Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

N.-É. abandons its law on coastal protection

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Nova Scotia Environment Minister Tim Halman (left) and Municipal Affairs Minister John Lohr answer questions from reporters regarding the decision to scrap the Coastal Protection Act.


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The Nova Scotia government has announced it will not proclaim the Coastal Protection Act, which passed with all-party support in 2019.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Tim Halman, made the announcement after more than two years of waiting and three rounds of public consultations.

What we need to do is set Nova Scotians up for success and ensure we support informed decision-making, the minister said. When they make a decision about their property, they need to have the most up-to-date information on hazards and risks.

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The Minister of the Environment, Tim Halman, announced on Monday February 26 that his government would not enact the Coastal Protection Act.

Tim Halman adds that a series of laws, plans and tools related to the environment that do not ;were not in place in 2019 will help achieve the same goals as the Coastal Protection Act.

Rather than a law that would have defined how and where people can build in a way that protects them from rising seas and the effects of climate change, the government has released an online mapping tool that shows the worst-case scenario for coastal properties in 2100.

There is also a 15-action plan, with responsibilities divided between landowners, municipalities and the province. The province has hired four people as part of a navigation service to help the public use the online mapping tool and find additional resources on coastal hazards.

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The province says it will provide examples of content from municipal land use regulations that municipalities can use to help regulate coastal protection in their communities. But this work is still incomplete.

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Houses on the Nova Scotia coast

There is also a guide for homeowners when it comes to protecting their property, but nothing is prescriptive.

The government continues to work on municipal flood boundary mapping, but only a third of the province is mapped so far and officials have said that #x27;it could be until 2028 before all the work is completed.

The overall message is: we trust Nova Scotians and we respect the ability of Nova Scotians to make an informed decision about their property.

A quote from Tim Halman, Minister of Environment and Instead, Liberal MP Braedon Clark believes the province has decided to hand over difficult decisions and rules to municipalities.

I think it's the government hiding and wanting lower levels of government to take care of the problem for them, he said.

No matter how you look at it, it's a horrible decision. This makes no sense and the government cannot rationalize it.

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Braedon Clark of the Liberal Party

When the former Liberal government passed the law in 2019, Tim Halman was one of the opposition MPs who voted in favor of it.

But since the Conservatives came to power and Tim Halman was appointed minister, he has backed away from his commitment to enact the law.

Last summer, he ordered a third round of public consultations.

The Conservatives paid a consulting firm $100,000 to do the work, which included the participation of 40,000 people. The minister indicates that 1,070 people responded and that a large number wanted the law to be proclaimed, but he does not commit to disclosing the documents.

This survey was used to develop this action plan, he said.

Tim Halman has spoken repeatedly about comments he received from landowners who wanted to have the final say over what happens on their land and were opposed to the law, but he has not shared them publicly.

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Lisa Lachance is the NDP environment critic.

Meanwhile, CBC News has received more than 1,200 pages of documents, thanks to the Access to Information Act, that show people across the province are calling for the law be proclaimed.

In November, 12 municipalities called on the Conservative government to act as they struggle to cope with growing development pressure along the coast.

NDP MP Lisa Lachance said Tim Halman's response to these concerns and his government's plan were deeply troubling.

They're abandoning Nova Scotians, they're abandoning municipalities, says Lisa Lachance, adding that the government seems to be listening to a select group of people.

The majority of people want to be part of this community, they want to know that collectively we have a protected coastline.

With information from < /em>Michael GormanofCBC

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