News / Halifax

Nova Scotians need to plan for sea level rise: Ecology Action Centre

With a new website and two workshops this weekend, the Ecology Action Centre is hoping to alert people to the risks of building close to the coast.

Waves hit the shore in Cow Bay, N.S. near Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Waves hit the shore in Cow Bay, N.S. near Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012.

With a new website and two workshops this weekend, a local environmental group hopes to educate Nova Scotians about a “very grim, but plausible scenario for Atlantic Canada.”

“The purpose of the website and the workshops is to get people interested, informed and then encouraged to start incorporating sea level rise into their plans,” Ecology Action Centre (EAC) coastal adaptation coordinator Samantha Page said in an interview.

With 70 per cent of people in Nova Scotia living in coastal communities, Page is hoping to alert people to the risks of building homes, cottages or even larger developments close to the coast, given the latest climate projections.

The U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric Association is predicting maximum sea level rise of 2.5 metres by the year 2100, as opposed to the previous projection of one metre by 2100.

“That would be a very grim, but plausible scenario for Atlantic Canada,” Page said. “In Nova Scotia, the Armdale Rotary would be under water.”

EAC’s website, sealevelrise.ca is designed to put scientific data on sea level rise into a digestible format, and allow people to see the effect it will have on their specific communities with an interactive map.

From a municipal planning standpoint, Halifax has been planning for sea level rise.

“Halifax is actually widely regarded in the planning community for being on the cutting edge for incorporating and being aware of sea levels,“ municipal spokesperson Brendan Elliott said in an email.

The municipality’s current planning strategy prohibits residential development on the coast within a 3.8 metre elevation above a slightly out-dated mean sea level.

Page said the municipality would be wise to raise that number “especially when you take into consideration not just sea level rise, but then high tide plus storm surge.”

Elliott said work on the upcoming Centre Plan would include considerations about predicted sea levels.

Workshops: When and Where

Saturday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in Musquodoboit Harbour at the Old School Community Gathering Place

Sunday from 2:15 to 4:45 p.m. in St. Margaret’s Bay at the Tantallon Public Library

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