Flood, heatwaves and drought threaten Prince Edward Island in the future: climate change report

Our planet is changing. Our journalism too. This story is part of a CBC News initiative called Our changing planet to show and explain the effects of climate change and what is being done about it.

Heat waves, floods, ice storms and drought are among the scenarios islanders will face in the coming decades due to climate change, according to a climate change risk report released on Wednesday.

At Lennox Island First Nation, with many homes near the water and the only road access via the causeway, they take the risk seriously.

“We are worried, very worried,” said Chef Darlene Bernard. “Climate change is real. We are a small coastal community. We are concerned because… Hurricane Dorian opened our eyes.”

Chief Bernard says her community on Lennox Island has suffered shoreline losses. (Skype)

“We know there will be more storms to come and there will be more erosion.”

The 176-page Climate Risk Assessment says that by 2050, islanders will experience much more severe weather conditions, including coastal erosion, heat waves, heavy rains, flooding, severe ice storms and drought.

The report warns of possible deaths in heat waves – especially among the elderly, infants and those already at risk.

At Martha Place, an affordable housing complex in Charlottetown, the units include heat pumps, and Kings Square Affordable Housing president Bill Campbell said future projects will include even more measures like extra insulation in the roofs. and the walls.

Bill Campbell says his group is including tough insulation in new construction to better protect residents from climate change. (Brian Higgins / CBC)

“All of this costs money and we have no options left. We have to start doing this to prepare for the consequences of climate change,” Campbell said.

Kings Square plans to launch 120 new affordable housing units in Summerside at any time, including additional measures to mitigate the shock of climate change.

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“Last summer was like a drought”

The rivers and streams of PEI and the fish that live there will be threatened, both by flooding and drought.

Central Queens Wildlife Federation staff say they’re already seeing changes.

Jordan Condon says heavy rains create silt runoff that creates poor habitat for fish. (Brian Higgins / CBC)

“Last summer was like a drought,” Jordan Condon said.

“Salmon were using strange habitats to spawn simply because the water levels were so low, which could have a long-term effect, using lesser quality habitat.”

The community is losing “feet” of shore

Back on Lennox Island, a resident told CBC News he could see the erosion of the shoreline with his own eyes, bit by bit.

They have reinforced their commercial wharf with additional rocks along the shore in recent years.

“Our community has lost its feet. Feet, feet, feet, not inches, ”said Chief Bernard. She said they had tallied the cost of moving the entire community, if need be, and it could reach over $ 50 million.

For now, they are proposing to install more rocks, and tons, to protect the shore there.

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