Nova Scotia

Lunenburg demolishing century-old building hit by fire

Lunenburg will demolish a historic waterfront building that was badly damaged by fire last year.

Site should be cleaned up before summer tourists arrive

The interior of the building was badly damaged. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Lunenburg will demolish a historic waterfront building that was badly damaged by fire last year.

Nobody spoke against the idea at a public meeting held at the Nova Scotia town's council office Tuesday evening. The big red building will be levelled and replaced with something new.

The building has been on Lunenburg's waterfront for more than 100 years. It was built to salt and pickle fish. It’s likely the new businesses will also be related to the fishery or marine industry.

Gerry Rolfsen, chairman of the Lunenburg Waterfront Association, said it was for the best.

"We don't like to carry on with a severely damaged building on the waterfront. As summer is coming, it will be a benefit to the town … to have the site cleaned up and prepared for the next occupant," he said.

In September, there were fears that the fire would spread to some other old buildings on the waterfront, but it was contained by the 16 fire departments who responded.

The roof collapsed and most of the interior was ruined.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jennifer Angel, vice-president of Waterfront Development, said they hope to attract a new business.

"Our intent is to go to market through public procurement and attract interest, cast a wide net. We're open to ideas. We're looking for companies that can bring jobs and other economic activity to the town,” she said.

The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home port of the Bluenose II. The new building will have to fit in, said Rachel Bailey, the town’s mayor.

"New construction would have to meet stringent guidelines, but they shouldn't impede someone doing something very productive in that location,” she said.

There is a three-week appeal process. If no one appeals, the demolition could start next month. Council hopes to have the site cleared by summer.

The fire was ruled accidental.