Develop Nova Scotia: Working Waterfronts

Working Waterfronts

Investing in Lunenburg’s Working Waterfront.

The continuing implementation of the 5-year Waterfront Master Plan for Lunenburg’s working waterfront is, unsurprisingly, a complex and layered process. And success isn’t optional—the cultural, economic, and social fabric of this community depends on a well-planned and well-executed program of improvements. It’s why Develop Nova Scotia’s end-to-end approach is so important. And in Lunenburg we’re often planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining, and programming public spaces and infrastructure—all at once, and all with urgency to have impact.

By working closely with the community, and stewarding their vision over time, we’re better able to help them realize a sustainable and authentic economic future for their hometown. And, over the past year, we’ve seen significant progress on several Lunenburg’s waterfront projects.

An anchor on the waterfront, the Big Boat Shed has just marked its first full year in operation, sharing and preserving the community’s rich maritime history with Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic and master boat-builder David Westergaard. The revitalization of Zwicker & Co. Warehouse was completed during the past year, and it will soon operate as a multi-functional space that will house marine visitor services, business tenants, community events, and waterfront tourism attractions. And we’re currently working to create a marine services business cluster at the historic Smith & Rhuland Shipyard.

Looking ahead, our end-to-end approach will help the community realize even more improvements to their waterfront. First, we expect to begin activating the Zwicker & Co. Warehouse with a focus on finalizing our tenancies in 2023. Next, we plan to operationalize the new common-user infrastructure at Smith & Rhuland Shipyard. Finally, we will work with our partners at the Picton Castle Warehouse to begin planning for the renovation of this site.


Leveraging history
to build a future of
tourism recovery.

The Zwicker & Co. Warehouse is a 3-storey, 12,000-square-foot, wood-frame building on Lunenburg’s waterfront with elements dating back to the late 1800s. Its recent revitalization will help realize the community’s vision for the building and surrounding public space as a key place to welcome visitors and further integrate tourism into Lunenburg’s working waterfront in a way that works for everyone. Renovations to the first floor have enabled permanent and accessible marine visitation facilities including a marina office, laundry, shower, and accessible public washrooms for marine and seasonal visitors. As surely as the pandemic hurt tourism over the past two summers, this new multi-functional space—housing marine visitor services, business tenants, community events, and waterfront tourism attractions—is sure to help the community build back better as they welcome back more visitors by both land and sea.

Develop Nova Scotia issued a Business Development Opportunity for the lease and activation of the available spaces within the Zwicker & Co. Warehouse. A letter of intent has been signed with the top-ranked partner and we’re looking forward to working with them and community to ramp up activation of the warehouse for the 2023 season.


This has always, historically, been a working waterfront. I think we’re seeing with a lot of the investments that are being made by organizations like Develop Nova Scotia and our major employers, that the working waterfront concept also has a very special place in our future, too.

Mayor Matt Risser, Lunenburg


Continuous improvements fuel continuous innovation.

COVE South Marine Terminal

Over the past year, we completed a recapitalization of the South Marine Terminal at the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE). Through a substantial provincial investment, this project is adding 350m of wharf space with full amenities, enabling access for vessels up to 150m, along with an additional 60m of floating docks for smaller vessels and land-side access. Work includes repairing the existing marine terminal, including the marginal wharf and finger pier and enhancements to the small boat facility.

The budget for COVE also includes Develop Nova Scotia’s portion ($250,000) of the $325,000 being contributed in partnership with Innovacorp and NSBI to the Stella Maris project on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia. Stella Maris is the first multi-user undersea sensor platform in Eastern Canada—a marine instrumentation test bed, hosting marine sensors, and devices for multiple ocean technology firms.

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An impressive return on a modest investment.

Thanks to our collaborative work with partners and communities, we’re able to celebrate the completion of impressive marine infrastructure improvements in 3 prominent waterfront communities in Nova Scotia.

Now operational, improvements include better shared-access marine infrastructure in Baddeck; the construction and installation of flexible floating docks in Mahone Bay; and new floating docks and expanded boardwalks added to Halifax’s Foundation Wharf.

With this work complete, we can now turn our attention to welcoming new boaters to our warm seaside communities. The economic and social advantages of more visitors arriving by sea are sure to add to the vibrancy and economic growth of each of these beautiful destinations.

A shift of focus. But with the same goal.

As we’ve all learned over the past couple of years, sometimes you have to roll with the punches. Typically, our Marine Visitation Plan, created in collaboration with private and public sector partners, is aimed at attracting out-of-province visitors in recreational boats. Given the impacts of COVID-19 to tourism, our focus shifted to the active and growing local boating market. We developed closer relationships with associations, clubs, marinas, and partners to share safety protocols and regulations, as well as mapping new and existing boating infrastructure available to ensure we’re engaging local boaters with coordinated content and information.

Regardless of the audience, our goal is to continue to support the revitalization of strategic waterfronts around the province. Recent investment in marine infrastructure on the Halifax and Lunenburg waterfronts, as well as improvements to the recreational marine visitation program and delivery of services, have created an environment that’s conducive to marine visitors of all kinds.

Whether visitors are from home or away, we’re excited to encourage and enable growth in visitation by boat. We will continue to explore opportunities to develop destinations and marine infrastructure that showcase our extraordinary coastline and connect boaters to the best experiences Nova Scotia has to offer on land and on the water.