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Niagara Falls
Thursday, September 28, 2023
NOTL residents needed for climate change survey

Brock University is inviting Niagara-on-the-Lake residents to take part in a research survey on how climate change has affected their lives, both on a household and municipal level.

The survey is a part of a region-wide project called Niagara Adapts. The project, launched by Brock in partnership with seven regional municipalities, including NOTL, aims to help munipalities tackle problems and reduce risks caused by climate change.

The two-year project is expected to develop adaptation plans for each community, and to help increase climate awareness throughout Niagara.

“One of the best practices in terms of planning for climate change (adaptation) is doing it in partnership with people who live in the places where we’re working,” said Brock Research Centre associate professor Jessica Blythe.

Other participating municipalities include Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Grimsby, Pelham, Welland and Lincoln.

“The survey is designed to (help us) understand what kinds of climate change impact people are experiencing, so we ask questions such as: Have you experienced flooding in your house? Have you experienced extreme weather conditions that have created negative impacts?” Blythe said in a phone interview.

Earlier this spring, NOTL saw record-high water levels in Lake Ontario, which caused significant flooding in the Dock Area. Other area municipalities have also experienced flooding problems.

Experts, such as Mike McKay from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor and Rob Caldwell of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, say the cause is climate change.

The Brock survey covers “small household level” questions, such as whether residents have a sump pump and household flood insurance, to more broad municipal-scale questions, Blythe said.

The research team is at 20 per cent of its target goal, she said, adding the team hopes to receive about 100 survey responses from each community. Since it is so close to the wate,rNOTL is one of the municipalities that needs more survey participants, she said.

“It’s genuinely important to us that people have a say in what we’re doing. We’re looking for as much contribution from people as we can get so they can feel their plan is representative of their interests,” Blythe told The Lake Report. “That’s one of the priorities.”

The partnership will be officially launched at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 27, with a free screening of the climate change documentary “Resilience: Transforming our Community.” After the show, Blythe will hold a discussion with representatives from each of the seven municipalities. The event starts at 7 p.m.

The survey, for residents 18 years old and up, is available online until mid-December. The survey can be found at brock.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_09tlAxAlsJAJhVb.

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