County accepts climate change adaptation plan
UPPER NAPPAN – Advocate Harbour and the Northumberland Strait have been identified as priorities by the Municipality of Cumberland’s municipal climate change adaptation plan.
The plan, required for the county qualify for federal gas tax money, identifies, assesses and prioritizes threats to the municipality arising from projected climate change trends and hazards.
County development director Steve Ferguson said the plan, developed by staff and council, assessed risks in various areas of the county and developed its priorities based on this study.
“Based on the results, the team decided that the Bay of Fundy low areas, in particular Advocate Harbour, is the number one priority due to the potentially severe impact of a breach in the seawall,” the report says.
The report said the seawall is overtopped on a regular basis by the bay and recently underwent major repairs in one area. Still, other areas sections of the seawall remain at risk due to sea level rise and storm surge.
Erosion and flooding along the Northumberland Strait due to se level rise and storm surge is the second priority.
“It is our second priority due to the potential severity of its impact, the fact it is frequent and progressively becoming more so, and it affects a large area of the municipality,” the report said.
The committee also lists the Tantramar Marsh area as another priority. While it was originally the main priority because of assets in the area, mainly the highway and rail link, senior levels of government and CN have responsibility for the dykes and transportation links in that area.
Ferguson said the county wants to collect LIDAR information on both the Advocate and Northumberland Strait areas and work with property owners and other stakeholders along the strait.
It hopes to have this work collected by the end of next summer.
Ferguson told council one of the group’s biggest challenges is the sheer size of the municipality.
“It cannot be overstressed it will be an enormous challenge for the Municipality of Cumberland to address the climate change issues for an area almost as large as HRM, with two distinct and extensive coastlines and six distinct eco-districts, with a population of less than five per cent of that of HRM,” the report said. “The plan sets a course to do just that, but additional support and assistance from the province may be required.”