A number of intense storms have impacted Dorchester in recent years, including a flood in spring 2014, which cut off access to a key road, causing transportation delays and blocking access to critical services. In January 2017, a severe ice storm left over 130,000 customers without power. Climate change is, and will continue to impact economic, social and environmental assets in Dorchester. In response, a community adaptation plan was developed by forming a planning committee, which included representatives from EOS Eco-Energy, the Southeast Regional Service Commission, Village staff, council and the local community, including Fort Folly First Nation. The committee met 5 times to discuss local climate change impacts, flood scenarios, to review existing risk and vulnerability assessments, to prioritize vulnerabilities; and develop adaptation options for an action plan.
A series of coastal flood scenarios for Dorchester were developed through scientific analysis by trained climatologists, including a current 1:25 storm and a 1:100 storm in the year 2100. Several public engagement initiatives took place to gain input into adaptation options and to assess local risks and vulnerabilities. Issues identified at workshops were marked on an interactive map to create the community’s risk and vulnerability maps. Finally, Dorchester considered elements of its regional sustainability plan, Tantramar 2040, during the development of the plan. Some of the pertinent actions relating to adaptation from the plan include, for example, work with local communities to determine vulnerability of local coastline, using historic information, local knowledge, climate science, and sea level rise projections as appropriate.