N.S. must protect rail, road link to rest of Canada from rising seas: geologist

Staff ~ Transcontinental Media
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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia must protect its only road and rail link to the rest of Canada, one of the lead authors of a soon-to-be-released study on climate change said Tuesday.
Memorial University geologist Norm Catto said the Isthmus of Chignecto, at the province's border with New Brunswick, is a well-documented trouble spot.
The low-lying area was cut for several days in an 1869 storm and the odds of that happening again will increase as sea levels rise, he said.
''Where we only have a single rail line, that would be a significant problem if it were to be damaged,'' he said.
Catto worked on the Atlantic Canada chapter of ''From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate,''
which is to be released this spring by Natural Resources Canada.
He said no Nova Scotia community will be permanently submerged by rising sea levels, but many need to adapt.
Truro and the Annapolis Valley will become more vulnerable to flooding, he said. Roads and other infrastructure around the province could be damaged by storm surges, and erosion will get worse. The shoreline is moving about one metre per year in some areas around Lawrencetown and Chezzetcook.
Catto said scientists are studying past storms such as hurricane Juan and an 1869 gale to determine what can happen. The information will be useful in emergency measures and land-use planning throughout Atlantic Canada.
''We're a pretty adaptable bunch,'' Catto said. ''It's going to be much easier for us to cope if we have some inking what the consequences might be.''
Catto said sea walls won't always be the best solution. It will make sense to move some buildings and infrastructure.

Organizations: Natural Resources Canada

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, Chignecto New Brunswick Annapolis Valley Lawrencetown Chezzetcook

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  • Jason
    January 18, 2010 - 10:39

    The possibility of Ocean front property in Amherst? Somebody do something else the property assessments will rise!!