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January 2023

The Hall’s Harbour
Climate Change Waterfront
Initiative

THE PROJECT

The Climate Change Waterfront Initiative aims to protect Halls Harbour residents, properties and businesses from rising sea levels.

The threat of the climate crisis and sea level rise is all too real for the community of Hall's Harbour.

Community members say that the sluiceway’s 'best before date has expired' and flooding illustrates dangers of sea level rise on Bay of Fundy communities. Like many other Kings County communities, Halls Harbour experienced flooding on February 18th and 19th, 2021. A heavy rain storm and melting snow combined with the high tide to flood Highway 359, leading to a temporary road closure. 

Dave Davies, HHCDA Chairperson recounts February 2021 events saying; “It couldn’t handle the water. It came in over the road, and what has to be done sooner than later is that the sluiceway has to be repaired or replaced by the Department of Highways in order for it to be able to take the large volumes of water that we’re seeing now,” Davies said.

He said that every time a major storm occurs, the force of the water takes away some of the strength of the infrastructure as supporting rocks and gravel are moved. Davies said you can see where a cave-in is developing by a guardrail on the side of the road. He said, as a community, we're “trying to get ahead of the curve” when it comes to storms and rising sea levels through the comprehensive community planning project.

WORK TO DATE

In 2022, the Halls Harbour Community Development Association (HHCDA) embarked on a planning project and engaging community members, businesses and all levels of government in a comprehensive planning exercise focusing on the adaptation necessary to protect and preserve fishing and tourism assets and more. A blueprint now exists, and the HHCDA is in the process of raising funds to start The Climate Change Waterfront Initiative.

Concept and design work


Daniel Houghton, president of Engineering by Houghton, has been working to conceptualize designs and to engineer components of the comprehensive plan. He said there is a necessity with shoreline erosion affecting community infrastructure. “Unfortunately, all indications in the engineering world is that the storms are going to get more intense and they’re going to get more often,” Houghton said. “Combine that with sea level rise and we really have to make sure we’re bolstering the shoreline to handle all that or we could be in trouble.”

The main components of the proposed work include increasing the height of the seawall for coastal protection and repairing the failing wharf. Engineering by Houghton has done sea level modelling up to the year 2100 is being factored into designs. “If we’re going to go through the effort of trying to fix it, let’s look at making sure we’re good for the next 75 or 80 years,” Houghton said.

 

The fishing industry is a key focus. Fishing boats are increasing in size and there is a need to widen the harbour channel, realign the wharves and widen them. Breakwaters must also be extended to protect the boats. 

Houghton said by increasing mooring capacity for fishing vessels, it should hopefully increase the fish export business from Halls Harbour. We hope to increase pedestrian and vehicular access, making the harbour area more accessible to tour buses, for example, while improving the overall experience for visitors.

Elements of the Hall Harbour comprehensive community planning project:

  • Additional parking capacity

  • Additional boat mooring capacity

  • Increased harbour channel width

  • Wharf rehabilitation and extensions

  • Raising and extending shoreline protection and breakwaters

  • An improved experience and harbour access for tourists

  • The long-term sustainability of Halls Harbour’s fishing and tourism industries

Support needed

HHCDA president Madonna Spinazola said that a vision grant from the County of Kings was very helpful in getting the project to the point of conceptual drawings and renderings being produced. Although plans haven’t been refined to the point that an overall dollar value can be assigned, support and subsequent funding from all levels of government will be integral to seeing the project through to fruition.

Hall's Harbour needs your help.

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