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Climate compact well received by council
October 8, 2019

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If all the municipalities and government agencies get together and speak with one voice their concerns about climate change, then maybe something will get done.

That was what Michael Savarese, an FGCU professor with the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences, told the Cape Coral City Council Monday at its regular meeting at City Hall.

Savarese introduced the idea of a Climate Change and Resiliency Compact to the council, which was well received, and has been tried with success in other areas in the state and even the nation, particularly in coastal areas.

There are three such collaboratives in Florida currently, with the Southeast Florida Regional Compact for Climate Change in operation for a decade.

Climate compacts are regional networks united by common problems best solved through local leadership and shared resources and information, thus making it more efficient and less expensive.

Savarese said this particular compact would be an "agreement to cooperate" and would address improved resilience for sea-level rise, storminess, increased precipitation and rising temperatures. The hope is to increase public support and political will for action.

City Council was receptive. Councilmember Jennifer Nelson said that while she was unsure about the time commitment, she liked that major climate issues, many of which will impact Cape Coral in the coming decades, will be addressed.

"Our city is growing. I want to see this and lean toward supporting it. A regional voice would be stronger," Nelson said.

"We need to get a grip on this as a country. The storms are getting worse, the droughts getting longer and it's affecting the weather. I'm excited about this," Councilmember Rick Williams said.

Savarese said the compact groups are finalizing a mission of understanding, which will be workshopped and considered in each of the 14 jurisdictions in the Southwest Florida region.

Savarese said the reaction was very positive.

"It's clear that the people who were outspoken are supportive and the mayor seems excited by this. The city already is ahead of the curve as there are some cities that haven't considered this at all," Savarese said.

In other business, City Council approved an ordinance on an amendment to the Sandoval development that would allow for an 11,600-square-foot private clubhouse to replace the old one, as it has been deemed too small for a community this size. Also proposed are 62 new parking spaces.

The council also approved by a 7-0 margin a resolution for hardship deferrals of special and legacy assessments and fees.

Szerlag also recognized the Human Resources Department for being selected by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) for the 2019 Agency Award of Excellence.

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