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Feds should take on full responsibility of Chignecto Isthmus: senator

By Brad Perry Sep 20, 2023 | 6:38 AM

A New Brunswick senator wants to see the federal government take on the full responsibility of protecting the Chignecto Isthmus.

Sen. Jim Quinn introduced a bill Tuesday to bring the Isthmus, located along the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border, under sole federal jurisdiction.

The bill, which received first reading in the upper chamber, would see the Chignecto Isthmus declared “for the general advantage of Canada.”

In his bill, Quinn said the “corridor of national importance” is threatened by rising sea levels and increasing severe weather events.

A network of dykes and aboiteaux originally installed in the late 1600s currently protects communities, infrastructure, private lands and natural resources.

But rising sea levels and frequent severe weather events threaten the stretch of land, which is considered a vital transportation link.

Proposed fixes include raising existing dikes, building new ones, or raising the dikes and installing steel walls at select locations.

However, the repairs will not come cheap. The latest estimate from July said it could cost as much as $650 million.

Ottawa has said it would pay for half of the work, but the premiers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia say the feds should foot the entire bill.