Climate Adaptation

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North Cowichan is launching a process to make its plans, operations, and infrastructure more resilient to climate hazards. We are developing a Climate Adaptation Strategy that will help North Cowichan respond to the effects of extreme weather on our local infrastructure, natural environment, economy, and community well-being.

Extreme weather events are increasing in intensity and frequency in our region. North Cowichan has a diverse geography, including over 40 kilometers of coastline, rivers, creeks and lakes, and a mix of rural and urban lands. The first phase of this project will identify the existing risks and vulnerabilities in our boundaries, through a ‘risk and vulnerability assessment.’

This project will build off recent work completed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District. North Cowichan’s Climate Adaptation Strategy will dive into our local context and develop actions related to our municipal operations that will address local risks and identify opportunities to enhance community preparedness.


Project Update

Thank you to all who participated in the survey and asked questions regarding the project. Feedback heard during engagement was presented to Council as part of a ‘What We Heard’ report.

  • Watch or Read: October 10, 2023 Report to Committee of the Whole and supporting documents (engagement summary)

Here is the 'Phase 2 Summary Report' to Council that summarizes the findings from the risk and vulnerability assessment.

  • Watch or Read: January 9, 2024 Report to Committee of the Whole and supporting documents (risk and vulnerability assessment summary)


North Cowichan is launching a process to make its plans, operations, and infrastructure more resilient to climate hazards. We are developing a Climate Adaptation Strategy that will help North Cowichan respond to the effects of extreme weather on our local infrastructure, natural environment, economy, and community well-being.

Extreme weather events are increasing in intensity and frequency in our region. North Cowichan has a diverse geography, including over 40 kilometers of coastline, rivers, creeks and lakes, and a mix of rural and urban lands. The first phase of this project will identify the existing risks and vulnerabilities in our boundaries, through a ‘risk and vulnerability assessment.’

This project will build off recent work completed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District. North Cowichan’s Climate Adaptation Strategy will dive into our local context and develop actions related to our municipal operations that will address local risks and identify opportunities to enhance community preparedness.


Project Update

Thank you to all who participated in the survey and asked questions regarding the project. Feedback heard during engagement was presented to Council as part of a ‘What We Heard’ report.

  • Watch or Read: October 10, 2023 Report to Committee of the Whole and supporting documents (engagement summary)

Here is the 'Phase 2 Summary Report' to Council that summarizes the findings from the risk and vulnerability assessment.

  • Watch or Read: January 9, 2024 Report to Committee of the Whole and supporting documents (risk and vulnerability assessment summary)


Do you have a question about the Climate Adaptation project?

Ask your question here (questions will be answered in 3-4 business days).

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    Does North Cowichan have a policy on naturalized/drought resistant lawns? I’m interested in rewilding my lawn with native, pollinator-friendly, drought resistant plants but I’m concerned that this may be against North Cowichan’s bylaws (which seem somewhat vague). I plan to keep invasive species and noxious weeds under control but hope to let the native plants grow out, to an reasonable extent. Is it likely that this will get my home flagged as a nuisance property if this is done intentionally? Is there a more detailed policy, or better, a set of guidelines for doing this? Thank you for taking the climate crisis seriously!

    chickadee asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your interest in this project! We encourage residents to plant drought resistant, native species to conserve water. Allowing native plants to flourish on your property is also beneficial for biodiversity and water conservation. As long as the plants are not invasive, interfering with any surrounding infrastructure or disrupting neighbouring properties, these plants wouldn’t make your property a “nuisance property”. For more information on drought tolerant plantings, please visit https://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/environmental-services/native-plants/Native_Drought_Tolerant_Gardening.html

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    Given the increasing fire risks what is the Municipality’s plan regarding mitigating these risks particularly in residential areas. Is there a plan to assess dead trees and use selective logging. Do the current bylaws allow for flexibility to log even in riparian zones if the risk is high- also with soil erosion thru ground water levels decreasing, more trees will fall as witnessed recently in the Chemainus area. The Municipality will need to adapt to the changes by changing current bylaws

    Charlie asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your questions. The Municipality of North Cowichan analyzed its wildfire risk in the 2020 Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The Wildfire Mitigation Project was launched in 2021 to respond to several of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan’s recommendations. This work will support wildfire resilience through a variety of strategies to proactively reduce wildfire risk in North Cowichan. For more information, please visit https://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/forestry/wildfire-mitigation-project.html.

    The removal or modification of hazardous trees within riparian areas is regulated by the Provincial Riparian Areas Protection Regulation (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/fish/aquatic-habitat-management/riparian-areas-regulation) as well as the Municipalities Development Permit Guidelines. Exemptions for the removal and modification of hazardous trees do exist, but are subject to certain conditions that are project specific. 

