Coastal New Brunswick is increasingly susceptible to the effects of sea level rise and storm surge events related to our changing climate. Without contingency plans for such events and the implementation of adaptation measures to mitigate them, parts of the City of Bathurst could be in jeopardy when they occur. This document presents an assessment of the climate change impacts, as well as the risks and vulnerabilities of the City to coastal storm surges and erosion. At this time, the plan addresses primarily coastal sea level rise, storm surge risk, and erosion risk, as those were identified as priority hazards by the City. This assessment was carried out through an engagement process with City departments, a council committee, and a community stakeholder working group. Information obtained from this process was compiled and summarized, resulting in the identification of 31 sites that are most at risk within the City. An analysis of historical rates of erosion and predictions along the coast of the City of Bathurst was conducted. Climate models were used to project changes in average mean temperature and annual total precipitation (mm) by the year 2080. Flood risk scenarios as well as erosion predictions were used to map infrastructure at risk at various predicted flood levels in the next 85 years. Mapping was based on LiDAR, high precision digital elevation mapping, which was integrated into the City’s Geographic Information System. The risk assessment was carried out in consultation with City departments, the steering committee, and the community stakeholder working group.
After assessing risks and vulnerabilities for 31 sites across the City, Bathurst developed a Climate Change Action Plan in 2016 that addresses primarily coastal sea level rise, storm surge risk, and erosion risk. The City of Bathurst, located in northern New Brunswick along Chaleur Bay, has over 12,275 residents and faces increasing temperatures and precipitation, rising coastal sea levels, and more extreme weather events than ever. These climate change impacts are accelerating coastal erosion and damaging public infrastructure—the total cost of flood-related damage in the province exceeded $100 million from 2008 to 2012. The Plan focuses on the following three primary adaptation actions: zoning based on flood risk, general actions that can be implemented city-wide (regulating development, increasing green buffers, updating emergency plans), and specific actions for sites facing particular risks.