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Working with regional county municipalities on their climate transition

Case Study: Thérèse-De Blainville RCM and Mirabel RCM-City

Supporting regional county municipalities in the climate transition

The Building Adaptive and Resilient Communities (BARC) program, created by ICLEI Canada, offers a comprehensive, collaborative approach to prepare for climate change. BARC empowers local governments to protect people, places and prosperity in their communities. More than 120 communities, including the Regional County Municipality (RCM) of Thérèse-De Blainville and the RCM City of Mirabel, use the framework, tools, and resources to guide their adaptation and resilience efforts.

The BARC approach can be used to support regional county municipalities in their climate transition, while taking into account the specific needs of each region and their local communities. It is possible to produce a complete climate plan following the BARC approach, including both adaptation and mitigation to climate change.

The challenge

As local governments, the RCM of Thérèse-De Blainville and the RCM City of Mirabel wanted to increase the resilience of their communities in the face of climate change. The two RCMs wanted to mobilize knowledge about the risks of climate change on their territory, and reflect on ways in which they could adapt to these risks. With the knowledge that climate change has a direct impact on the lifestyles of local populations, as well as on land-use planning, they joined forces to develop an adaptation plan. ICLEI Canada was chosen to support them in this process.

Our approach

The BARC participatory approach, which meets the criteria of the Guide d’élaboration d’un plan climat of the Quebec Ministry of the Environment, Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, was used. Using the BARC approach, we were able to work with stakeholders every step of the way to develop a plan.

A unique collaboration

The RCM and the City of Mirabel enlisted the help of a number of local stakeholders, including the many departments of the 8-town cohort (7 towns in the Thérèse-De Blainville RCM plus the City of Mirabel) such as urban planning and the environment, public works, parks and recreation, etc. Partner organizations were also mobilized including nature conservation organizations, the Union of Agricultural Producers, the Public Health Department, Hydro-Québec, economic development associations and many others. All workshops were carried out virtually between 2021 and 2023.

Main deliverables

  • Overview of the territory
  • Climate profile
  • Vulnerability and risk assessment
  • List of priority actions
  • Vision and objectives
  • Complete adaptation plan including an overview of the entire process

Lessons learned

Success is built at the speed needed to build trust between stakeholders. Various stakeholders were initially skeptical but were able to realize that the process was leading to tangible results rooted in their day-to-day operations. Working collaboratively to respond to the increasing challenges posed by climate change is possible; all it takes is time for stakeholders to understand their role and how they can contribute to solutions.

Supporting implementation

The RCM of Thérèse-De Blainville and the RCM City of Mirabel didn’t stop with once their plan was in place. Still supported by ICLEI Canada, they are planning the implementation of the adaptation plan’s actions. Detailed action sheets explaining how actions will be implemented locally are currently being finalized. Each city will decide which actions to implement based on their priorities, and how to carry them out within their respective territories.

“ICLEI Canada’s multi-stakeholder approach has given us a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on our population and how we can take action to maintain our citizens’ quality of life.”

— Amadou Ly, Ville de Mirabel

“We were able to go at our own pace and create momentum. At the outset, several stakeholders were questioning their role in the process. One thing led to another, and through a better understanding of the issues, we gained their support. By the end of the process, they were fully engaged. We came away from this project with teams inspired to take action!”

— Catherine Marcotty, Thérèse-De Blainville RCM

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