Catch the travelling shoreline tour to learn about coastal erosion

Journal Pioneer staff
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There’s something special about living next to the water, especially the ocean. That’s why property values rise when it’s a waterfront property or one with a water view.

Most shorelines anywhere, whether it be an ocean or a river, are dotted with houses or summer homes.

But this beautiful water view comes with a cost. Some built too close to the water’s edge are in danger of being swept out to sea as the coastline draws closer and closer.

The director of the Climate Research Lab at the University of P.E.I., told a group gathered in Abram-Village last week that there are about 1,000 homes and cottages on P.E.I. that are in danger of being swallowed up by the ocean.

Adam Fenech, the UPEI representative leading the Island-wide sessions like the one in Abram-Village, told about his neighbour who for the past three years, has been losing a metre of waterfront property each year to erosion.

Some Islanders are facing the dilemma of risking the loss of their home or cottage by leaving them where they are, or absorbing the expense of moving them back from the shore.

Rising sea levels and erosion are steadily eating away our coastlines. As more houses and cottages are erected along P.E.I.’s coast, erosion will be an even more widespread issue.

Various measures have been used to try and stop the ocean from encroaching on our territory, but the ocean is a formidable opponent. Seawalls and breakwaters don’t usually stand up well against a powerful surf.

Then there’s the danger that a larger seawall can create a shift in the sands. While protecting one beach, it can ruin another.

The impact of climate change has compelled UPEI’s Climate Research Lab researchers, like Fenech, to go forth and discuss erosion with Islanders. There are three more of these sessions coming up – in Charlottetown on July 23, in Summerside at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club on Thursday evening, and at the Alberton Community Centre on July 30.

The researchers are bringing along their Coastal Impacts Visualization Environment tool, or CLIVE, which offers a clear and alarming picture of how coastal erosion will affect Island communities. CLIVE allows users to manipulate a 3-D map of P.E.I., which simulates erosion and sea-level rise over the next 90 years and shows their impact on infrastructure. 

They are encouraging the sharing of ideas on how to adapt to these conditions.

The simplest strategy, and one being promoted by Fenech, is not to build too close to the shore.

For those who already have, we can attend these coastal erosion sessions and get involved in the discussion about the changing climate and how it’s affecting our Island home. All Islanders, whether we have a water view or not, should be concerned about erosion.

Organizations: Climate Research Lab, Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, Alberton Community Centre

Geographic location: Iceland, Abram-Village, P.E.I. Charlottetown Summerside

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