Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CLIMATE: Ecology Action Centre seeks input from East Hants on rising coastlines

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Abby Cameron

The Bay of Fundy coastlines could rise with an increase in climate change. (Cano photo)

NOEL SHORE: Having frontage on the Bay of Fundy and the powerful Shubenacadie River means parts of the Municipality of East Hants could face issues with coastal climate change.
Jennifer Graham with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax made a presentation to the Sept. 21 executive committee of council about coastal climate change adaptation that East Hants councillors may want to consider.
“It’s to present some information and give some resources around the topic of adaptation and climate change,” said Graham. “It’s trying to protect the infrastructure, dykes, roads, in a cost effective way, in a way we’ve barely even known we’ve done it.”
In Nova Scotia, coastlines are used to support the economy and recreation. Graham said climate change will put stress on the shores if they aren’t taken care of.
“We can add climate change to that,” she said. “It increases the height of storm surges; there will be more erosion along the coast; there will be a change in precipitation—not necessarily more rain—but more intense rain; there could be new diseases and pests.”
Rawdon Councillor Eleanor Roulston has lived close to the shore her entire life. She said she has seen firsthand what the tides are capable of.
“I certainly within my lifetime have seen some results of erosion and so forth along that coastline,” she said. “And communities have built up and it’s going to become important to find ways to protect them.”
The Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) that the planning and development department has created will soon have to include solutions for coastal climate changes.
“The gas tax initiative requires a climate change adaptation plan to be completed by 2013,” said Planning Director John Woodford. “This really is a relevant issue with the Shubenacadie River and our bay frontage.”
Graham said the Ecology Action Centre is working on a municipal strategy.

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