Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia – On Tuesday, Nova Scotia Environment Minister Tim Halman announced an indefinite delay in completing the long-awaited regulations in the Coastal Protection Act (CPA), citing the need for further consultations. The Ecology Action Centre finds this delay unacceptable at a time when the impacts of climate change are becoming more severe and threatening to Nova Scotia’s coastal communities.
“We’re well past the point of stalling and debating,” says Will Balser, coastal adaptation coordinator with the EAC. “These regulations are supposed to be the first step in protecting our coastal communities and ecosystems.”
The CPA regulations are meant to protect sensitive ecosystems and ensure construction is at a safe elevation and distance from the shore along Nova Scotia’s 13,000 kilometres of coastline.
“We should have had these regulations years ago,” says Balser. “Hurricane Fiona was a clear sign that the implementation of the CPA is long overdue. Now we are seeing the results of irresponsible development in the face of a changing ocean climate, and the impacts are startling.”
As a response to the damage from Hurricane Fiona, which totaled more than $385 million in Nova Scotia, Minister Halman pledged in the fall of 2022 that Coastal Protection Act regulations would come into effect in the first half of 2023.
“Delaying these regulations now, with no timeline for when they will be completed, is beyond disappointing,” says Balser. “This government is failing the public in its duty to protect them from intensifying impacts of climate change.”
Nova Scotia is facing the most severe sea level rise predictions in Canada and sitting in the path of increasingly severe hurricanes and tropical storms. The provincial government has recognized these risks but is not taking the necessary steps to address them, according to Balser.
“Extensive consultations have already been done since the Coastal Protection Act was passed in 2019 and they show that people want strong protection measures along Nova Scotia’s coastline,” says Balser.
“Coastal ecosystems and communities urgently need to be protected, and this government needs to take responsibility by implementing the Coastal Protection Act regulations as soon as possible. Until that point, Nova Scotian taxpayers will be footing the bill for short-sighted, reckless coastal development.”