Coastal Protection

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The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) is developing new rules that will impact how development occurs along our coast. MODL has a responsibility to its residents and our environment to ensure that new homes, businesses, and other structures are not placed in areas that could be at risk of coastal flooding or erosion, while protecting our natural assets from potential harms caused by development. The new regulations are intended to meet two primary objectives:

  1. Protecting our communities from our coast: Keeping human activity away from the risks posed by coastal erosion and flooding.
  2. Protecting our coastline from

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL) is developing new rules that will impact how development occurs along our coast. MODL has a responsibility to its residents and our environment to ensure that new homes, businesses, and other structures are not placed in areas that could be at risk of coastal flooding or erosion, while protecting our natural assets from potential harms caused by development. The new regulations are intended to meet two primary objectives:

  1. Protecting our communities from our coast: Keeping human activity away from the risks posed by coastal erosion and flooding.
  2. Protecting our coastline from us: Protecting our sensitive coastal ecosystems from the impacts of human activity and development.


Why is MODL doing this?

Regulations controlling where and how coastal development can occur in MODL are needed now. We are facing a climate emergency that is causing rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events. At the same time, development pressures and land values have resulted in unsustainable forms of development along our coast. In some cases, due to their size and location, substantial levels of rock armouring or other hardened shoreline treatments are required to protect these properties, potentially causing negative impacts on local ecosystems and public spaces.

Much of the unsustainable development currently occurring is being driven by a lack of existing regulations. Most coastal communities in MODL have no regulations on how close structures can be to the coastline or coastal wetlands, or how elevated above sea level new structures must be built. While the Province of Nova Scotia passed the Coastal Protection Act four years ago, regulations to implement this legislation have still not been introduced. In the absence of provincial action, MODL is moving forward to fill this gap.

What regulations are being proposed?

The Municipality is considering regulations to ensure that new development is not placed in areas that are at risk of coastal erosion, coastal flooding, or that would cause harm to sensitive ecosystems such as coastal wetlands or sand dunes. More specifically, regulations could introduce special requirements or limit new building in the following areas:

1. Areas at risk of coastal erosion

Regulations to protect structures such as houses from the risks of coastal erosion are typically in the form of horizontal setbacks from the water or edge of a cliff. The goal of the setback would be to ensure that new structures are located in areas that are safe and where they could remain in place for the lifespan of the structure (typically 70-100 years). There are different methods to establishing these horizontal setbacks that range from one-size-fits-all approaches to site-by-site evaluations. To learn more about coastal erosion click here. To help shape the regulations you would like to see please fill out our survey here.

Example of a horizontal setback related to erosion risk.

2. Areas at risk of coastal flooding

Regulations to protect structures such as houses from the risks of coastal flooding are typically in two forms:

1. A vertical elevation requirement for new buildings, or

2. Limiting building within areas deemed to be at risk of coastal flooding.

The goal of these regulations would be to ensure that new structures are located in areas that are safe. It would also be intended to ensure those buildings could remain in place for the lifespan of the structure (typically 70-100 years), and to ensure human lives and emergency responders are not put at risk. There are different methods to establishing these regulations, but all of them take into account the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge. To learn more about how vertical elevations deal with coastal flooding click here. To help shape the regulations you would like to see please fill out our survey here.


Example of a vertical setback related to coastal flooding.Example of a vertical elevation or setback related to coastal flooding.


3. Areas within or near sensitive coastal ecosystems

Regulations to protect sensitive coastal ecosystems such as coastal wetlands and dunes are typically in the form of conservation zones that limit development, and setbacks from the edge of these features to lessen the impact of nearby development. The goal of these regulations would be to help protect the integrity and function of these important natural assets and to preserve them into the future. To learn more about sensitive coastal ecosystems click here. To help shape the regulations you would like to see, please fill out our survey here.

Example of a coastal wetland that is part of a sensitive coastal ecosystem.


Where will these regulations apply?

