What is AdaptSJ?

Climate Change presents Saint John with generational challenges which will require our communities to question their established structures and ways of knowing. Working collaboratively to adapt to Climate Change, therefore, presents unique and exciting opportunities for the City to not only improve the quality of life for its residents but to build a growing community of resourceful and compassionate global citizens.

In order to become resilient to the effects of Climate Change our community's residents, ecosystems, businesses and systems must be able to survive, adapt and thrive despite the stresses and shocks caused by its impacts. Accomplishing this requires supporting and fostering an environment where residents of Saint John are well-connected to their neighbours and have social support systems in times of need. It will require physical environments, such as wetlands and urban forests, that help provide shade and passive cooling opportunities in the Summer and that reduce the impact of extreme cold in the Winter. It will require stormwater infrastructure that can handle larger storm events, and will require water resources which meet the timing and flow demands of humans and natural systems alike. It will require energy systems that can efficiently handle periods of high demand and buildings that rely less on energy sources such as electricity, oil, and natural gas. It will require affordable transportation systems that function throughout extreme weather events, and it will require land use capable of accommodating population shifts due to climate migration.

That is why ACAP Saint John has initiated AdaptSJ, a process where we will investigate, test and implement ways that climate adaptation can help our city meet its basic development needs, build equitable and vibrant neighbourhoods, and become the resilient, thriving community we all know it can be.

ACAP Saint John’s team is committed to providing Saint John with the best available science and social policy, and to integrate the thoughts and ideas of the community, all of which come together to guide our plan forward. Because at its heart, ACAP has always been an environmental incubator, one that transforms and evolves our region’s landscapes with the help of governments, companies and community collaborators. Our work is designed to be seen, felt and experienced throughout the environment – from our wetlands and coastlines to our streets and public spaces.

How Will The Process Work?

As one of Canada’s oldest municipalities, Saint John is challenged by ongoing social and environmental inequity whereby areas with the most severe poverty rates in Canada are also those in closest proximity to highly vulnerable coastal areas as well as both the region's commercial core and Atlantic Canada’s industrial heartland. In response to these challenges, ACAP Saint John has built upon its role as a leading environmental incubator in Atlantic Canada to secure support from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to develop a design-focused Climate Change Adaptation Study for three central neighbourhoods in Saint John.

In collaboration with the City of Saint John, and through support from New Brunswick’s Climate Change Secretariat, ACAP Saint John will also be developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the city. We will do so by incorporating Climate Change adaptation strategies for stormwater management while identifying, assessing and mapping risks and vulnerabilities in the city, and developing adaptation methods to increase resiliency throughout Saint John. The project will provide a robust understanding of climate change related issues for adapting our region and direct both the City of Saint John and ACAP Saint John in on-the-ground adaptation actions and capital investments.

Project findings will be included in revised editions of the municipal plan and will influence the future growth of city neighbourhoods in new developments and neighbourhood dialogue. In-person discussions and community sessions hosted by both ACAP and the City of Saint John will be the primary means of community engagement and consultation, while ACAP will continue to engage citizens with best practices for stormwater management and community placemaking projects through its well-established social media networks and local media outlets. Guides to building retrofits, rain-gardens and the value of green infrastructure will also be made available via printed and online materials.

Our future well-being depends on the resilience of our communities, cities and ecosystems, and resilience provides a critical point of integration for adaptation and mitigation strategies.

AdaptSJ will present its final Adaptation Plan for adoption in the Spring of 2020.