By Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – The Ridgetown Independent News
Your voice matters.
Residents of Chatham-Kent can now have their say on the priorities of the municipality’s climate change plan by filling out an online survey.
In this first of two surveys, participants will have the opportunity to share their views on what the municipality should prioritize and focus on regarding energy use, flooding, heatwaves and other issues related to climate change.
“This input will help to determine which issues related to climate change are most important to our residents and businesses and will lay the foundation for developing a good plan that addresses local priorities and creates local benefits for our residents and businesses,” said Gabriel Clarke, Manager Growth & Sustainability for the Municipality.
The second survey is planned for the spring and will ask residents which actions should be taken based on the priorities identified in the first survey.
The Climate Change Action Plan is being developed in response to Council’s climate emergency declaration issued in 2019. The plan creation process was started in late 2019 but halted in early 2020 due to the pandemic.
“The decision to use an online engagement process will enable our community to give valuable feedback and avoid further delays that may arise,” said Ryan Jacques – Director of Planning Services for Chatham Kent.
As part of the information-gathering phase of the project, a local climate analysis was recently completed. The climate analysis found Chatham-Kent’s climate has become “hotter, wetter and wilder” over the past several decades, and this trend is expected to continue. This brings on a greater chance of hea waves, flooding, erosion and extreme weather. Another report found transportation and heating and cooling buildings make up most of the local energy use.
“The survey focuses on local issues that have a real impact on our residents and businesses. This survey allows people to share what they feel is most important now so that we can consider what the municipality and our partners might do to respond to these priorities. The community’s input is a key part of this process.” said Bruce McAllister – General Manager, Community Development for the Municipality.
Residents wanting to complete the survey who are without access to a computer or the internet are invited to their local Chatham-Kent Public Library branch to use a public access computer or connect their device to the free public Wi-Fi network.