In late 2003 Clearwater Fine Foods announced the planned divestiture of its sizeable Lunenburg real holdings: eight wharves, 24 buildings and approximately 14 acres, consisting of the bulk of Lunenburg’s historic waterfront. Every aspect of Lunenburg’s economy, identity and culture, and its appeal as a place to live and work is related to the town’s status as a working waterfront community. The waterfront is the core economic engine of Lunenburg, not only in direct marine-related jobs, but also as a major generator of visits in the town’s successful tourism sector. The complex role of the waterfront would be compromised if it became something other than an active working place between sea and land. It is the consensus that the area for sale should remain part of a working waterfront. While heritage and cultural issues are also at stake, the ultimate defining issue is the overall economy and most specifically, jobs. In recent years many jobs have been lost or displaced due to a downturn in the fishery. A well-planned working waterfront can help to reverse this trend.

Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc.
A volunteer group of area citizens, residents, business persons and community leaders who would later form the steering committee of the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. [LWAI] began meeting in December 2004 to develop a strategic plan to secure and revitalize Lunenburg’s working waterfront. The Lunenburg Waterfront Association adopted The Mission to secure and revitalize the Town of Lunenburg’s working waterfront. The overwhelming conviction is developing that a reactivated working waterfront is possible, practicable and is the best use for this unique resource. The Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. plans to ease the barriers for entry and work at the water’s edge and to create an attractive marine enterprise zone for a wide variety of enterprises, including existing enterprises; marine commercial ventures; renewed fishing; tall ships; a year-round educational institute; educational and passenger vessels; boat building and rigging; boat service and supply; fish market; cargo vessels and other enterprises.

A public symposium was held in Lunenburg in May 2005 so the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. could describe its objectives and to invite public comment. This day-long event featured speaker presentations and a thorough public discussion that resulted in strong public support for the plan to preserve and revitalize the working waterfront. The second symposium was held on June 24, 2006. Its purpose was to review progress over the past 12 months, to initiate a campaign for general community membership in the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc., and to announce the commencement of a study to prepare a Business Plan for the Waterfront.

To achieve an ideal mix of public and private activity of the waterfront, the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. has adopted a policy that waterfront land should remain in the public domain in perpetuity. Therefore, the LWAI’s preference is to sell buildings and wharves, and to complete leasehold agreements for the lands upon which these structures sit. It is a principle of the LWAI that any existing enterprises on the Lunenburg waterfront are supported and would have reasonable opportunity to remain, and be encouraged to grow and be part of the overall solution. The LWAI views the goal of increased public pedestrian access as highly desirable. We will make every effort to allow public access along the waterfront areas commensurate with public safety and business liability.

Community Ownership
The Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. intends to assume ownership of the waterfront lands as soon as we can demonstrate to the Provincial Government, the ability to return to them, over time, the purchase price of $5.5 million. All parties recognize that this could be a long term process. The Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. wants our community to join us in this effort by becoming members of the Lunenburg Waterfront Association. The Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. is a “not for profit” corporation run by a wholly volunteer team. A membership
plan has been established so that anyone interested may participate. We hope that all those who value Lunenburg’s working waterfront will vigorously support and maintain the Lunenburg Waterfront Association Inc. as members.