All properties directly bordering either the ocean or along the LaHave River (to the border with the Town of Bridgewater) are currently being considered within the project area. In addition, environmental features such as coastal wetlands or sand dunes that have a direct function which relates to the ocean are also being considered as part of the project area. However, the exact geography of where any new rules would apply has not yet been determined, as this partly depends on the type of regulatory approach used.

When will the regulations be approved?

The Municipality is looking to introduce these new regulations as soon as possible, while also ensuring that the process gives ample time and opportunity for public input and education. The current timeline aims to have the regulations approved by the end of 2023.

How can I get involved?

We want to hear from you! Everyone is encouraged to have their say in this process, and we’ve included a variety of opportunities to get involved. This includes several in-person open houses, a free public workshop, an online survey, an interactive map, and opportunities to send in general comments.

We are also committed to undertaking this process in a transparent manner. In order to stay up to date and receive project emails, we highly encourage you to subscribe to this project page along the right side of this webpage under the Stay Informed link. Public input will also be summarized in a What We Heard report that will be shared here, along with a presentation at a public meeting of Council.

  • Council First Reading for Coastal Protection Regulations

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    On February 27, 2024, during a regularly scheduled Council meeting, the Coastal Protection regulations will be brought forward to Council in the form of an amended Municipal Planning Strategy and a new Municipal-Wide Land Use By-law. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held in Municipal Council Chambers at 10 Allee Champlain Drive, Cookville. Council meetings are open to the public and any interested residents are encouraged to attend.

    The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg's (MODL) current Municipal Planning Strategy needs to be repealed and replaced with a new document that includes edits to older sections and the addition of new sections pertaining to the Coastal Protection policies. To view the proposed amended Municipal Planning Strategy, please click here.

    In addition, a new Municipal-Wide Land Use By-law document has also been prepared which contains Coastal Protection regulations. The document contains standard regulatory information such as title and purpose, definitions, administration, and a general provisions section that includes specific Coastal Protection regulations. To view the proposed new Municipal-Wide Land Use By-law, click here.

    An interactive map that residents can use to see where the new Coastal Protection regulations will be applied in their community is also available. To view the map, click here.

    A staff report outlining the approvals process has been prepared and is available by clicking here. Next steps in this process involve public information meetings and a formal public hearing. This website will be updated as soon as dates and times are confirmed.

  • Council Direction on Coastal Protection Regulation Options

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    On January 9, 2024, Council discussed alternative options for the Coastal Protection regulations. After hearing input from the public and a thorough discussion, Council passed three motions which included that Council endorse:

    1. The proposed regulations contained within Option 1 Coastal Flooding, as presented in Appendix I, Table 1, with the addition that non-conforming allowances are permitted effective of the date of the by-law, and direct staff to draft a Municipal Planning Strategy amendment and new Land Use By-law respecting these measures, and report back to Council with draft regulations for First Reading.
    2. The proposed regulations contained within Option 2 Coastal Erosion, as presented in Appendix I, Table 2, and direct staff to draft a Municipal Planning Strategy amendment and new Land Use By-law respecting these measures, and report back to Council with draft regulations for First Reading.
    3. The proposed regulations contained within Option 1 Sensitive Coastal Ecosystems, as presented in Appendix I, Table 1, and further, add wording to exclude all rivers from the coastal regulations, and direct staff to draft a Municipal Planning Strategy amendment and new Land Use By-law respecting these measures, and report back to Council with draft regulations for First Reading.

    Click here to view the regulations options report for Coastal Protection.

    Staff is now drafting policies for Coastal Protection and is targeted to return to Council for First Reading in February 2024.

  • Upcoming Council Meeting to discuss Request for Decision for Coastal Protection Regulations

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    Council will discuss staff alternative recommendations pertaining to the Coastal Protection regulations at a regularly scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday January 9, 2024. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held in Council Chambers at the Municipal Office (10 Allee Champlain Drive, Cookville).

