ACT Release: September 30, 2008

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2008

Simon Fraser University Presents Extreme Events: Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change  Leading-edge conferences inform local infrastructure recommendations

Surrey, BC – Two major conferences addressing the impact of climate change on infrastructure and development and possible responses will be held in Surrey in mid-October as part of an innovative series from Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT).

On October 16th, ACT partners with the Surrey Board of Trade on a business luncheon and public panel discussion for leaders in the development and real estate sectors, at Surrey’s Compass Point Inn. On October 17th, Dr. Gordon McBean, Policy Chair for Ontario’s Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and policy author for ACT’s Extreme Events session, chairs an interdisciplinary gathering of experts, infrastructure practitioners and policy-makers at SFU Surrey.

“We are pleased to bring together practitioners and experts working on infrastructure and climate change issues from across Canada,” explains ACT Program Director Deborah Harford. “This is a clear opportunity for those involved in the development, construction, infrastructure management, and real estate sectors to learn from each other, and contribute to the policy recommendations ACT will release on adaptation to climate impacts in early 2009.”

On October 16th, from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, a four-person expert panel will discuss threats to infrastructure posed by climate change, current standards, and possible responses. Speakers include Graham Whitmarsh, Head of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat; Dr. McBean; Aubrey Kelly, VP Construction and Development, Weststone Properties and real estate investment expert Chris Corps, Principal of Asset Strategics. Members of the public, senior industry leaders, local development and real estate decision-makers will have the opportunity to attend and ask questions following the presentations.

A free public dialogue follows from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at SFU Surrey, featuring presentations from Dr. McBean; the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Canada on a pilot sealevel rise study done for Delta; Engineers Canada on infrastructure vulnerability; and a representative from Delta talking about responses to the ICLEI study.

“With extreme weather events becoming more and more of a reality, this conference presents a crucial discussion opportunity for leaders in the development community. Our ultimate goal is to create models for infrastructure and development that take sustainability and adaptation measures into account,” says Dr. McBean.

The October 17th SFU Surrey conference will connect theory with practice, as local, provincial and federal government representatives meet with researchers, development practitioners, NGOs and government representatives from 8:00 am until 3:45 pm. Speakers include:

• Sarah Burch, PhD candidate, UBC Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability
• Erik Sparling, Canadian Standards Association
• Cameron Ells, Principal, Cameron Consulting Inc.
• Chris Corps, Principal, Asset Strategics

Together, the October 16th and 17th conferences constitute Extreme Events: Adapting Infrastructure to Climate Change – the second of three conference events in ACT’s six month-long Extreme Events session. Next up is International Climate Impacts and Responses, a large-scale public event scheduled for November 20/21 at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, featuring speakers from Africa, India, Australia, South America and the Arctic presenting on climate challenges in their countries, followed by a one-day conference on climate impacts and public safety. Extreme Events is the second of ten ACT six-month sessions addressing the impacts of climate change.

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About ACT

SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) is an initiative that aims to help government, industry and communities develop sustainable responses to climate change. The five-year program hosts a series of ten sessions in which a cross-section of thought leaders from industry, academia, government, communities, NGOs and First Nations from across Canada and around the world come together to examine climate change, its impacts on communities and industry, and viable policy options. Session topics include extreme events, ecosystem shifts, health risks, fresh water supply, crop and food adaptation, energy production and distribution, new technologies, sea level rise, displaced populations, and linkages between these issues.

Notes to editors:

** As noted, the October 16th events are open to the public. To register for the SBOT event, email info@businessinsurrey.com, attention Heather Scragg. Admission is $48.

For more information or media interviews with Dr. Gordon McBean or ACT Program Director Deborah Harford:

Almira Bardai
AVID Communications Inc
Tel: 604-561-7516
Email: almira@avidcommunciations.ca

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