Weather watch

Annapolis Valley Register - - OPINION -

The Town of Amherst has a ten­der out to do a new flood­plain study, look­ing ahead at what changes to ex­pect in the next 20 years. The New Brunswick government is re­view­ing flood­plain and coastal map­ping fol­low­ing his­toric flood­ing this month.

The government of New­found­land and Labrador is cur­rently han­dling a re­quest for pro­pos­als for risk map­ping and flood plan­ning for Happy Val­ley-goose Bay and Mud Lake af­ter flood­ing this spring. It’s a re­quest for pro­pos­als that bluntly tells con­sul­tants to fac­tor in cli­mate change: “The cli­mate change con­di­tion will in­clude both cli­mate change pre­cip­i­ta­tion in­crease and cli­mate change sea level rise.”

If you think cli­mate change isn’t cost­ing you money al­ready, you’re wrong.

If you’re not will­ing to ac­cept that re­cent wild weather in all four At­lantic prov­inces is a pre­cur­sor of what we can ex­pect — and that the dam­age re­lief gov­ern­ments find to help those af­fected by the storms is ac­tu­ally a cost of cli­mate change — then you should look at what’s hap­pen­ing on the ground, and un­der it. More and more, mu­nic­i­pal, provin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments are do­ing much-needed up­grades on flood­plain map­ping that no longer seems to be ac­cu­rate.

Many parts of the At­lantic prov­inces are be­ing told to ex­pect more force­ful storms, more in­tense storms and higher storm surges. In­di­vid­ual weather events may not be any kind of proof of over­all cli­mate change, but it’s worth think­ing about how of­ten you now hear that a long-stand­ing weather record has fallen.

When an 87-year-old wooden cov­ered bridge is de­stroyed by flood­wa­ters — as hap­pened last week in New Brunswick — it’s safe to say the wa­ter level was pretty much un­prece­dented.

What isn’t as clear is how much more money will be re­quired. Prince Ed­ward Is­land, for ex­am­ple, de­pends on ground wa­ter for drink­ing wa­ter. How does a mu­nic­i­pal­ity deal with the prob­lem if ris­ing sea lev­els (and they are ris­ing al­ready) in­crease the salin­ity of a drink­ing wa­ter source? What does that salin­ity do to the wa­ter col­lec­tion sys­tem? How do you re­move the salt to make the wa­ter us­able?

In New Brunswick, what do you do about houses that didn’t ap­pear to be on a flood­plain be­fore, but with new storm records, cer­tainly now are. Do you al­low prop­erty own­ers to re­build, or do you tell them to move (and in­cur fi­nan­cial costs to make up for their losses)?

The list is long and changes weekly, and the trickle of cli­mate-re­lated in­fra­struc­ture work seems de­signed to grow into some sem­blance of a flood it­self.

There are those among us, of course, who pre­fer to con­tinue the method of stick­ing their heads in the sand and deny­ing that any­thing’s hap­pen­ing.

But don’t get your head stuck in there so tight that you can’t pull it out when the flood wa­ters reach your an­kles — and at the same time, your ears.

I miss The Cor­ner at the in­ter­sec­tion of Car­men and Notre Dame.

My par­ents had a white fence there, along the western side of our yard.

At times, the top rung of the fence would buckle with the weight of 30 kids.

At times, the laugh­ter from those youth sounded like there were 300 of them.

My par­ents never said a word, their pa­tience and per­mis­sion towards The Cor­ner per­haps one of their great­est gifts to my younger sis­ter and me.

We spent hours and hours there, play­ing spot­light, telling jokes, singing TV com­mer­cials, act­ing fool­ish, just be­ing friends.

Usu­ally, we’d play base­ball at the Bliss Street sand­lot all day and con­gre­gate on that white fence at night.

We’d be there un­til 10:30 or so, when a cho­rus of moth­ers and fa­thers would sing, “It’s time to come in.”

The hours were innocent. The life les­son immense.

The Cor­ner taught us friend­ship and the beauty of just hang­ing out, ab­sent

This ap­ple-pick­ing photo was fea­tured in a spe­cial Ap­ple Blos­som Fes­ti­val edi­tion of The Ad­ver­tiser that was pub­lished in May 1934.

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