New seawall protecting flood-prone tourist destination

Granite boulders from the mainland are being installed along the flood-prone waterfront of a popular Island tourist locale.

Seawall is intended to protect waterfront

Granite boulders are being installed to protect the flood-prone waterfront. (Donna Allen/CBC)

The community of Victoria-by-the-Sea is taking steps to keep the sea at a safer distance.

A major breakwater is now under construction along the waterfront of the P.E.I. community.

"[These are] emergency measures to protect the village," said mayor Ben Smith, gesturing at the pile of granite boulders placed along the shore and the high tide lapping at the rocks.

"We have had tides here that are much higher than this. They actually came up above the wharf.

The granite was imported from Nova Scotia. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Trucks have been dumping tonnes of the boulders since work began earlier this fall — two cranes beside the wharf are hoisting the rocks into place from a property that was purchased for the project.

Victoria is a popular tourist spot, dotted with lobster boats, artisans and sweeping views of the Northumberland Strait.

The seawall is part of $1.2 million in work done in recent years, including restoration of the old schoolhouse for use as a town hall and community centre, and establishment of a public green space behind the fire hall. The work was funded largely by the provincial and federal governments.

Mayor Ben Smith says he thinks there are more ice floes in the Strait in recent years. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Crews are now installing solar panels on the roof of the century-old schoolhouse. The steep-pitched roof is ideal for capturing solar power when the sun is low in the sky during winter.

"The direction of the roof, relative to the sun ... looked like an ideal situation for a solar system," said electrical engineer Malcolm Lodge, who is advising the community of the project.

Solar panels on the roof of the old school will generate electricity. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Both the solar panels and the seawall are slated to be complete before winter sets in.

Smith, who's served on community council for more than 20 years, said he thinks there's a lot more ice in the Northumberland Strait in recent years. He said he believes the seawall will help residents sleep better at night.

"If you've got pieces of ice floating around out there, a high tide ... and a strong southerly wind, it would destroy all the buildings there and go right up the street," said Smith.

Homes along the waterfront have faced flooding in the past. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

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About the Author

Brian Higgins

Brian Higgins began his career as a video-journalist in 1994 in Ontario. Since 2002 he has been based on Prince Edward Island. He holds degrees in journalism and biological science.