Feds give money to cities to prepare for what climate change may bring

on .

Councillor says Ottawa's share of the $125 million in funding could go towards green city vehicles or retrofitting buildings.

By Ryan Tumilty, Metro

The federal government announced funding Thursday to help municipalities deal with rising flood waters, higher fuel costs and an increased risk of forest fires.

Split between two programs that will both be managed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the $125 million is meant to help municipalities do flood mapping and mitigation and to find ways to reduce green house gas emissions in their fleets.

“By enabling municipalities to plan, build and maintain their infrastructure most strategically, communities will be better positioned to make their infrastructure dollars go further with a lighter environmental footprint,” Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in announcing the funding.

Many Canadian big cities have started work on these kinds of programs, but Sohi said that some are further ahead than others and that this funding will help municipalities match their peers.  

FCM president Clark Somerville said municipalities manage most of the country’s infrastructure and they will have to deal with adapting it to a changing climate.

“They are also on the frontlines of climate change and must cope with increasingly extreme weather from floods to droughts to heavy rains and ice storms.” 

Ottawa Coun. David Chernushenko said there is a lot the city could use this new funding for.

“We’re particularly well placed with, if not detailed plans, than a strong list of priorities,” he said.

He noted the city has a climate-change strategy, with work already underway on renewable energy.

“Nobody wants us to suddenly just make things up because there is money being dangled.”

He said this funding could help move plans for replacing the city’s fleet with greener vehicles or adding more renewable power to buildings.

“Money like this could help to do that earlier and begin reaping those benefits.”