Building with Nature: Implementing a Green Shores Approach for Shore Road, Eastern Passage
In alignment with HRM’s climate action plan (HalifACT) and Green Network Plan, the proposed Building with Nature Project involves building natural infrastructure along a 555 metre stretch of vulnerable coastal road on Shore Road in Eastern Passage.
Implementing a natural infrastructure approach to Shore Road is a priority for the municipality. In recent years, the site has seen increased storm impacts, including shoreline erosion, undercutting of the road, and resulting road closures. The road is a key access point, emergency management route, and bus route to the community of Eastern Passage. Traditional hard infrastructure approaches, such as rip rap and armour stone, have been constructed along the road, but with increasing pressures from climate change, a new long-term solution is required.
The proposed solution is to reinstate shoreline that was previously eroded. We propose to do this by removing the existing armour stone and replacing it with a new slope of native vegetated fill and cobblestones, and installing a hybrid breakwater to dissipate wave energy. This approach reflects the Green Shores for Shoreline Development Program. This will protect the road and prevent erosion by restoring natural coastal processes and intertidal habitat that has disappeared over time.
As part of the shoreline rehabilitation, a raised permeable waterfront trail will be installed, along with more trees, native shrubs and grasses, and rain gardens. This will provide public access to nature as well as stormwater management elements to improve the quality of stormwater runoff reaching the ocean.
The key objectives of the project are to:
- increase the long-term resilience of the shoreline to increasing climate change pressures;
- restore coastal ecosystems and intertidal habitat that has disappeared over time;
- improve the quality of stormwater runoff;
- enhance public access to nature;
- increase green space; and
- extend habitat connectivity by connecting the trail corridor to the nearby MacCormack’s Beach provincial park
What do we mean by “Green Shores”
This project focuses on creating a Green Shore under the Green Shores for Shoreline Development Program; a rating system for natural and hybrid shorelines that seeks to restore physical processes, maintain or enhance habitat function, reduce pollutants in the aquatic environment, and reduce cumulative impacts on shoreline environments. In practice, Green Shores are less expensive to construct than traditional hard infrastructure, and require less maintenance; all while providing habitat, access to nature, and resilience to climate change impacts such as increased storm severity.
Project Status - Updated May 24, 2023
Regional Council has directed the Mayor and CAO to sign a Contribution Agreement with Infrastructure Canada to receive funding of 60 per cent of the total project costs up to $3 million for the Shore Road Green Shores Project, with a total project cost of $5 million.
Halifax is one of the first municipalities to receive this new funding from Infrastructure Canada, supporting us in taking a natural approach to safeguarding infrastructure against the impacts of climate change. Using a natural approach has benefits for the ecosystem and to project local communities. Staff will begin to move forward with next steps for planning and public engagement in the coming weeks. It is anticipated that construction would begin in 2024.