MLA concerned dykes may be at risk
SPRINGHILL - Murray Scott is calling for an assessment of dykes and aboiteaus along the Fundy shore between Advocate Harbour and Maccan.
The Cumberland South MLA and economic and rural development minister said he asked Agriculture Minister Mark Parent to conduct the assessment after concerns were raised about the strength of dykes in Advocate Harbour, River Hebert and Maccan.
"With global warming and weather conditions changing, with what appear to be higher tides, I believe an assessment must be carried out soon to see what we're up against," Scott said.
His comments come as work begins on repairing a portion of seawall near Advocate Harbour that washed away during a Dec. 21 storm. The seawall shields farmland, dykes and homes from some of the world's highest tides.
"I understand they do periodic assessments, but I feel a thorough assessment is needed," Scott said. "It's quite important that we do it."
News that help may be on the way is music to the ears of Wayne Glennie of the River Hebert Marsh Body. He said the organization has been asking for help for years and feels Scott will finally get some action.
"There's simply not the money there used to be and most of the money that is there is getting used up on the aboiteau on the marsh near Amherst," Glennie said. "There's been nothing done with the dykes here for 15 years or more."
Glennie said the dykes have been compromised on several occasions with some minor flooding. However, he fears what would happen should the dykes fail completely.
"It's not just the farmers and the landowners that need to be worried, it's the homes too," he said, adding the situation is bad in the Minudie, River Hebert and Maccan areas. "The dykes need about another metre added to them."
Scott feels that with more federal dollars available through infrastructure funding, the time may be right to make repairs as needed. Most important, though, is determining what needs to be done to protect communities along the Bay of Fundy in Cumberland South.
His thoughts echo those of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Bill Casey, who last summer called for an assessment of all aboiteaus and dyke structures on the Bay of Fundy in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Casey is concerned about a United Nations report that suggests global warming and rising sea levels could compromise important highway and rail infrastructure that's protected by dykes, many of which were built years ago.
Along with an assessment, Casey wants to make sure there's expertise in place to repair any deficiencies.