Windsor Ahead of Most in Climate Change Readiness

The author of a study on how well municipalities are prepared for climate change says Windsor is a leader.

The study looked at how well 63 Canadian cities had prepared for the effects of climate change, primarily flooding.

In the 2012 data used for the study, Windsor came about mid-pack, but major floods since then have made a big difference.

University of Waterloo Professor Jason Thistlethewaite says he's spokes with Windsor officials since and has found a major increase in readiness.

He says historic floods in back-to-back years triggered the change in attitude.

"The storms over the last few years that led to significant urban flooding in Windsor are really a case for us all to learn from across the country, how Windsor is adapting to those changes will no doubt provide lessons that other municipalities will adopt.  The flooding you see in Windsor is actually the big concern from a climate change perspective across the country"

He says the floods of 2016 and 2017 forced officials to re-think the preparedness of the infrastructure.

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Windsor City engineer Mark Winterton and Mayor Drew Dilkens with flood mitigation map, July 23, 2018 (by AM800's Peter Langille)

Thistlethewaite says Windsor found itself in a position of not being able to ignore the flood risk.

"It's seen the effects of flooding and climate change risk moreso than other communities in Canada, so it is taking it quite seriously in my conversations with city officials down there, both the city and the conservation authority"

Thistlethewaite says other municipalities will have to take the kind of action Windsor has or will find themselves in serious trouble when flooding happens.

He adds the study is aimed at waking up provincial and federal officials to the situation so better funding is made available to municipalities.

Individual homeowners also face significant risk and costs, with the average flood causing $40,000 damage.

--with files from Rusty Thomson--