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'I think we really need to change our mindset': Proximity to the sea is becoming increasingly costly, and dangerous


Thousands come to Peggys Cove each year to watch the wave’s crash over the iconic rocks.

The homes built along the rugged shoreline also get a lot of attention.

“Well, they are so close, that the whole point,” says Sheila Henson, who is visiting from Indiana.

One building in particular was getting some extra glances on Tuesday. A building was shifted on its foundation by post-tropical storm lee on the weekend.

“I always say that it’s part of Nova Scotia psychology to be close to the water,” says Will Balser, the coastal adaption coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre. “I mean we don’t call ourselves Canada Ocean Playground for nothing.”

Balser says the problem is that proximity to the sea is becoming increasingly costly, and dangerous.

“I think we really need to change our mindset from reaction to prevention. We haven’t even taken the first step to align our values and our practises with a changing climate and a changing coastline,” says Balser.

Nova Scotia initiated a regulation development plan in 2019, and it has been delayed every year since.

The Coastal Protection Act is now set to take effect in 2025, which includes a minimum distance from the water for new construction.

“A lot of current and recent development is still happening in unregulated areas. They don’t have horizontal setbacks or minimum elevation the same way that we would like to see with something like the coastal protection act that is now been delayed for another two years,” says Balser.

Seeing the potential of the waves, Sheila Henson and her husband Brian say they wouldn't feel safe in a home just metres from the water.

“I personally would not, probably a little bit further away,” says Henson.

Will Balser would like to see all Maritime Provinces implement an action plan like Nova Scotia has currently in the works. He says the sooner the better.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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