Ward 13/14 Roundtable on Community Preparedness for Extreme Weather Events

Ward 13/14 Roundtable on Community Preparedness for Extreme Weather Events      January 14, 2017

Green 13 organized this inaugural meeting that took place Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Annette Library, to bring together representatives, by invitation, from as many stakeholder groups as possible here in Ward 13, as well as the west side of Ward 14 ( e.g. residents’ associations, condo reps, BIAs, faith communities, libraries, schools, health centres, recreation centres, Ward 13 Bikes, the police, and more, …) in order to connect and begin to build a network of preparedness for extreme weather events. Our goals: to introduce reps from community groups to leaders from government agencies and other supportive organizations; to help people identify the key preparedness issues we need to be ready for; and, to identify the path to building a preparedness plan for the community.

The following are two pieces of media coverage for our January 14 Roundtable:



Speakers included: our Councillor, Sarah Doucette; Sarah Thompson, the Office of Emergency Management; John Lieber, Urban Forestry; Daniel Smart and Magda Sulzycki, Toronto Hydro’s Grid Emergency Management Team; Sunny Kler, Red Cross;  Veronica Atanelli, Maureen Simpson and Anthony Blake, Ward 10’s Emergency Roundtable; Sheila Murray, CREW (Community Resilience to Extreme Weather); and mapmakers Jose Lao and Santessa Henriques, CREW, unveiled some very exciting and innovative mapping on which they have been working over many months,  "Story Map”, a Neighbourhood Resiliency Map of Wards 13/14.  You may access it directly here:
They welcome our feedback.

Following the morning's presentations, we held our community roundtable, during which each rep was in turn able to share the state of their group's preparedness, and discuss ways in which we can work together to enhance community resilience. Each rep was then asked to bring back to their group and vicinity awareness of materials presented on Jan. 14, notably:

news of the need for each household to prepare its 72 hour kit, and Go Bag. The Get Emergency Ready pamphlet which Sarah Thompson, Office of Emergency Management informed us about -  is available electronically at: http://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Office%20of%20Emergency%20Management/Files/pdf/O/A1605624%20GetEmergencyReadyGuideAccessible-v4.pdf
Sarah Thompson advises us that if you would like paper copies of the pamphlet, e.g. for distribution to your members, you are welcome to contact her at:
Sarah Thompson
Coordinator, Office of Emergency Management
416 392 6035

The high-rise version of the pamphlet is available in English: https://www1.toronto.ca/City%20Of%20Toronto/Office%20of%20Emergency%20Management/Files/pdf/O/OEM_HighRiseGuide.pdf
as well as in:
Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Farsi, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, and Urdu

There is also a poster available through Sarah Thompson.

news that there is an extreme weather portal that has been established by the City’s Energy and Environment Division:

as well as the portal established by the Office of Emergency Management:

and the CREW website (Community Resilience to Extreme Weather)

consider inviting a representative either from the Red Cross or the Office of Emergency Management to attend your group’s meeting to present information about the 72 hour kit and the Go bag. The speaker from Red Cross last Saturday was:

Sunny Kler
Coordinator, Toronto Region
Disaster Management

Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne
Ontario Zone
21 Randolph Ave|Toronto|M6P 4G4
T 416-480-2500 ext2514 |F 416-480-2777| C 416-788-6582
www.redcross.ca | www.croixrouge.ca

Otherwise, it might be possible to invite Sarah Thompson or another speaker from the Office of Emergency Management.

If your group would like a presentation on extreme weather events in Toronto, a member of Green 13 has permission to deliver a powerpoint presentation on this. Please contact: rita@green13toronto.org


In the course of the community roundtable, the following topics were identified for future information sessions. We are seeking volunteers to help organize these sessions. If you are able to assist, please contact rita@green13toronto.org  :

A. Storm water management
Besides the mapping  [ https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=178eea85c5db42729e8df18c7c8ccd48 ] shared at our Saturday Roundtable, and community events planned for 2017 (a Ward    13 Lost Rivers walk on April 22; a June 13 talk by Helen Mills on lost rivers in our area and RAINscapeTO ) it would be good to understand more about the Wet Weather Flow Master Plan, the TRCA, and     programs offered by the City such as the Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program (backwater valve, sump pump, foundation drain pipe severance and capping).

B. Presentation by Toronto Public Health on:
• public health and climate change (e.g. heat waves; insect-borne disease such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease…)
• new Ward Health Profiles (Ward 13, Ward 14)
• considerations around “vulnerability” (confidentiality…)

C. High-rise buildings
• special considerations, challenges with respect to extreme weather events
• best practices in condos
• best practices in high-rise apartment buildings

D. Long term resilience of buildings
• e.g. capacity to retain heat under conditions of extreme cold and power outages
• Sheena Sharp, Principal, Coolearth Architecture is graciously offering to present

E. Back up energy sources
• dos and don’ts
• generators (current City thinking about gas); locations in our area
• solar, other

F. HIRA (Hazard Identification Risk Assessment) for this area

G. Increasing connectedness of groups in our area
• socially - getting to know one another in advance of extreme weather events
• communication during extreme weather events (agreement on bulletin boards, location of land lines during power outages, charging stations for devices…)

H. Knowledge Map
• Separate and distinct from the Story Map: Wards 13 & 14 Resiliency Maps prepared by Jose A. Lao and Santessa Henriques
 is the Knowledge Map which is under development. It will show the people, organizations, social groups, businesses, political leaders, etc. who live and work in the ward. Visitors will be able to click on each     entry to learn more about the individual or organization, and also get contact details if they have been provided. The objective of the Knowledge Map is to show the existing and potential relationships in the     ward. Because social connectedness — Bonding, Bridging, and Linking — is an important aspect of community resiliency.
• Last Saturday some 14 groups signed on. To learn more about this Knowledge Map, or to be added to this map, please contact: sheila@crewtoronto.ca 
• Sheila also welcomes assistance in developing the Knowledge Map. Please contact:  sheila@crewtoronto.ca

I. Wellness Checks
• Red Cross has conducted such visits. Perhaps they can provide some guidance, as can Sheila Murray of CREW. Halyna Zalucky has offered to explore bringing together information on this.

J. Electrical stand pipe / mast
• current policy 

K. Steps in constructing a preparedness plan for extreme weather events for our community

L. Web platform for our Ward 13/14 Extreme Weather Preparedness network
It would be good to house information pertaining to our ward 13/14 extreme weather preparedness initiative on a web platform. If you have expertise and facility in this area, (You know who you are!), please contact rita@green13toronto.org

We thank all who presented, all who organized, and all who spent their Saturday morning coming together for this exhiliarating inaugural meeting. We look forward to continuing to work together to build preparedness for extreme weather events in our community.

Rita Bijons  
on behalf of Green 13 and CREW, Community Resilience to Extreme     Weather