Community and public records reaching back to 1801 show that the Village of Perth-Andover experienced almost no flood events until 1976. After the construction of a hydro dam on the St. John River, the community experienced several flooding events from 1976 to 2009. However, these events resulted in relatively little damage when contrasted with the major flood in March 2012. More than 150 homes, businesses, churches, and public buildings were damaged or destroyed in Perth-Andover—a village with a population of only 1,600. This devastating incident caused unprecedented loss and highlighted the need for adaptation. The need for adaptation was made further evident when projections indicated that future water levels could exceed those experienced in 2012. A number of studies established a new scientific and engineering consensus about flood risk in the community—an issue that was largely disregarded prior to 2012. In Perth-Andover, a consensus emerged that the risk of recurring flooding must be confronted given past events, future projections, and risk assessments conducted by scientists and engineers. Historical data from the 2012 flood was used in conjuncture with vulnerability assessments to determine areas in the community that were at risk of severe flood damage in the future. Anticipating the future impacts of climate change on the severity of floods in Perth-Andover was particularly critical to the development of proactive adaptation measures. Protecting against a similar flood to the one in 2012 was not enough; Perth-Andover anticipated that due to climate change, future flooding could exceed the water levels experienced in the devastating flood of 2012.
In 2016, the Village of Perth-Andover and the Province of New Brunswick published a joint redevelopment plan to develop vibrant, safe community that is resilient to the increased risk of major flooding. A major flood in March 2012 resulted in unprecedented loss and damage to homes, businesses, churches, and public buildings in Perth-Andover. A number of studies established a scientific and engineering consensus that future water levels could exceed those experienced in 2012, and the risk of recurring flooding must be confronted. This prompted the creation of the redevelopment plan, which was based on new science and an engineering analysis of flood risk in the community. The plan set out a comprehensive course of action that included investments to locate the downtown business area at an elevation that could withstand future flooding events, considering the impacts of climate change. The plan included concept drawings, construction estimates, and identification of land requirements. Since the 2012 flood, most damaged homes were relocated or flood-proofed. The province also began developing critical roads in the community to ensure access to the hospital during periods of high water. Provincial funding was provided to renovate and flood-proof the local hospital and high school, as both were severely impacted by the 2012 flood. The implemented adaptation actions significantly improved the community’s preparedness for future flooding events. However, non-residential structures at risk of future damage were not included in the adaptation efforts of the Village. Businesses, religious buildings, and other organizations in Perth-Andover remain at risk, lacking government support to invest in protection or to relocate.