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Annapolis Valley Register - - COVER STORY -

“Cer­tainly I ac­cept the ex­pert ev­i­dence of Hague Vaughan that day who has a lot of in­sight into the na­ture of ris­ing tides and the en­vi­ron­ment,” the mayor said. “While we can dis­pute the time­lines of these kinds of things, we all know - be­cause we see it and ex­pe­ri­ence it - there is a prob­lem with ris­ing sea lev­els.”

Mit­i­ga­tion

“We can’t leave it for any­body else. So what we do, and how we do that, and how we mit­i­gate, that is re­ally the is­sue,” the mayor said. “The town is ac­tu­ally tak­ing the ini­tia­tive to reach out to our sur­round­ing part­ners – the County of Digby, the Town of Digby, the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of An­napo­lis – to come to­gether in a joint ini­tia­tive to look at some kind of mit­i­ga­tion of ris­ing sea lev­els look­ing at the Digby Gut as a source of where we might con­sider some pos­si­bil­i­ties. We don’t know what those are.”

He ex­plained In­fra­struc­ture Canada has an ini­tia­tive seek­ing in­put and ap­pli­ca­tions from com­mu­ni­ties on pro­pos­als that might be worth con­sid­er­ing.

“They’re en­cour­ag­ing ap­pli­cants to be as grand as pos­si­ble in their think­ing, and so we cer­tainly are,” he said. “Again, back to the facts that these are the high­est tides in the world, what­ever we’re go­ing to do is go­ing to be sig­nif­i­cant. It’s go­ing to be dra­matic, and it may be an en­gi­neer­ing colos­sal on one level be­cause of the tides and the im­pacts of the tides and the strengths of the tides. You can’t stop the tides of the Fundy. What you might be able to do is dis­place, mit­i­gate in some way. I’ll leave that to en­gi­neers to fig­ure that out, but cer­tainly we don’t want to sit on our hands here. We want to be part of the so­lu­tion.”

The town’s CAO was to make a pre­sen­ta­tion to An­napo­lis County coun­cil on March 13.

“If the ap­pli­ca­tion is suc­cess­ful, there is

Mov­ing To­wards Ac­tion

An­napo­lis Royal’s town coun­cil has been mov­ing to­wards ac­tion for more than a year, and the mayor cred­its in par­tic­u­lar an Earth Day march de­signed to draw at­ten­tion to such things as cli­mate change and sea level rise.

Mac­don­ald said it was feed­back the town got from that that helped get things rolling.

“Holly San­ford, a coun­cilor, had gath­ered a bunch of names of peo­ple who were in­ter­ested in sit­ting on any kind of a com­mit­tee that might hap­pen. It’s taken a while but we’ve been mov­ing in this di­rec­tion,” he said.

More re­cently he was ap­proached by the United Church’s group that deals with en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, ask­ing what the town was do­ing.

“I was happy to say that tim­ing is ev­ery­thing be­cause coun­cil had just had a meet­ing where we talked about es­tab­lish­ing a cli­mate com­mit­tee of some kind, an en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee,” Mac­don­ald said. “We re­ally didn’t know what to call it. I kind of favoured a com­mu­nity sus­tain­abil­ity com­mit­tee, but ul­ti­mately at the end of the day it’s be­ing seen as en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee.”

On March 1 the town’s Com­mit­tee of the Whole passed a mo­tion to rec­om­mend to coun­cil the ap­proval of a pol­icy es­tab­lish­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee. Mac­don­ald ex­pects coun­cil will ap­prove the rec­om­men­da­tion on March 19 at its reg­u­lar meet­ing and the com­mit­tee will be formed.

Com­mit­tee

The com­mit­tee will have one coun­cil­lor on it and the rest will be four or five mem­bers of the pub­lic with the mayor as ex of­fi­cio.

The com­mit­tee would pro­vide pro-ac­tive mea­sures, ed­u­cate, pro­mote, pro­vide feed­back and rec­om­men­da­tions on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues re­lated to sus­tain­abil­ity, ad­vo­cacy, and stew­ard­ship within the Town of An­napo­lis Royal. It would also re­view and up­date the town’s ex­ist­ing cli­mate change doc­u­ment an­nu­ally.

“You can see, cer­tainly, that the whole plan is to start do­ing some heavy lift­ing, not wait for the next ad­min­is­tra­tion, or the next ad­min­is­tra­tion,” said Mac­don­ald. “We all rec­og­nize that tides are ris­ing. Those of us liv­ing in town see the surges -- that they’ve in­creased, that they’re sig­nif­i­cant. We as a com­mu­nity that’s been here for 400-plus years have ex­pe­ri­enced the rav­ages of fire. Mod­ern fire pro­tec­tion has en­sured that won’t hap­pen the way it hap­pened in the past, but our new threat, and our most sig­nif­i­cant threat now and in the fu­ture, is wa­ter. There is noth­ing that an old wooden build­ing hates more than wa­ter.”

LAWRENCE POW­ELL

An­napo­lis Royal Mayor Bill Mac­don­ald has a 1753 map in his of­fice that shows the Town of An­napo­lis Royal as it was al­most three cen­turies ago. The town, like many coastal com­mu­ni­ties, is fac­ing the ef­fects of sea level rise. Mit­i­gat­ing those ef­fects is some­thing the town is con­tem­plat­ing.

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