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All Hands In
Mitigate & Adapt: Climate Migration

"Erie County will need to work with local government and community partners to assure that we are prepared for and welcoming to climate immigrants and refugees while also minimizing impacts to existing residents."

(Erie County Climate Vulnerability Assessment, Draft of Climate Hazards Summary Report August 16, 2020)

Erie County-

As stated in their Climate Vulnerability Assessment, Erie County has less vulnerability and more nature-based resiliency than many places.  Erie County encourages all local municipalities to prepare for climate-related immigrants and refugees as drought, sea level rise, and other threats dislocate populations within the United States and around the world.  "A large future influx of climate immigrants and refugees has the potential to create complex problems that could be strategically alleviated with more intentional plans and programs now."  Population increases can result in increased housing costs, increased development pressures, and the displacement of existing low and moderate-income residents.

The Town of Aurora-

As a suburb in close proximity to the City of Buffalo, we can expect that some of this predicted migration will drift to the Town of Aurora and Village of East Aurora.  Taking steps today can make it easier to welcome climate migrants in the future.  This underscores the need for a comprehensive plan to ensure that the rural character of our communities are preserved while also providing for:

  • Managed growth

  • Sustainable, affordable housing to guard against gentrification

  • Pedestrian-friendly and alternative forms of transportation

  • Preparing for anticipated impacts on infrastructure and traffic flow 

  • Planning for the climate impacts that will still occur 

  • Continuing to promote and support municipal and community-wide renewable energy


Comprehensive Planning-

The Town of Aurora Board has committed to the process of developing a new comprehensive plan. In addition to allocating town funds for this purpose, the Town of Aurora recently also received a Smart Growth Community Planning Grant from Erie County. 

West Falls is a key area of development in the new comprehensive plan, and the Town Board hopes to create a more walkable/bikable neighborhood, ensure affordable housing, and improve green infrastructure through their visionary West Falls Forward Grant Application. The Town Board also updated its zoning laws to preserve the character of the West Falls community. Among other things, the Town Board created a West Falls Hamlet Overlay with design standards to specifically target this part of the town and encourage redevelopment of existing buildings and preserve the unique characteristics of the hamlet.

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Social Supports-

Social services, counseling and guidance, food & clothing pantries, affordable housing, are some of the social services currently available in our community. They will need continued financial and volunteer support as they may be called upon to serve more in need.  For a complete list of existing resources in our community, click on the link here.

Climate Migration: Challenges
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