Time to take ac­tion

An­napo­lis Royal tak­ing ac­tion on sea level rise, other en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues


When it comes to ris­ing sea lev­els, An­napo­lis Royal has a lot to lose. But the mayor and coun­cil aren’t sit­ting idly by wait­ing to be res­cued.

They’re about to es­tab­lish a com­mit­tee to tackle en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues with ris­ing wa­ter lev­els ex­pected to be chief among those con­cerns.

“I don’t want to scare peo­ple, but we can­not be blind to what’s hap­pen­ing,” said Mayor Bill Mac­don­ald from his of­fice scant me­tres from the edge of the An­napo­lis Basin. “We have to do some­thing, and this mayor and coun­cil are com­mit­ted to it. Cit­i­zens in this area and town are com­mit­ted to it.”

He said lo­cals of­ten walk along the water­front dur­ing storms to see the storm surge just be­cause it’s ex­cit­ing, dra­matic, and dy­namic. “But without a doubt we now walk along that wa­ter front on a storm surge and we see how high the wa­ter is ac­tu­ally get­ting. It fore­shad­ows, I think, what we can ex­pect from the fu­ture.”

Due to flood­ing and storm surge, wa­ter now tops the wharf at the bot­tom of St. Ge­orge Street by three inches ev­ery 18 to 24 months, ac­cord­ing to a study done by the Clean An­napo­lis River Project. Ecol­o­gist Hague Vaughan told a re­cent meet­ing of con­cerned area res­i­dents that by the year 2030 the wharf will be topped by as much as 18.7 inches about 12 to 13 times a year. Vaughan’s fig­ures come from the US Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Global and Re­gional Sea Level Rise Sce­nar­ios for the United States re­leased about a year ago.

Stakes Are High

For An­napo­lis Royal, and many com­mu­ni­ties on both sides of the An­napo­lis Basin, the stakes are high.

“We char­ac­ter­ize our town as the Cra­dle of Our Na­tion,” said Mac­don­ald. “Part of that is re­flected in the in­ven­tory of built her­itage that we have in this town. We have an enor­mous col­lec­tion of des­ig­nated her­itage build­ings, many of which are along St. Ge­orge Street along the water­front. If we don’t have a so­lu­tion, if we don’t solve the pend­ing prob­lem, we will lose ir­re­place­able relics of im­por­tant times in the his­tory of Canada.”

Those fig­ures quoted by Vaughan at the Feb. 13 meet­ing of res­i­dents at the United Church are con­sid­ered con­ser­va­tive. Doc­u­mented sea level rise has been about 33 cen­time­tres a cen­tury. For in­stance, the tide gauge record of Char­lot­te­town from 1911 to 1998 shows a rel­a­tive sea level rise of 32 cen­time­tres. That’s about a foot. But pro­jec­tions are a rise pos­si­bly as high as two me­tres by the end of the cen­tury. See TIME, A3

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