OSPE’s Letter to the Editor, Financial Post, on Green Infrastructure

OSPE was quoted in Terence Corcoran’s Financial Post article Why insurers keep hyping ‘climate risks’ that don’t materialize on October 17, 2018.

OSPE submitted the following Letter to the Editor of the Financial Post to clarify its views on green infrastructure:

 

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) advocates for effective policies by government to mitigate the impacts of climate change. OSPE maintains, alongside the Residential & Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario and the Ontario Sewer & Watermain Construction Association in our collective report Weathering the Storms: Municipalities Plead for Stormwater Infrastructure Funding, that a “blanket” approach cannot be used province-wide to plan, sustain or repair municipal assets such as stormwater infrastructure. The strategic implementation of green infrastructure requires a holistic view of not only watersheds but the complex existing urban infrastructure systems within them.

We believe engineers must have greater autonomy to provide expertise and oversight of natural, green, and grey infrastructure projects – all of which are needed in Ontario – in order to enhance their value, functionality and resiliency.

As a membership organization, OSPE allows engineers to share research, provide expertise, discuss data and collectively prepare recommendations for government. Our infrastructure task force notes that green infrastructure is worthwhile for watershed protection, reducing erosion and improving water quality stresses, while the main issues in Ontario’s cities are related to infrastructure capacity gaps where opportunities for wetland retrofits are limited.

OSPE is committed to collaborating with industry, academia and other stakeholder groups to solve Ontario’s problems with evidence-based, innovative solutions. We would like to provide an opportunity for our Infrastructure Task Force to meet with members of the insurance industry and organizations working in green infrastructure to share data and discuss research and analysis when it comes to dealing with flood issues in our province.

If you or your organization would like to participate in this type of working meeting in 2019, please comment below or contact advocacy@ospe.on.ca.

Learn more about OSPE’s Committees and Task Forces, and how you can get involved.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Robert Muir

    There are a lot of questions to explore on this. That includes whether insurance industry-funded reports accurately represent the viability of natural infrastructure for flood control – one study cites a very atypical setting that does not reflect the challenges and opportunities in most flood-prone urban areas. A review, including a quantitative assessment of of opportunities, is here: https://www.cityfloodmap.com/2018/10/wetlands-and-natural-infrastructure-for.html

    It suggests that opportunities are limited.

    The Financial Post article does not go into detail on many of the topics. This is a more fulsome exploration of green infrastructure costs, green infrastructure impacts to existing infrastructure, and extreme rainfall trends that could be explored with those in the insurance industry promoting green infrastructure as a cost effective, practical solution to address existing urban flooding:
    https://www.cityfloodmap.com/2018/10/media-identifies-gaps-in-insurance.html

  2. Sameer Dhalla

    Great initiative, I am looking forward to participating.

    Sameer Dhalla, P.Eng.
    Associate Director
    Engineering Services | Restoration and Infrastructure
    Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)

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