As reported on CTV News, Nova Scotia is proposing legislation that would set rules for coastal construction and protect features such as salt marshes and dunes as sea levels rise in the future.
Environment Minister Margaret Miller says the new Coastal Protection Act will ensure clear provincewide rules for what can and cannot be done along the province’s vulnerable coastlines.
Miller says the legislation is about adapting to the province’s changing climate.
“This is not about having government move existing buildings,” she said.
“It’s not about funding breakwaters or retaining walls. Instead, this legislation deals with future construction — it’s meant to prevent today’s problems from happening to tomorrow’s homes, businesses and cottages.”
Miller said the goal is to ensure that new construction is built in safer places where it’s not at high risk of flooding or coastal erosion.
The Environment Department said accompanying regulations — setting out such things as how close construction will be allowed to the shore — are still another 12 to 18 months from being completed.
Department official John Somers said part of that will be determining the high-water mark for construction.
“There’s a lot of detail to sort out there,” said Somers. “We also know that in the years ahead we will have better information through more complete high resolution mapping so we want to leave flexibility for how we describe that (high water) zone in the future.”
Somers said about 60,000 properties already touch on salt water in the province.
Nancy Anningson of Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre said she likes the fact the legislation will prevent putting people, buildings and homes at risk while protecting coastal ecosystems.
Anningson said it’s a “well-kept secret” that ecosystems actually protect people.
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