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Sackville, Amherst mayors approve of plan to protect border land from flooding

Click to play video: 'Two N.B. mayors approve of plan to protect border land from flooding' Two N.B. mayors approve of plan to protect border land from flooding
For the towns of Sackville, N.B., and Amherst, N.S., the threat of rising sea levels and flooding is a very real concern. The dikes built to keep water from flooding the Trans Canada Highway that connects the two towns could be compromised. Nathalie Sturgeon reports – Mar 19, 2022

For the towns of Sackville, N.B., and Amherst, N.S., the threat of rising sea levels and flooding is a very real concern.

The two are connected by an area of land called the Chignecto Isthmus, which serves as a transportation corridor for about $35 billion worth of goods.

Read more: Large parts of the East Coast are one ‘perfect storm’ away from being cut off from Canada

Both towns live on the edge of that stretch of land, but the dikes built to keep water from flooding the Trans Canada Highway and the towns are now under threat.

A plan has been developed looking at three options to bolster the dikes to prevent future flooding of the area, which is welcome news for the two mayors.

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“It looks very well thought out in my opinion,” said Sackville mayor, Shawn Mesheau. “Just in what I’ve seen so far.”

“I was very pleased because they were provided 10 options of which they would consider the top three,” said Amherst mayor, David Kogon.

“What pleased me the most was the emphasis that not only that the transportation corridor needed protection but the communities and the actual farmland between the two major communities Sackville, New Brunswick, and Amherst, Nova Scotia, were to be protected.”

Read more: Dikes to protect N.S.-N.B. link from flooding expected to cost hundreds of millions

Kogon, who has drawn attention to the concern of permanent flooding since 2016, said depending on the height of the sea levels when the dikes are breached, 25 to 33 per cent of Amherst could be underwater.

Click to play video: 'Rising sea levels could bring geographic changes to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick' Rising sea levels could bring geographic changes to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
Rising sea levels could bring geographic changes to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick – Nov 16, 2017

The study released on Friday offers three options for the dikes.

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It proposes raising the height of the existing 35 kilometres of dikes for an estimated $200 million, building a new dike at a cost of $189 million, or raising the existing dikes and installing steel sheet pile walls in select locations for about $301 million.

“The announcement yesterday came as extremely positive news from my perspective,” said Kogon. “I think all three options are going to satisfy my main concern, which is the protection of the Town of Amherst.”

According to the study, it would take five years for construction to start and 10 years for the project to be completed from the start date.

“To do proper consultation, leg-work, that takes time,” said Mesheau.

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