Surge protection

The January storm highlights need for Halifax's coastal protection plans

A fish store in Herring Cove fell victim to the January storm. - ROY P. DEMPSEY
Roy P. Dempsey
A fish store in Herring Cove fell victim to the January storm.

The wet winter story that hit Nova Scotia on January 2, killing two people and causing millions of dollars in property damage, gave a particularly hard punch to the local coastal communities of Herring Cove, Eastern Passage and Cow Bay. In many residents' opinion the storm was a visible product of climate change, enough so that Halifax councillors asked for a report examining the connection.

But, "it may be inappropriate to label this storm surge devastation as a Climate Change event," writes Richard MacLellan, the city's sustainability officer, in the report. "On January 2, a relatively "normal" storm in conjunction with an astronomical tide collectively resulted in an extreme weather event. In isolation, either of those occurrences would not have made a significant impact to the community---it was the combination that caused the devastation."

Still, the storm gave MacLellan an excuse to review HRM's laudable climate change adaptation measures, which deal particularly well with sea level rise and storm surges. The report, found at, is a worthy read.

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