The Town of Okotoks has received a grant to help manage the effects of climate change events on our community.

Dawn Smith, Town of Okotoks sustainability coordinator, says the $14,500 grant will go towards a one-day workshop facilitated by the All One Sky Foundation with the eventual goal of  developing a follow-up action plan.

Smith says the focus will be on understanding climate change-related events, such as flooding and drought, that could affect our area and working towards developing policy to make sure local infrastructure is protected.

"What climate change resiliency planning is, is recognizing that our climate is becoming more variable with climate change and we're seeing more periods of flood, drought and extreme storms," she explains. "And how are we planning our infrastructure and our policy for the future, protecting our assets and making sure we've planned for events."

Smith says Okotoks was one of eight Alberta communities to receive the grant from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association's Municipal Climate Change Action Centre. She adds that the town will be contributing an additional $2,000.00 to the initiative.

"One of the most important things is first just to educate everybody on where we are with climate issues,"Smith says.  "Understanding what the forecasting is for our area, what kind of extreme events are we expecting to have more of, and then basically a gap analysis of where are we lacking from a resiliency perspective."

The All One Sky Foundation workshop will take place in December. Smith says that this is an important first step for the town as they work to develop policy on climate change resiliency and adaptation.

"This is the first introductory step we're taking into the world of climate change resiliency and adaptation," she says. "It's something we haven't really done before and it's something that's become a primary focus of most governments, specifically at the national and provincial levels, is making sure that we're starting to plan for these extreme events. As this is the first step, it will help inform future measures."

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