Canada’s infrastructure minister is urging Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to apply for federal funding to protect the land link between their provinces from climate change-related flooding.
Dominic LeBlanc says he’s written to Premier Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick and Premier Tim Houston of Nova Scotia to say money is available and the deadline to apply to the disaster mitigation fund is July 19.
LeBlanc says Ottawa can pay up to half the $301-million potential cost to protect the Chignecto Isthmus – a stretch of land that connects Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The two premiers, however, are saying talks are still underway on how much each government should pay.
Higgs recently told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal that Ottawa should consider funding the project the same way it funded the Confederation Bridge – which links his province to Prince Edward Island – noting the megaproject was mostly paid for by Ottawa.
LeBlanc says the bridge represents a particular case because P.E.I. had been promised year-round transportation to the mainland as one of its conditions for entering Confederation.
The isthmus project is aimed at finding a way to protect the Trans-Canada Highway, the CN rail line and communications infrastructure from potential damage by major storms and flooding until 2100.
A study released last March said raising the height of the existing 35 kilometres of dikes would cost $200 million; building a new dike would cost $189 million; and raising the existing dikes and installing steel sheet pile walls in select locations would cost about $301 million.
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