Enhancing Ontario’s Rural Infrastructure Preparedness: Inter-Community Service Sharing in a Changing Climate
Climate change (CC) will exacerbate deterioration to existing infrastructure and increase replacement costs. Improved preparedness reduces risks and increases efficiency, readiness and coping capacity. To increase the preparedness of Ontario rural communities, this project develops CC-Prepared Inter-Community Service Sharing (ICSS) as an innovative strategy that expands cost-effective solutions within Ontario’s standardized Asset Management Planning (AMP) process. Overseen by a Project Advisory Board (PAB), it identifies a suite of best practice ICSS processes and principles and a range of factors and indicators that influence the uptake of ICSS as a viable and practical opportunity targeted to enhance rural infrastructure preparedness for CC. It utilizes a multimethod, interdisciplinary approach involving an environmental scan, interviews, a survey and case studies and develops an ICSS Toolkit consisting of reports, workbook, policy brief and media kit. Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) includes blogs, teleconferences, articles, presentations and a workshop.
For small rural Ontario communities, this study enhances management of CC impacts on infrastructure through the development of a CC-Prepared ICSS strategy, increasing anticipatory, collective actions that reduce dam age and increase efficiencies. It informs sound municipal/provincial level programs and policies about innovative ICSS that benefit rural communities through the identification of Ontario-wide trends, case study best practises and action-oriented recommendations.