Se­cur­ing the dikes should be pri­or­ity

Annapolis Valley Register - - OPINION - Let­ter to the ed­i­tor

Cli­mate change is con­tin­u­ing its march to neg­a­tively im­pact pop­u­la­tions liv­ing close to our oceans and wa­ter­ways. We here in Kings County are in the cross hairs for ma­jor im­pacts of ris­ing oceans be­ing brought on by cli­mate change.

Ac­cord­ing to our Kings County plan­ning and en­gi­neer­ing de­part­ments, there is a study un­der­way to se­cure the dikes that protect many of our com­mu­ni­ties and towns sit­u­ated near the Corn­wal­lis river sys­tem. I do not know the scope of the study or if and when the results will be acted upon.

Our U.N.S.C.O site at Grand Pre would be lost if the dikes fail in that area which would put more than 3,000 acres of agri­cul­tural land un­der sea wa­ter.

The towns of Wolfville and Kentville would also be im­pacted. Vil­lages such as Port Williams and New Mi­nas are also in jeop­ardy, along with the com­mu­nity of Mead­owview.

One of the most im­por­tant in­fra­struc­tures that would be cat­a­stroph­i­cally im­pacted is our many re­gional sewer sys­tems, which are lo­cated next to the Corn­wal­lis River at sea level within the flood zone.

Other river sys­tems such as the Gaspereau and Habi­tant rivers would also be im­pacted.

Thou­sands of home­own­ers and busi­nesses de­pend on these re­gional sewer sys­tems to get rid of our hu­man waste and waste wa­ter. If the dikes fail in these ar­eas the im­pact would be a dis­as­ter for the four mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Kings County.

It would take hun­dreds of mil­lions of tax dol­lars to clean up and re­build these sys­tems af­ter a tidal surge brought on by a hur­ri­cane sub­merges these re­gional sewer sys­tems, caus­ing mil­lions in dam­ages. Home­own­ers and busi­ness own­ers need to check their prop­erty in­surance poli­cies to en­sure they would be cov­ered in such an event.

Two projects should start im­me­di­ately. Re­lo­cat­ing the ex­ist­ing re­gional sewer sys­tems to higher ground away from the flood zones and rais­ing the dike lev­els an­other two me­ters to pre­vent the de­struc­tion of thou­sands of acres of agri­cul­tural land and flood­ing im­pacts on our towns and com­mu­ni­ties.

When these re­gional sewer sys­tems were con­structed cli­mate change af­fect­ing rise in ocean lev­els were not con­sid­ered which has put these sys­tems in jeop­ardy thus this pos­si­ble loom­ing dis­as­ter.

Yes, the costs for this pre­ven­tive work would be in the mil­lions of dol­lars but these costs would pale in com­par­i­son to costs of cat­a­strophic fail­ure of our dike sys­tems due to storm surges.

In­fra­struc­ture dol­lars are avail­able and hope­fully our mu­nic­i­pal, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral politi­cians will work to­gether to start these very im­por­tant pre­ven­tive projects.

We can study this sit­u­a­tion un­til the cows come home but what re­ally needs to hap­pen is mean­ing­ful ac­tion right away be­fore it is too late.

We trust our newly minted Kings County coun­cil un­der the lead­er­ship of Mayor Mut­tart will ad­dress this is­sue and pro­vide proac­tive vi­sion­ary ac­tion on this very im­por­tant is­sue.

Dick Kil­lam Halls Har­bour

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