P.E.I. needs to rebuild 'smarter' after Fiona, federal minister says

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair meets with community members at Red Head Harbour, P.E.I. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)
Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair meets with community members at Red Head Harbour, P.E.I. (Ken Linton/CBC - image credit)

Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair announced a new national adaptation strategy for climate change while on P.E.I. Thursday, saying that part of the strategy will be new approaches to rebuilding after disasters like post-tropical storm Fiona.

"We just can't continue to rebuild as it once was, because what we're finding is our critical infrastructure in communities, even people's homes, just need to be more resilient to these kinds of events," Blair told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

"It's become incredibly expensive. And it's not just the expense, people's lives are incredibly disrupted and it can be very dangerous."

The strategy announced Thursday comes with $1.7 billion in funding, with a particular focus on flooding and wildfires.

The strategy also includes plans to revise building codes and standards for infrastructure. That will include reconsidering where infrastructure is built.

The federal government is also working with the insurance industry to develop policies that will see coverage for coastal flooding, which is currently very hard to come by. But Blair said that plan is about making insurance coverage more available, not making it available for everyone.

"If people make choices to build in areas that, frankly, are far too dangerous, then they may not be eligible," he said.

"Part of our work now is to work with communities to help them build in locations and in such a way that it'll be more resilient to these events. I think we've just got to be smarter."

The funding for the new program is in addition to disaster relief assistance already in place, said Blair.