulin, City of Campbellton, New Brunswick

“As a result of this project, the City has a greater understanding of what municipal infrastructure, facilities included, are the most vulnerable to various climate hazards. One of the biggest benefits of the project were the two workshops as we met and networked with various stakeholders from around the community, region, and province that offered their unique insights to identify our strengths and weaknesses in terms of resilience, and where we need to invest our future time and resource.”

Nancy Weigel, Corporate & Strategic Services Director/Deputy CAO, The Town of Okotoks, Alberta

“The recommendations from the two reports QUEST prepared will allow us to prioritize adaptation actions and will support our work on our Climate Action Plan. During the workshops, the benefits of getting multiple internal and external stakeholders in one room to identify and prioritize emergency management as part of climate adaptation were very valuable, and allowed us to identify overlaps in what we are doing in emergency management and what we need in climate adaptation.”

Mayor Ray Ralph, The Town of Devon, Alberta

“This project was efficiently delivered by QUEST. QUEST utilized its network to bring in great presenters during the two workshops. The workshops also allowed our internal and external stakeholders to provide feedback and learn during the engagement sessions. Thanks to the reports generated by QUEST we now have an understanding of where our strengths and weaknesses lie and how to better manage them in case of climate emergency.”

Dana Young, Manager Asset Management, Saint John Energy, New Brunswick

“QUEST has taken a representative group from Saint John, a City of great diversity both in people and in business, and gave us the opportunity to participate and make presentations in 2 workshops and contribute toward resilience recommendations. Through well-crafted workshops QUEST led and educated the group resulting in a city wide risk assessment and resilience plan with achievable resilience recommendations. Well done QUEST!“

Bob Ashley, CAO City of Summerside, Prince Edward Island

“The two workshops provided an opportunity to review all the services in the city through a climate hazard lense and identify those which are vulnerable and/or need attention. We also received great information from the community stakeholders who attended the workshop. The report from QUEST is extremely well done and has been integrated into our Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) documents.”

Ken Anthony, CAO, Town of Woodstock, New Brunswick

“We now have a clear idea of the impacts of climate change in our community and what needs to be done to improve the resilience of our infrastructure and services.”

Don Dowle, CAO Rural Municipality of Alexander, Manitoba

“This project has highlighted the importance of climate adaptation and raised community awareness on this issue. We now have a detailed assessment of our current state of resilience to climate hazards and a practical roadmap for the future.”

Mayor Steve Ogden, The Town of Stratford, Prince Edward Island

“We now have a concrete understanding of the impact of climate change in our community. The recommendations made by QUEST have helped us to focus on the finer points of all the where, what, and how to improve the Town energy resilience”.

Mayor Philip Brown, City of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

“The two workshops delivered by QUEST created an open platform for all relevant parties and improved communication with the electrical utility. We also identified vulnerable assets and increased our awareness of the connection between emergency management, energy infrastructure, and climate adaptation.”

Mayor Allen Dowhan, City of Dauphin, Manitoba

“The project raised awareness on the impacts increased extreme weather events have on our community’s infrastructure and services. For our decision-makers, it is important to understand these vulnerabilities and receive recommendations that build more resilience into our infrastructure and processes.”

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