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Advocate Harbour to discuss dikes on Sunday

A public meeting is planned for Jan. 26 for the Advocate fire hall to discuss a study of the dikes near Advocate Harbour.
A public meeting is planned for Sunday for the Advocate fire hall to discuss a study of the dikes near Advocate Harbour. - Submitted

ADVOCATE HARBOUR – Advocate Harbour residents will hear about a plan to study the dikes protecting the community during a public meeting on Sunday.

The meeting was originally scheduled or Jan. 26, but had to be moved due to scheduling issues.

The meeting is at 2 p.m. at the Advocate fire hall.

Cumberland County’s EMO coordinator Mike Johnson said estimates are the dike protecting the community could be overcome by 2100 because of rising sea levels. While it could be seven or eight decades before the dikes are compromised, Johnson said there's always the risk of a storm damaging the infrastructure before then.

He said the study will look at whether enhancing the dike by increasing its height is the best plan or should the community looking at moving vulnerable pieces of infrastructure such as the school, the post office and the convenience store.

He said the community will be engaged through the entire process so residents know what the challenges are and what the solutions could be. He wants to avoid a situation where government comes in and tells people they have to move.

The situation faced by Advocate Harbour is similar to what's being faced between Amherst and Sackville, N.B., where the mayors of both towns have joined with Cumberland County Warden Allison Gillis and Cumberland-Colchester MP Bill Casey to lobby federal and provincial officials to fund a study on the dikes along the Tantramar Marsh.

An estimated $50-million in trade goes through the Isthmus of Chignecto every day and the dikes protect the CN rail line, the Trans-Canada Highway connecting New Brunswick to Nova Scotia and valuable farmland and commercial properties. While the impact would not be as severe in Advocate, the EMO coordinator said it can't be underestimated.

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