When we talk about coastal communities in this province, even if you don’t live right on the shore, you’re never terribly far away. Changes to Nova Scotia’s coastline forecast for future years, brought on by nature’s forces, will have some effect on nearly every area.
A report from a study released last week that involved a Cape Breton community should be cause for concern for everyone.
The study by the Ecology Action Centre focused on Cheticamp and what it could face with a rise in sea level and storm surges. For example, one thing foreseen is a breach of the causeway leading out to Cheticamp Island.
Anyone familiar with that section of coast will easily be able to picture the coming problems. But they can probably also think of other areas, perhaps close to home, that will be prone to severe changes and damage to structures with a rise in water levels.
With continued gradual melting in the Arctic and glacial areas, sea levels are certain to rise. The Nova Scotia government has published projections of a rise of 1.1 metres by 2100, with storm surges possibly sending levels to 3.78 metres.
While there might be little we can do to turn that prospect around, being forewarned should mean being prepared.
There isn’t a municipality in the province that won’t be affected to some extent, and obviously some areas that already experience more marked tidal conditions will be harder hit.
Most people can probably think of houses or other development in their own areas – even some built since discussion began about rising sea levels – that would be extremely vulnerable in the event of storm surges, and particularly if they are more extreme in the future.
As many who have faced related problems will note, fighting nature is not easy. But building to higher standards is always a wise response. The most obvious approach in tackling this subject, in addition, would be far more strict criteria in siting new development.