    Council meetings are open to the public, and any interested residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about the proposed Coastal Protection regulations. Click the following link to view Council's agenda for January 9th, 2024. Draft maps, can be found at the top right of this page.

  • New Date: Update on Coastal Protection Regulations

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    On Tuesday November 28, 2023, Municipal Council met during a regularly scheduled Council meeting to discuss the recommendation of the Planning Advisory Committee pertaining to the Coastal Protection regulations. Staff provided a detailed presentation outlining the recommendations for Coastal Flooding, Coastal Erosion, and Coastal Ecosystems. To listen to the November 28, 2023, Council meeting recording, click here.

    After a thorough discussion, Council passed the following motion:

    “That Municipal Council direct Staff to prepare alternative options for coastal protection land use policy recommendations based on the public consultation, Planning Advisory Committee recommendation and Council deliberations."

    Staff is expected to return to Council with alternative options for the coastal protection land use policy recommendations on Tuesday January 9, 2024. The meeting on January 9 is a regularly scheduled Council meeting and will begin at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at the Municipal Office (10 Allee Champlain Drive, Cookville). An agenda and report for the January 9 meeting are expected to be posted both on modl.ca and MODL's Engage site on Thursday January 4, 2024.

    Council meetings are open to the public and any interested residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about the proposed regulations.

  • Upcoming Council Meeting to discuss Request for Decision for Coastal Protection Regulations

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    Council will discuss the Planning Advisory Committee's recommendation pertaining to the Coastal Protection regulations at a regularly scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday November 28, 2023. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and will be held in Council Chambers at the Municipal Office (10 Allee Champlain Drive, Cookville).

    Council meetings are open to the public, and any interested residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about the proposed Coastal Protection regulations. Click the following link to view Council's agenda which includes the Planning Advisory Committee's recommendation, available on this site under Background Documents. Draft maps, which are associated with the Planning Advisory Committee's recommendations, can be found at the top right of this page.

  • Council Request for Decision for Coastal Protection Regulations

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    The Planning Advisory Committee's recommendation to Council pertaining to the Coastal Protection regulations is scheduled to appear on the agenda at the November 28, 2023, Council meeting.

    Council meetings are open to the public, and any interested residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about the proposed Coastal Protection regulations.

  • Coastal Protection Recommendations Report

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    You can now read the Coastal Protection Recommendations Report!

    The Recommendations Report outlines staff recommendations for regulating coastal development and protecting the coast in the Municipality going forward. A special Planning Advisory Committee meeting that is open to the public will be held at the Best Western (527 Nova Scotia Trunk 10, Cookville) on October 12, 2023, starting at 7 p.m. where planning staff will present the recommendations and hear from the public and the committee. The event will also be live-streamed on the MODL Facebook Page.

    To read the full report, click the following link: https://engage.modl.ca/36890/widgets/154176/documents/115101

  • Coastal Protection What We Heard Report

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    You can now read the Coastal Protection What We Heard Report (WWHR)! The Coastal Protection WWHR summarizes all the feedback that was collected through the various forms of public engagement on the topic of Coastal Protection. A special Council meeting that is open to the public will be held on August 29, 2023, from 9AM - 12PM where planning staff will present the WWHR findings.

    To read the full report, go to https://engage.modl.ca/coastal-protection and scroll down to 'Background Documents' on the right side of your screen, then click 'Coastal Protection What We Heard Report 2023'.

    The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg extends our gratitude to everyone who participated, your feedback is invaluable to the progression of this project.

  • Project Update

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    Thank you everyone for your interest and participation in this initiative!

    A What We Heard report is being prepared to summarize the input you've provided and it will be presented to Council at a special meeting on August 29th, at 9am which will be held at the municipal building at 10 Allée Champlain Drive, Cookville, NS. The report will also be posted to this site in the days leading up to the 29th. Workshops with Council will be held in September, with staff recommendations and draft regulations coming forward in the Fall. Further updates will be provided on upcoming public meetings in the coming months.

Page last updated: 19 Jun 2024, 06:11 AM