An irrigation gun being used to fight a fire in North Oyster June 29.

An irrigation gun being used to fight a fire in North Oyster June 29.

Collaboration helps neighbourhoods adapt to the reality of climate change

Four neighbourhoods in the Cowichan Valley will become proving grounds for community responses to the realities of climate change.

Four neighbourhoods in the Cowichan Valley will become proving grounds for community responses to the realities of climate change.

The Cowichan Climate Change Collaboration is surveying a list of 10 identified neighbourhoods to zero in on, four will be selected through the survey for a program that will help them adapt to climate change.

The survey will gauge local knowledge around the issue of climate change. It will help determine “that the majority of residents in the neighbourhood are willing to participate,” Project Coordinator Candace Charlie said.

“Those neighbourhoods with a majority of residents showing interest, will then be offered the chance to undertake a climate change adaptation project supported with our collaboration.”

A long list of community organizations, including the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Green Community, are participating.

“This is a great project because it allows them to be on the receiving end of information they normally wouldn’t have gotten,” Charlie said. It will help governments and organizations determine if their messages about climate change are getting out.

A ‘particular focus’ of the initiative will be ‘the most vulnerable residents in our community,’ a Collaboration media release states. As the effects of climate change take hold people in the Cowichan Valley will face increased risks of forest fires, drought, and rising food costs, Charlie pointed out.

“We all sort of acknowledge that it’s already starting to happen,” she said. “We would like to see some sort of drought adaptation.” Things like rain barrel catchments, and drought resistant community gardens will be considered.

Hands on support will be part of the program. “Likely it will be us on the ground to help with the projects,” Charlie said.

Projects in selected communities are expected to get underway in the fall.