Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia - Twelve Nova Scotian municipalities have joined the call for the province to fully implement the long-awaited Coastal Protection Act (CPA) regulations. Six municipalities have signed on to a joint statement with the Ecology Action Centre, while another seven municipalities have sent their own letters demanding immediate action from the Nova Scotia government to protect coastal communities and ecosystems by implementing the CPA regulations.
“It’s clear that the Houston government is quite content to shirk their responsibilities with the Coastal Protection Act and pass them on to municipalities,” says Will Balser, coastal adaptation coordinator with the EAC. “Municipalities are realizing they will be stuck doing the province’s job for them, including shouldering labour and financial costs for something that should have been done ages ago. It’s no wonder they are upset by this.”
An online CPA consultation survey that the province targeted toward coastal property owners wraps up tomorrow, but delays to the act’s implementation will continue. In August of this year, the province announced that the CPA – which passed with full support from all parties in 2019 – would be delayed until July 2025 at the earliest, and that in the meantime municipalities could pass their own bylaws to make up for the delay. Balser says this puts unfair pressure on municipalities.
“This shouldn’t be something that municipalities are forced to deal with on their own,” explains Balser. “The fact that the province is continuing to drag their heels while Nova Scotia faces increasingly severe climate impacts puts their constituents at direct risk. Frankly, it’s unacceptable.”
The joint statement, organized by the EAC, was signed by the Town of Bridgewater, Town of Clark’s Harbour, Town of Digby, Town of Kentville, Town of Lunenburg, while the District of Chester, Kings County, Town of New Glasgow, Town of Trenton, West Hants Regional Municipality, and Region of Queens Municipality sent their own letters to the province. Pictou County signed the joint statement and sent their own letter to minister Halman. As more municipalities join the call for action on the CPA amid growing concerns from the general public, Balser questions why the delays continue to happen.
“These regulations are ready to go,” says Balser. “We’ve seen a huge push from citizens, and now more and more municipalities are joining them to demand action. So, with all of this support for implementation, we have to ask ourselves: what – or who – exactly is the province stalling for?”
Following the announcement that the province would be again delaying the CPA in order to administer further public consultation, on Tuesday, Oct. 24 the EAC, along with concerned citizens and coastal property owners, held a press conference on the Halifax Waterfront demanding immediate action to implement the CPA regulations.