A recent study found that most of the coastal municipalities in Nova Scotia have action plans in place to mitigate the effects of climate change – and they are all concerned about the rising risk of flood in their areas.
Eight years ago, the former NDP government asked the province’s cities to prepare their own climate change mitigation plans under the Municipal Climate Change Action Plan program. Those plans will be funded through a $55.9 million a year budget coming from federal gas tax money.
Environmental planner David Righter conducted a study to track the status of those action plans. He found that as of 2020, 35 coastal municipalities had submitted their plans. The researcher also found that out of the 20 cities sampled for the survey, most of them followed through with their plans.
"My research found that out of the priorities that were identified in these plans, nearly 75% have been implemented, meaning they've either been started or completed since 2013," Righter, whose research was part of his master’s thesis at University of British Columbia, told CBC News.
"That's a really high number — 75% — and indicative of the success of this initiative by the province."
Righter noted that Mahone Bay, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Municipality of the District of Digby were the top scoring cities when it came to implementing their plans. His study also revealed that the action most likely to be underway was adapting land-use regulations, and the action most likely to be completed was emergency preparedness for situations like flooding.
Although most of the coastal NS cities have an action plan and have implemented at least a part of it, that does not necessarily mean any meaningful improvement was made.
"Many of the actions that these municipalities have taken are what we call groundwork actions, which are steps to prepare for action, but may not constitute actual changes to systems or the built environment in the municipalities," said Righter.