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Catastrophe Awaits on Chignecto Isthmus
Bill Martin
/ Categories: News

Catastrophe Awaits on Chignecto Isthmus

Local officials are concerned that senior governments are not moving quickly enough to ward off a catastrophe that is waiting to happen on the Isthmus of Chignecto.

The isthmus, that narrow strip of land that links Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada, could easily be under water if a storm struck at the same time as high tide. The tides come twice each day, and changing climate suggests bigger storms are increasing in frequency.

The Mayor of Cumberland has been tag-teaming with the mayor of Amherst in pressing the Province and the federal government to take the matter more seriously.

Last week it was Mayor David Kogan’s turn to present the town’s concern. He and Bill Casey, the former MP for the area, who first raised the concern a number of years ago, met with Premier Tim Houston and Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton.

Mayor Kogan noted the two senior governments agreed on a study of the issue which offered three options, including: raising the existing dikes at an estimated cost of just over $200 million, building new dikes at just over $189 million, or raising the existing dikes and installing steel sheet pile walls at select locations at a cost just over $300 million.

However, that study was concerned about rising sea levels from climate change and the federal government feels they have about ten years before levels would breach the dikes.

Local officials are more concerned about a catastrophic storm and pointed to Hurricane Fiona which did massive damage while narrowly missing the timeline of a high tide.

Kogan and Casey expressed concern about the apparent lack of action on the file. They specifically noted the federal, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick governments have yet to decide on which of the three solutions to pursue let alone on moving the project forward.

The Mayor says, “We understand there are engineering factors that affect the timing of a solution.” Kogan added, “We don’t want the solution implemented so fast that it doesn’t do the job properly, but we feel the movement on this very important project is taking longer than necessary.”

All parties agree that a breach of the dikes, built in the late 1600s by Acadian farmers, would flood large parts of Amherst and its counterpart in Sackville, NB. However, it would also cripple Nova Scotia and have a devastating impact on commerce to the rest of Canada. Nearly 50 million dollars in goods travel the isthmus by rail and truck each day. Once breached, that would stop and there is no estimate of how long it would take to restore transportation services.

Mayor Kogan said, “They got it. The premier pledged his support and agreed to speeding up the process to protect the isthmus if possible.” Kogan added, “He promised to look into it and to move it along, and to ensure it remained a top priority with his government.”

The leaders paused for a photo in the Premier’s office. L. to R, Mayor David Kogan, Premier Tim Houston, Bill Casey, and Minister Tory Rushton.

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Radio This Week

Event List
Monday, April 15, 2024 9:45 AM

Premier Tim Houston is our guest on Morning Talk on the 3rd Monday of each month. Listen at 9:45.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 9:45 AM

Dr. Stephen Ellis, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester will be on Morning Talk every second Tuesday. Listen at 9:45.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 9:05 AM

Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources, is on Morning Talk each Wednesday at 9:05.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 10:45 AM

Listen to Oxford Mayor Greg Henley on Morning Talk every Wednesday at 10:45. Click HERE to listen from our online player. Click HERE to listen to our direct player.

Thursday, April 18, 2024 9:05 AM

Murray Scott, Mayor of Cumberland County, is on Morning Talk every Thursday. Listen at 9:05.

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