The local climate is changing. While much of the weather we see each day is very familiar, the extremes will slowly become more extreme. Overall the averages for temperatures and intensity of storms will increase. Summer drought will increase wildfire risk. Sea level will increase slowly and steadily (offset a very small amount by the land slowly rising in Colwood in response to tectonic plate movements).

Credit NOAA

We are fortunate that our local climate change means that, so far, we are getting more sunny summer days without the killing heat being experienced elsewhere. However there are already downsides that we must deal with. According to a detailed engineering study completed in 2015, the sewage lift station on the ocean side of Ocean Boulevard (in the building that includes the toilets) needs to be moved to higher ground soon unless we build a more secure wall to protect it. This is a result of both erosion and sea level rise. If a road is flooded for a time we can close it and reopen later. If the pump station is flooded we will get a sewage spill on our beach and possibly in the lagoon and also lose all the equipment in the pump station. We should not leave that to chance.

The City needs to plan for these new realities which involve change in ways that are not entirely predictable. This will require careful monitoring of many aspects of how our infrastructure is coping with the weather and where it might need strengthening or altering. Risk assessments will need to be done by experts at times but these sorts of expenditures must be carefully thought out as the City has limited budgets and will need to leave as much as possible for actually preventing problems. Needless to say, it is usually far cheaper to prevent a problem than it is to repair the damage afterwards.

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