Nova Scotia

Projects that would include Lunenburg waterfront, seabed concern community group

A community group in Lunenburg is raising concerns about developments being floated by a manufacturer that could alter the appearance of the heritage town's iconic waterfront.

'Our objective really here is we want to promote appropriate and sustainable development'

Lunenburg is both a tourism hub and an industrial town with a working waterfront. (Emma Davie/CBC)

A community group in Lunenburg is raising concerns about developments being floated by a manufacturer that could alter the appearance of the heritage town's iconic waterfront.

Save Our Lunenburg formed last year after local residents and property owners became aware of ABCO's plans to purchase and infill parcels of federally owned seabed extending into Lunenburg harbour.

George Wyatt, a spokesperson for the group, said people learned of the plans after the company, which has a long history of aluminum boat construction in the area, asked town council for a letter stating no objection to its proposal to purchase the land for a possible residential-commercial development.

'Appropriate and sustainable development'

At a public meeting of council last March, ABCO outlined two-storey townhouses as a development option for the infilled harbour area. Save Our Lunenburg members let residents know about the matter by distributing flyers around town.

"First and foremost, we didn't think putting townhouses in the middle of the harbour would really be in keeping with the character of the town," Wyatt told CBC's Information Morning, also citing concerns about environmental impacts.

"Our objective really here is we want to promote appropriate and sustainable development in Lunenburg."

A concept drawing illustrates the possibility of building two-storey townhouses near ABCO and Burns Island in Lunenburg harbour.  (Strum Consulting)

Wyatt said Save Our Lunenburg is also concerned about ABCO applying to remove properties from areas under architectural control.

Lunenburg has two such areas — along Falkland and Dufferin Streets and along Tannery Road, where ABCO's properties are located.

In those areas, there are requirements for new main buildings and additions to be similar to pre-1940 buildings, and restrictions on the size of additions and such things as cladding, roof shape and style. 

Fish shack cidery, manufacturing expansion

ABCO plans to develop a brew pub and cidery on Lunenburg's harbourfront, in partnership with Mahone Bay Brewing Company. There has been some confusion around whether that's why ABCO wants to be freed from some of the town's architectural limitations.

According to ABCO, the brew pub and cidery, which will be called Lightship Brewery, will follow local bylaws and be built "reminiscent of the fishing shacks that once occupied the same shores."

In an email to Information Morning, ABCO manager Jason Huskilson stated the company has requested to be removed from the architectural controls because "current rules limit ABCO from realizing its potential" by expanding its current manufacturing operations.

ABCO's application for removal has to go before a public meeting and a public session of council before it can be approved. 

Mayor Rachel Bailey said she 'would have a great number of concerns about a project that would entail infill or purchase of our seabed.' (CBC)

Rachel Bailey, Lunenburg's mayor, told CBC that the company has made no formal applications to develop either the brew pub and cidery, which would be located on existing harbourfront land, or the mixed-used development along the harbour.

The town has not sent a letter of no-objection to the federal government for the company's proposed purchase and infilling of portions of Lunenburg harbour.

"We found out there's a lengthy process, it involves the three levels of government, and our role doesn't come into play until the end," said Bailey, adding that the purchase and the infilling would require environmental assessment before being addressed by the municipality.  

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