Prince Edward County where climate urgency becomes a climate emergency (but not a declaration of emergency)

Mayor Ferguson calls a press conference to explain 

SCARY SCENE- A washout of shoreline along County Rd 12 on Athol Bay has forced the municipality to close a portion of the roadway. Repairs are expected to start Monday. (Mitch McKibbon/For The Gazette)

In the 17th Century  Thomas Aquinas had it easy when his fellow scholastics tried answering questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Consider Mayor Steve Ferguson challenge.

As Jason Parks reports in the Picton Gazette,

“While an emergency hasn’t been declared in Prince Edward County as of yet in relation to elevated water levels, it’s becoming painfully obvious the horrors shore line owners and tourism operators suffered just two years ago are set to return.

“With kilometres of Prince Edward County shoreline slowly eroding by the day, roadways being closed due to standing water or washout and hundreds of acres of farm land under water and unable to be planted, Mayor Steve Ferguson convened a press conference at Shire Hall on Monday to discuss current conditions and explain why the municipality wasn’t declaring a state-of-emergency like it did in 2017.”

The Gazette quotes the Mayor, “We would also like to thank residents, businesses and visitors for their cooperation while we try to deal with circumstances we can to little about and our staff for their tireless efforts. Our primary concern has been and will remain public safety. While this might cause inconvenience to some people, public safety is of preeminent importance to us.”

He went on to explain, declaring an emergency was necessary in 2017 because the municipality had never experienced water levels as high as they had risen in 2017, our first 100-year flood.

To access, the province’s disaster relief program, current indications are the County would have to spend over $3 million in recovery costs to obtain a level of compensation and its doubtful the 2019 flood recovery would cost that much.

That declaration in 2017 caused a steep drop in the county’s own business. “With the primary tourist season upon us, the message of a state-of-emergency is not a favourable one.”

Beach Street in Wellington is closed. (Scott Johnston For the Gazette)

“We are open for business and welcome everyone. If visitors stay away because of a state- of-emergency and we lose out on business, that negatively impacts employment and that negatively affects the local economy.”

Case closed.

Still, there is no doubt that global warming has arrived in Prince Edward County. That troublesome Climate Emergency declaration remains.

It suggests, with lake levels rising and nibbling at Prince Edward’s shoreline,  the County should be taking some immediate concrete actions to reduce our climate footprint.


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