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    Given the continued wildfire seasons that are on the increase does the Municipality have a plan to install Air Quality monitors in the region so residents can make educated decisions regarding activities and increase awareness regarding air quality

    Charlie asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for showing interest in this project. The provincial government has air quality monitoring stations located throughout the island. To view daily air quality for North Cowichan, please visit https://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html

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    Air quality is life essential and important to everyone. Even with some clear bylaws there continues to be open burning in rural and more urban areas with little or no consequence for people who continue flaunt the guidelines- when is the municipality going to take the matter more seriously

    Charlie asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for your interest in the Climate Adaptation project. North Cowichan's air quality meets provincial guidelines. Occasionally there are exceedances of the guidelines for particulate matter from wildfire events in the summer, for more information please visit www.northcowicha.ca/airquality. If you’d like to report a bylaw violation, please visit https://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/bylaw/report-a-bylaw-violation.html

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    North Cowichan depends on aquifers for much of its water supply. Given the state of perpetual water supply deficit, are the aquifer system levels dropping on an annual basis? If so, how can North Cowichan justify approval of some of the major housing projects under consideration? Is the water for these projects magically going to appear somehow? Are future residential developments going to prohibit lawns, or require grey water recovery? Larry White.

    lrwhite asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your interest in this project. North Cowichan’s three water systems predominantly rely on aquifers for their water supply and our aquifers are healthy. For more information about North Cowichan's water system, please visit www.northcowichan.ca/water.

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    Are there plans to build upstream catchment facilities for “rainy season” retention of rainfall?

    Bruce Clarke asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for showing interest in this project. North Cowichan currently regulates discharge from 3 different reservoirs which collect water during our rainy season.

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    Why is it OK to water golf courses, school grounds and grave yards

    DoubleD asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for your interest in water restrictions. As part of North Cowichan’s ongoing response to the  climate crisis, we are continually reviewing our municipal plans, operations and infrastructure to be more resilient to climate hazards and we appreciate your question for opportunities to address this.

    Golf courses in North Cowichan are not connected to municipal water for the purposes of irrigation. Golf courses have their own private wells and/or ponds that they use for irrigation. The wells are licensed and regulated by the Province.

    North Cowichan's community spaces are for all residents to enjoy and lack of watering can cause significant financial impacts. School and municipal playing fields are often sand-based and require regular watering. For that reason, they are exempt from sprinkling regulations, with reduced watering and other conservation methods.  

    North Cowichan’s Parks department is currently reducing and eliminating irrigation to turf where possible and transitioning to drip irrigation with respect to water restriction stages and installing tree watering bags where necessary to protect much needed shade trees and trees planted within the last three years.

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    What did the district base the claim that we are in a "Climate Crisis" on? From what I can see it was a single report by a foreign group. The very premise that we even need a "Climate Action Project" is highly questionable and appears to be little more than lip service to a UN agenda. You are asking the good people of North Cowichan to accept as fact an assertion that has no scientific backing. Before you even think of forcing "Environmental Policies" on the people of North Cowichan, you have a legal and moral responsibility to use verifiable fact to base policies on, not the dictates of an international body that has no authority here. You need to engage in discussion with the community around this entire claim that you need to waste this money on a globalist agenda. This is not just the ravings of "some nut job", the concerns I raise here are held by a lot of people in North Cowichan and your council is point blank refusing to even discuss the matter. This is not acceptable by public servants and you need to engage with us and do what we, your employers want, not some shadowy international body of highly dubious ethical standing. Local concern is that you are pushing a nonsense agenda that benefits not the people of North Cowichan and I dare you to debate the issue. I definitely require some response to my concern. Sincerely Paul O'Rorke

    thefarcanalian asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your input in regard to this project. North Cowichan's Council discussed and acknowledged that there's a climate emergency on July 17, 2019


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    Is North Cowichan going to adopt NZEV Bylaw 24.06 of the BC Transportation Act?

    dave.haberman asked 7 months ago

    Thank you for your question. North Cowichan is in the process of developing a Master Transportation Plan (MTP). Pending Council endorsement of the Plan, the MTP report recommends additional study to determine the appropriateness of NZEVs for North Cowichan.

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    What is the municipality doing to accelerate the conclusion of the Forestry Review, so that our forest practices can be updated to reduce fire risk and improve multi-use of Mt Prevost and Mt Sicker, and enhance biodiversity?

    crowther asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for your question. Municipal staff continue to engage with the Quw’utsun Nation about the Municipal Forestry Review, respecting the commitments made in the signed Memorandum of Understanding. While engagement with the Quw’utsun Nation is on-going, staff continue to work with the UBC Partnership Group who will present the final draft scenarios to Council for decision which is anticipated to take place in the fall of 2023.

Page last updated: 08 Jan 2024, 12:59 PM