P.E.I. development reconsidered due to coastal erosion

The P.E.I. government is working on a new land development policy to take into account new information on coastal erosion.
Storm surges regularly damage P.E.I. coastal properties, and the province is now looking at new development rules to protect new properties from coastal erosion. (Submitted by Marion Paynter)

The P.E.I. government is working on a new land development policy to take into account new information on coastal erosion.

Janice Harper, a provincial planner with the Department of Communities, Land and Environment, said some areas of P.E.I.'s coastline are eroding more quickly than others.

"We're not at a stage where we're looking at more detailed setbacks yet," said Harper.

"But we're looking at what makes sense going forward, knowing what we know about the rate of erosion in the coastal area."

Currently, buildings outside incorporated communities have to be placed back far enough to counter for 60 years of erosion, or about 18 metres. Given rising sea levels and more frequent storms associated with climate change that may not be sufficient in some areas.

Harper said a new policy is important because there are 30,000 approved but undeveloped building lots, many of them in coastal zones.

The challenge, said Harper, is designing a policy that doesn't discourage development but protects properties from future erosion.

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