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A plan for the Isthmus of Chignecto in 12 months

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov19,2023

Approximately $35 billion in goods pass through the highway between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a thin strip of land, each year.

Un plan for the isthmus of Chignecto in 12 months

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A Canadian National freight train and, to the left, the Trans-Canada Highway on the Chignecto Isthmus.

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A plan to save the Chignecto Isthmus could be introduced within 12 months, according to a senior Nova Scotia government official.

The Isthmus of Chignecto is a strip of land where the border of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is located. Each year, approximately $35 billion in goods pass through the Trans-Canada Highway and CN Railway across the isthmus.

Communities and infrastructure in this low-lying area are protected by dikes and aboiteaux, but climate disruption threatens the isthmus with flooding.

Strengthening protections could cost $600 million over 10 years.

Peter Hackett, deputy minister at the Nova Scotia Department of Public Works, said Wednesday outside a legislative assembly committee that he was too early to say when work on the isthmus might begin. He believes a plan and tenders could be presented within 12 months.

Members of Peter Hackett's team met with their New Brunswick counterparts on Wednesday and Thursday. Approximately 70% of the dike system is located on the New Brunswick side.

Preparatory work for the work includes consultations with First Nations and the public at large, as well as obtaining permits. Peter Hackett says this work is usually a formality but is more complex in this case since two provincial governments and the federal government must cooperate.

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A heavily damaged aboiteau in Amherst, a town in Nova Scotia located on the New Brunswick border. (Archive photo)

However, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are threatening to take Ottawa to court. The two provinces argue that the responsibility to pay for this work lies with the federal government.

Ottawa instead offers to finance half of the bill and let the two maritime provinces to divide the other half.

While waiting for us to agree on a strategy and a method of financing, the sub -Minister Hackett recalled that the two provinces have worked on emergency plans to maintain the movement of goods if ever strong storms or floods force the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway on the isthmus.

Based on reporting by Michael Gorman, CBC

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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