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Critics pan rationale for Nova Scotia government’s coastal protection survey

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government has finally released a consultant’s survey that opposition parties say doesn’t address the important question of whether coastal property owners want legislation aimed at protecting the province’s coastline.

Group ATN Consulting conducted the survey between Sept. 29 and Nov. 8 of last year, but the government only published a summary of the results on Friday.

In February, the Progressive Conservative government said it would shift responsibility for coastal protection to municipalities and property owners, instead of proclaiming the Coastal Protection Act.

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said the newly released summary doesn’t explain the Tories’ rationale for not moving ahead with the legislation, which was adopted with all-party support by the Liberal government in 2019.

Marla MacLeod, of the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, says the survey was part of a third round of consultations and produced no surprises with a majority of people in favour of new rules to protect the coastline.

MacLeod says the third round of consultations was “completely unnecessary” and points out that the government completely disregarded the results.

A total of 1,072 coastal property owners participated in the consultation — a response rate of 2.68 per cent after 40,000 questionnaires had been distributed.

Asked whether new rules were needed to protect new buildings or new renovations from coastal erosion, flooding and rising sea levels, 629 respondents said they were in favour, 236 opposed, and 198 were unsure.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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