The town of New Glasgow is expecting to begin interviews this week in the job search to hire a climate change specialist, thanks to federal funding to support the municipality in its endeavour.
“I think we all have to acknowledge that climate change is real and a serious threat,” said Central Nova MP Sean Fraser during an announcement at Glasgow Square Theatre.
Already Canadians are feeling the effects of climate change he said with New Brunswick suffering severe flooding, Ontario and Quebec being hit with extreme heat waves and forest fires in various parts of the country. And here in Nova Scotia, the risk of storm surges is predicted to quadruple over the next 20 years.
“It’s having very serious environmental consequences but also social and economic consequences as well,” Fraser said.
But he believes there are solutions.
“I feel sometimes we’re guilty of using an apocalyptic type tone when it comes to climate change when in fact we know there are solutions that exist and we only have to summon the political will to implement them.”
That’s why he believes this action to hire a climate change specialist in New Glasgow is a great initiative.
New Glasgow is one of three projects in Nova Scotia to receive $121,600 through the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program Funding.
New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks expressed the town’s gratitude for the federal support.
“Planning for the future sustainability of our town without a focus on the environment and climate change is no longer an option for us,” she said.
New Glasgow is already part of the Partners for Climate Protection program which is a network of Canadian municipal governments that have committed to reducing greenhouse gases and to acting on climate change.
“Municipal infrastructure is critical for the health and safety of our citizens,” Dicks said. “Through this funding we will be updating the municipal climate adaptation plan and working to ensure infrastructure and assets are resistant.
Town engineer Earl MacKenzie said he hopes to have someone in the position by the third week of July. Once hired the person will start by looking at the current carbon footprint for the town and ways to reduce greenhouse gasses such as using solar panels. Then the goal is to have them look at infrastructure aspects such as pipe sizes and culverts necessary to deal with severe weather events.
“We’ll have a good baseline plan to follow up that with the engineering side,” he said.
The federal funding will cover 80 per cent of the cost for the new position.