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Council takes next step in climate change response

Wednesday, July 20, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: Climate Change, Report, planning

Waimakariri District Council media release: 18th July 2022

The Waimakariri District Council adopted a Climate Change Scenario Technical Report at its July meeting. The report prepared by NIWA, is to inform Council’s climate change response in the Waimakariri District.

This report identified that weather patterns are expected to become more volatile. Annual average temperatures are expected to increase with more extreme warm temperatures, less frost days and less snow.

The warmer atmosphere will hold more moisture, so mean annual rainfall is predicted to increase, apart from in the higher-altitude areas to the west, but some of this increase will be in the form of more frequent heavy rainfall events.

The District is likely to experience more frequent and prolonged droughts due to increased temperatures and wind speeds, more flooding from rainfall events, and some changes in our coastal areas with sea level rise.

In late 2019 Council adopted a Climate Change Policy to ensure it was able to respond to climate change challenges appropriately and internal sustainable strategies were developed to ensure Council got its own house in order. The NIWA report now provides Council with a broader picture of the predicted effects of climate change at a District level. This will provide crucial information for future strategies and plans around climate change.

Since the last elections, Mayor Dan Gordon created a councillor held portfolio for Climate Change which is held by Councillor Niki Mealings. Cr Mealings says she is happy with the direction council is moving on the issue of climate change and the adoption of the NIWA report is a big step forward.

“Council is committed to being leaders in this space and working with mana whenua and the wider community to mitigate and adapt to climate change challenges. The recent appointment of Dr Lynda Murchison as Lead Advisor – Sustainable Development reflects Council’s commitment to further promote sustainable development.

“This is a topic that I think a lot of people can find really overwhelming, but I always say, no one can do everything, everyone can do something and nobody should do nothing.”

Council is currently refreshing its climate change forward work programme.  This includes carrying out a risk assessment to see what land and infrastructure is most at risk and working with the community to identify options for reducing this risk. This will form the basis of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.

Council will be calculating an emissions profile for the District, developing its own emissions reduction plan and encouraging residents, businesses and communities within the District to come on this journey with us. Other projects include transitioning more of Council’s vehicle fleet over time to electric vehicles, planting 25,000 plants this year in reserves to assist carbon sequestration, and investigating other opportunities for carbon sequestration on Council-owned land.