South Shore-St. Margarets MP and federal minister of rural economic development Bernadette Jordan talks to the media after the provincial and federal governments announced they will each spend $57 million to strengthen and improve 64 km of dykes and causeways between Annapolis and Cumberland counties. - Ian Fairclough

Canada: Province, Ottawa spending $114m to reinforce Bay of Fundy dikes against rising seas

The federal and provincial governments have announced $114 million in funding to strengthen and improve 64 km of dikes in the province to protect against rising sea levels and coastal flooding caused by climate change.

The work will take place in Kings, Hants, Annapolis, Cumberland and Colchester counties, providing flood protection for tens of thousands of people and businesses, wineries, historic sites, Indigenous communities and more than 20,000 hectares of farmland facing a one-metre rise in ocean levels by the end of the century.

“Climate change is having a dramatic impact on our Canadian communities,” South Shore-St. Margarets MP and Rural Economic Development Minister Bernadette Jordan said Wednesday morning at the announcement in Grand Pre.

“Floods, wildfires and winter storms are all getting worse and more frequent,” Jordan told people gathered for the announcement. “The effects of these extreme weather events don’t go away overnight. It takes time to rebuild, and repairing the damage can take a major toll.”

She said adapting to the impacts of climate change and being prepared is critical for the well-being of communities along the coasts and dikeland of the province.

The Bay of Fundy dikeland system stretches from Yarmouth to Cumberland counties.

Jordan said the coastal tidal environment is powerful, and rising sea levels and coastal flooding have the potential to cause “catastrophic consequences.”

In 2012, flood waters breached a dike in Truro, causing millions of dollars in damage.

“Coastal flooding not only poses a threat to valuable farmland, homes and businesses, but it can impact access to essential services like power and clean drinking water, disrupt sewage treatment systems, and interrupt safe transportation routes.”

The work is split into two projects: one includes work on 60 km of dikes and five aboiteaux throughout the five counties to protect 60 communities, while the other involves four aboiteaux and four kilometres of dikes to protect Windsor, Falmouth and the surrounding area. That project is also tied into the twinning of Highway 101 across the Avon River in Windsor.

The money is the first to be designated in Nova Scotia from the disaster mitigation and adaptation fund.

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