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Delays persist in Nova Scotia Coastal Protection Act implementation

By Evan Taylor Jan 12, 2024 | 1:54 PM

An overhead look at Coastal Action's living shoreline in Mahone Bay, NS. Photo: Coastal Action.

Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister, Tim Halman, has declined to disclose the outcomes of a recent survey involving property owners regarding the Coastal Protection Act. Addressing the media on Thursday after a cabinet meeting in Halifax, Halman emphasized that the information gathered is integral to the ongoing development of the coastal protection initiative.

“The feedback from coastal property owners is actively shaping our approach to coastal protection. As we finalize the details of this plan, the information obtained from the survey will be made public,” stated Halman.

This move reflects a pattern of the government distancing itself from legislation it initially supported while in opposition. Originally gaining bipartisan support in 2019, the Coastal Protection Act has faced repeated delays in its proclamation, with Halman missing multiple self-imposed deadlines.

Last year, Halman initiated a third round of public consultations, allotting nearly $100,000 for the engagement with coastal property owners. The legislation aims to delineate permissible construction zones along the coastline, accounting for rising sea levels attributed to climate change, while also incorporating safeguards for coastal features.

Despite affirmations from Halman that the province is committed to implementing some form of coastal protection, the formal proclamation of the Coastal Protection Act remains uncertain, with no specified timelines provided. The minister assured the public that the insights gathered from the recent survey would be integral to shaping the final contours of the coastal protection framework for Nova Scotia.

Throughout the delays, criticism has been launched at the government both by the Liberal and NDP parties, who feel the government in unnecessarily dragging it’s heels on this matter.