Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Again, thank you to our witnesses. It's not every day, I think, that we have groups or people appear at this committee who make it interesting, but today has been, because I think most of us are affected in some way by this.
My riding of Avalon is on the Avalon Peninsula part of Newfoundland and Labrador, and all but one community is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean. People depend on it very much, so we see first-hand the storm surges, sea levels, and the changes in climate. Where I live, in particular, it's about a five-minute walk to the ocean. There's a river and a pond that at one time would freeze in late fall and wouldn't thaw out until April of the next year. Now you hardly get the chance to play a game of hockey on it before it thaws out again, then refreezes. A lot of changes are happening.
My first question would be around the sea rise and storm surges that are taking place. Communities on the ocean have a tendency to put an awful lot of infrastructure along the ocean. It could be damaged very easily with a good storm surge. In particular, my hometown, for example, will approve a subdivision to be built because, of course, the land next to the ocean is at a premium. At one time, people thought it was worth nothing. Now, it's hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get a building lot.
We see erosion year after year after year taking place. There are water lines. There are sewer lines that are very close to the ocean, and that goes ahead. Do we, as a department, ever advise provinces or communities, and say, “Look, if you're putting this infrastructure in the ground right here, you have to understand that in 10 or 20 years' time, if the sea levels reach where they are predicted to go, and storm surges increase the way we've seen them increase, you stand to lose all that infrastructure and cause a major environmental catastrophe right on the edge of the ocean”?