CFEDC Presents ‘FOCUS: Framework on Our Future’ at WHQR

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Date(s) - 04/28/2015
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

WHQR Gallery


The Cape Fear Economic Development Council (CFEDC) will present a community conversation on “FOCUS: Framework for Our Future,” at 6 p.m., April 28, at WHQR Gallery, 254 N. Front St., Suite 300, Wilmington, N.C.

Under a federal grant, the FOCUS consortium formed in 2012 to support local government­ efforts to coordinate planning and create a regional plan for sustainable development in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties. For ideas, FOCUS engaged public and elected officials, held more than 40 meetings and received more than 4,000 public comments. Now, they have a draft plan, or framework, to present for public input.

“It’s important for the community to see what FOCUS has accomplished, to join in the discussion, and to learn about how they or their organization can become involved,” says Hillary Meinheit, CFEDC chair.

Jennifer Rigby, long range planner for New Hanover County and consortium chair, FOCUS Project Director Al Sharp and FOCUS Project Manager Adrienne Cox will discuss the 10 strategies the consortium has identified for moving from the grant stage to the implementation phase of the FOCUS project.

During a presentation of the findings, attendees will have the opportunity to provide input on the plan and will learn how to become part of the effort. FOCUS will make their data available to community organizations to use in grant applications for funding public/private projects that move the 10 strategies forward.

“As we position our region for the future, the great work FOCUS has accomplished will provide a valuable opportunity to coordinate the many local government efforts, build sustained partnerships, communicate best practices and success stories, and monitor progress on implementation. This is a unique and exciting opportunity and we look forward to working with Cape Fear Economic Development Council,” says Rigby.

The CFEDC organization represents a vision for the future economic development of the Cape Fear region that is actionable, sustainable, and that builds on existing strengths of the region. “Quality of place” is the lynchpin of the region’s future. A competitive educational system, thriving arts and culture, and natural beauty are guarantees of that quality. For more information, go to

For more information, contact:
Hillary Meinheit, Chair, Cape Fear Economic Development Council
Phone: 910.409.5104

2 thoughts on “CFEDC Presents ‘FOCUS: Framework on Our Future’ at WHQR

  1. Maggie Parish

    I am very much interested in this effort to preserve and develop the potential of our area. Two questions I have are: How will Climate Change affect our area? How can we best prepare for the challenges that might lie ahead?

  2. Scott Johnson

    Hi Maggie,

    Great questions. There are two primary objectives to prepare for climate change: mitigation and adaptation. To understand these better I would suggest researching the assessment reports provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The amount of information is overwhelming, but intensely covers important sectors, such as: water, agriculture, infrastructure, human health, tourism, transport, and energy, and provides recommendations on how to adapt and/ or mitigate climate change for each sector.

    Below is cited research that is more specific to our region in regards to public health and climate change. As mentioned, there are additional sectors to consider, but this might provide some insight into on particular element.

    How will Climate Change affect our area?

    Climate Change and Public Health in North Carolina: A Unique State Offers a Unique Perspective

    North Carolina’s extensive coast presents ripe conditions for heat stress in labor-intensive industries, the compounding effects of vulnerable coastal medical infrastructure, increased vector-borne diseases, and injuries and illness from increased coastal storms, all of which should be considered public health priorities. Because of the role North Carolina’s coast plays in the state’s economy (e.g., fishing, real estate, tourism), heritage (e.g., communities, public parks, preserves), and security (military bases and ports), the state should support enhanced coordination between coastal planning and public health fields, and expand multidisciplinary research on problems, including sea level rise, that will likely impact coastal areas.

    Devlin, Leah et al. “Climate Change and Public Health in North Carolina: A Unique State Offers a Unique Perspective.” Environmental Health Perspectives 122.6 (2014): A146–A147. PMC. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

    According to the National Resources Defense Council’s public health mapping tool, climate change impacts that explicitly threaten public health in North Carolina include: increased air pollution including smog, smoke, and pollen; more intense hot days and heat waves; increased rates of infectious diseases such as Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, and Lyme Disease; and more severe droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events.

    National Resources Defense Council. Climate Change Health Threats in North Carolina. Online (December 2013)

    How can we best prepare for the challenges that might lie ahead?

    Recommendations: Public Health and Climate Change: Focusing North Carolina Forward

    • Inventory available information on vulnerable coastal populations, and determine the needs of these individual groups.
    • Create tools for identifying medical facilities and their locations that are vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, and storms, and then deploy these tools to assess individual facilities throughout the coast.
    • Incorporate coastal hazards preparedness into hospital preparedness programs. Require the incorporation of climate change into disaster mitigation plans.
    • Facilitate planning to address climate change and sea level rise by providing technical guidance on the benefits of planning for these conditions.
    • Create incentives that encourage local government Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) plans to address climate change and sea level rise.

    2013 Environmental Health Summit: Public Health and Climate Change: Focusing North Carolina Forward


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