JOE LEBOUTHILLIER The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: At Scugog council's meeting on April 14, the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change (DRRCC) expressed their concerns about extreme weather.
Manager of Sustainability, Brian Kelly, and a fellow DRRCC member Todd Hall, presented to councillors the research they received from SENES, a specialized consulting firm based in Richmond Hill.
Their presentation to council noted that over the next 40 years, weather will become extreme and the people of North Durham need to be "prepared, protected and safeguarded" along with the surrounding infrastructure.
"There will be less snow and more rain in the future winter seasons," Kelly said. The DRRCC's presentation also showed a rainstorm in August 2040 to 2049 will produce 79 per cent more than received in August 2000 to 2009.
Extreme wind in the immediate areas will decrease by almost 20 kilometres per hour. As well, temperatures will get warmer in the winter months by about four degrees.
Between 2000 and 2009, average days per year with the humidex being above 40 degrees sat at three days. In the SENES report, it shows that number will grow to 24 days by 2040.
A projected 20 to 40 millimetres of more rain will fall in August and about 15 centimetres less snow will fall during the winter months. This is potentially dangerous for residents near lakes, as it will increase the chances of flooding.
Along with those stats, between 2040 and 2049 there will be around 1,100 more days of the year where the temperature will be above freezing. As for days below that and require heating, there will be almost 500 days less.
Local residents who use air conditioners in the weather above 24 degrees saw 12 days per year between 2000 and 2009. However, come 2040 there will be about 90 days per year that will require AC.
In 40 years-time, North Durham is expected to receive 217 per cent more rainfall and 75 per cent less snowfall in the month of February alone.
"The hardest issue that we have is that these stats are a long-way off," said Scugog Mayor Chuck Mercier. "It's hard to see it as immediate."
The councillors are unsure of what to do with no climate change price tags readily available.
"If we look at completing a plan early and paying attention to these numbers, we can potentially save money by extending the life of infrastructure by building it appropriately," said Hall. That being said, Kelly says they will not know exact costs until the municipality can provide them with volunteers.
"We need to really plan our next step," said Ward 5 Councillor Howard Danson. "I'm not sure if we have the money to plan for an event that may happen in the future, it seems like a luxury to pay for maybes."
The DRRCC wants a decision made before the municipal election this fall.
Councillors asked for more information, and the DRRCC gladly agreed to go out and talk to more experts on climate change.
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