Local residents of Le Goulet have noticed an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, including storm surges and flooding, and are worried about future impacts on their homes and livelihoods. For example, in the last 15 years, four major floods resulting from coastal storm surges have affected up to 30 homes in the village. These floods contaminated drinking water supplies (salt-water intrusion), caused septic tanks to overflow and flooded access roads, hampering emergency procedures. Contaminated drinking water and mould issues continue to be problems for many homes. Le Goulet is separated from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by sand dunes and salt marshes, both of which act as important natural buffers from storm events. In 2010, Le Goulet participated in the Acadian Peninsula Project undertaken as part of the Acadian Peninsula-Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions Association (ACASA) project under the Atlantic Regional Adaptation Collaborative (ARAC) initiative. The purpose of the project was to develop planning and decision-support tools to help municipalities deal with issues of coastal flooding and erosion more effectively. Using a digital elevation model as the foundation (LiDar), coastline retreat projections, flood scenarios and analysis of the risk to infrastructure were conducted. Sea level rise and storm surge scenarios were developed by R.J. Daigle Enviro. Coastline retreat scenarios were developed and an analysis of risk to infrastructure was conducted by a team from the Université de Moncton. The tools that were developed comprise a high-precision digital elevation model based on LiDAR data, sea-level rise and storm surge projections, coastline advance and retreat projections and a database of infrastructure at risk according to various coastline flooding and retreat scenarios. The tools were used to produce maps illustrating the areas at risk of flooding or erosion in the future.
In 2004, Dr. Omer Chouinard and his team from the Université de Moncton assisted the village of Le Goulet in producing a comprehensive local plan to adapt to the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels. Le Goulet is a small fishing community with a population of 950 located on the Acadian Peninsula in northeast New Brunswick. The village is low-lying and relatively flat, two features that make it particularly vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate and rising sea levels. Local residents have noticed an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, including storm surges and flooding, and are worried about future impacts on their homes and livelihoods. Recent floods have contaminated drinking water supplies, caused septic tanks to overflow and flooded access roads, hampering emergency procedures. The development of the local adaptation plan included three phases: raising awareness; focus groups; and adaptation options. Two adaptation options were identified: A – the voluntary retreat of homes at risk; B – the construction of a 3.8 km sea wall. It was decided that relocating homes at risk from flooding (retreat) to a higher elevation is the most desirable and cost-effective means to reduce the multiple health and safety issues stemming from storm surge flooding. Rather than prohibiting all development projects in flood-prone areas of Le Goulet, the local planning commission took a more targeted approach. Using results from the discussion groups, the commission identified a zone where climate change impacts are considered a major risk that developers must consider in their plans. The zoning bylaw provides an opportunity to educate developers about the climate change related risks to people and infrastructure, and ensures that appropriate, but not prescriptive, measures are taken to accommodate those risks.