FEDS PLEDGE CASH FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
City working to tight deadline and vying with rest of Canada for piece of the $2-billion pie
For Calgary, the federal government’s announcement Thursday of $2 billion to fortify communities against climate change-related disasters is a river of opportunity.
The money could be used for big-ticket items such as the Springbank dam or a new reservoir upstream on the Bow River. It’ll need to happen under a tight deadline, however, and amid fierce competition — city staff have until July 31 to submit initial applications for a piece of the fund, vying against the rest of Canada for the same parcel of federal cash.
“We don’t have a specific list,” said the City of Calgary’s director of infrastructure and resilience, Christine Arthurs, adding staff members have been assembling general plans for the money, which was signalled in the federal budget.
The new Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund is aimed at larger-scale plans with price tags of least $20 million. It can be used to upgrade older infrastructure, or new projects such as wetland restorations, wildfire barriers or levees.
The 10-year program is open to municipalities, provinces, First Nations, non-profits and other organizations across Canada.
The funds are likely to be in high demand, as the risks posed by climate change nationwide are many.
Many communities are also just starting to understand how climate change might leave them vulnerable, Arthurs said. With projects like the possible upstream reservoir on the Bow still in their infancy and the Springbank dam already the subject of provincial focus, the timing for some major initiatives may not line up with the July 31 deadline — though she said she hopes Calgary will have other chances to secure the funding down the line.
“It’s hard to come up with a plan today that may or may not be appropriate in 10 years,” she added. WWW.THESTAR.COM
A truck is submerged in water on a street near Elbow River in Calgary during flooding in June 2013. A new federal fund will pour $2 billion into projects aimed at mitigating similar disasters.