Nova Scotia

Municipality rejects recommendations in Liverpool flooding report, citing costs

A municipality along Nova Scotia's south shore has rejected all the recommendations in a report that looked at ways to mitigate flooding in the community of Liverpool, saying the options proposed are simply too expensive

Report estimated flood-mitigation efforts would cost Region of Queens between $2.8M and $9M

The mayor said the decision was not an easy one to make. (Robert Short/CBC)

A municipality along Nova Scotia's south shore has rejected all the recommendations in a report that looked at ways to mitigate flooding in the community of Liverpool, saying the options proposed are simply too expensive.

"It was an upsetting decision to make," said Mayor Darlene Norman of the Region of Queens Municipality. 

"But doing any of those recommendations was far above the financial capacity of the Region of Queens."

The report by CBCL, a Halifax-based engineering consulting firm, was completed in November 2019, but it was not made public until Thursday. It looks at the ongoing flooding issues in Liverpool and provides projections for sea level rise in the future.

The recommendations for addressing the problems include building a seawall, raising the level of a municipal parking lot and purchasing several affected buildings so they could be demolished. The cost of the various options range from $2.8 million to $9 million.

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Municipal councillors have decided instead to apply to the provincial Flood Risk Infrastructure Investment Program to help it raise the level of just one section of Market Street between the Liverpool Bridge and Water Street.

"So that during times of ocean surge and exceedingly high tides, that road would still remain passable, especially for ambulances, fire trucks and the police," said Norman.

If the funding is approved, the municipality will do the work in its 2022-23 budget.

Norman said the municipality will also try to help people relocate and work on the creation of a new retail area for Liverpool. But the mayor said the municipality just can't start buying commercial buildings "on the backs of taxpayers."

Nancy Anningson, coastal adaptation co-ordinator for the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said Nova Scotia needs a provincial co-ordinator so that coastal communities aren't left to grapple with these issues on their own.

"How illogical is it that they're having to do this on their own, one by one?" she said.

Anningson said she tried to help the town of Annapolis Royal apply to a federal program last October and there were so many applications that the website crashed.

She added she is unaware of any Nova Scotia communities that have received any funding.

The province is working on the regulations of a new Coastal Protection Act. It will protect natural ecosystems and set up rules to ensure new construction is built in places that are safer from sea level rise and coastal flooding.

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