Wharf Reconstruction, Lunenburg (Railway Wharf) Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Small Craft Harbour, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Small Craft Harbours (DFO-SCH) proposes to reconstruct the existing railway wharf in the Town of Lunenburg, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. The structure has been load restricted since an assessment was completed in 2021 and requires replacement to restore full functionality to the site. The current structure measures approximately 85.3 m long and 14 m wide. It is composed of timber fenders and piles with a timber deck, with an existing abandoned railway spur spanning the eastern side of the structure. The replacement structure will be constructed within the footprint of the current structure, measuring approximately 83.1 m long and 9.1 m wide, and will be composed of a pile structure with timber fenders and sheathing with a reinforced concrete deck.

The existing railway spur will be removed, as will the building located near the southern end of the wharf and the chain link fence and jersey barriers barricading the restricted areas. The existing timber deck, stringers, pile caps and piles will be removed completely. Should piles be deteriorated to the point that extraction is not considered reasonable, piles may be cut flush with the harbour bottom. All waste generated from this project will be sorted and disposed of in adherence to applicable municipal, provincial and federal legislation.

New piles will be driven into harbour bottom to a depth of at least 3.5 m or until refusal. Steel pipe piles and steel batter piles will be installed on the interior of the structure and timber piles and timber sheathing will be installed as exterior walls. The new concrete deck will be installed with a 2% slope to an elevation of +4.25 m.


Latest update

Notice of Determination

April 30, 2024 – DFO-SCH has issued their Notice of Determination after evaluation of the wharf reconstruction at the Lunenburg (Railway Wharf) DFO-SCH, and has determined that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects and can therefore proceed.


This determination was based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • Impacts on rights of Indigenous peoples;
  • Community and Indigenous knowledge;
  • Comments received from the public; and
  • Technically and economically feasible mitigation measures.


Mitigation measures taken into account for this determination are:

  • To minimize the possibility of fish habitat contamination and the spread of aquatic invasive (alien) species, all construction equipment which will be immersed into the water or has the possibility of coming into contact with such water during the course of the work, must be cleaned and washed to ensure that they are free of marine growth and alien species.
  • Weather conditions are to be assessed on a daily basis to determine the risk of extreme weather in the project areas. Avoid work during periods which Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued rainfall, wind or wave warning for the work area.
  • An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan will be developed for the site that minimizes risk of sedimentation to the marine environment.
  • Ensure that all in-water activities, or associated in-water structures, do not interfere with fish passage.
  • Wash, refuel and service machinery and store fuel and other materials for the machinery in such a way as to prevent any deleterious substances from entering the water.
  • Construction material and debris are not to become waterborne. Do not dispose of any materials or waste into marine environment.
  • All equipment to be used in or over the marine environment is to be free from leaks or coating of hydrocarbon-based fluids and/or lubricants harmful to the environment. Hoses and tanks are to be inspected on a regular basis to prevent fractures and breaks.
  • On site, crews must have emergency spill clean-up equipment adequate for the activity involved, and it must be on site. Spill equipment will include, as a minimum, at least one 250 L (i.e., 55 gallon) overpack spill kit containing items to prevent a spill from spreading; absorbent booms, pillows, and mats; rubber gloves; and plastic disposal bags. All spills or leaks must be contained, cleaned up, and reported to the 24-Hour Environmental Emergencies Report System (1-800-565-1633).
  • Minimize disturbance to all birds and wildlife on-site and in adjacent areas during the entire course of the work.
  • During nighttime work (if any), lights are to be shielded or pointed downwards. They are to be positioned in the opposite direction of any nearby bird nesting habitat.
  • Ensure that food scraps and garbage are not left at the work site. All construction waste material will be disposed of in a provincially approved manner.
  • No one shall disturb, move, or destroy migratory bird nests.
  • Should nests or chicks of migratory birds or raptors be encountered during work, immediately stop work in that area and notify Departmental Representative for directives to be followed. Should a nest site be discovered:
    • The nest site and neighbouring vegetation will not be disturbed until nesting is completed.
    • Work undertaken immediately adjacent to such areas will be minimized until nesting is completed.
  • If an archaeological and/or historically significant item is discovered during the work activities, work in the area will be stopped immediately and the PSPC Project Manager will be contacted as well as the provincial Archaeological Services unit: Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Special Places Program - telephone: (902) 424-6475. Work will only resume at the direction of the provincial Archaeologist.
  • Workers in contact with hazardous materials must be provided with and use appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Proper safety procedures must be followed throughout the duration of the project as per applicable municipal, provincial, and federal regulations.
  • All equipment used for the works must be in good working condition.
  • No construction or infill material may be obtained from any coastal feature, namely a beach, dune, or coastal wetland.
  • Wherever possible, machinery will operate from a barge or from land or infrastructure above the high water mark in a manner that minimizes disturbance.
  • Dispose of and stabilize all excavated material above the ordinary high water mark or top of bank of nearby waterbodies and ensure sediment re-entry is prevented.
  • Control runoff of water containing suspended material or other harmful substances in accordance with requirements of all federal, provincial and municipal authorities having jurisdiction.
  • Coastal habitats outside the project area must not be accessed by heavy equipment nor used as staging areas.
  • Operate machinery in a manner that minimizes disturbance to the watercourse bed and banks.
  • Replace/restore any temporarily disturbed habitat features and remediate any areas impacted by the works, undertakings or activity.
  • Sediment controls will be visually monitored throughout the life of the project, and repaired immediately if necessary.
  • Any debris or waste material will be disposed of in a provincially approved manner.
  • Eliminate free board spillage when excavating, loading and hauling material. Do not dump petroleum products or any other deleterious substances on ground.
  • Dust control should be provided for construction activities and open soil areas, primarily by using fresh water. Waste oil or other petroleum products shall not be used for dust control under any circumstances. Where and when applicable (e.g., during a dry summer), other agents such as calcium chloride may be used for dust suppression. The use of calcium chloride will be in accordance with the guidelines outlined in Environment Canada’s Best Practices for the Use and Storage of Chloride-Based Dust Suppressants, referring to how, when and quantity to apply.
  • All dust control agents shall be stored in areas away from water bodies and contained, to prevent entry into water bodies.
  • Work is to be carried out during hours agreed upon with the Departmental Representative to mitigate any disturbance to harbour users and residents.
  • A marine mammal safety zone must be established at the work site. The safety zone shall consist of a circle with a radius of at least 500 meters as measured from the centre of the work site. If marine mammals are observed within the safety zone while in-water activities are underway, all activities must cease until the marine mammals leave the safety zone and are not observed within the safety zone for a minimum period of 30 minutes. Work may start or restart if marine mammals are not observed within the  safety zone within the 30 minute period.
  • Should nests of birds species at risk (e.g. Bank Swallow) be encountered during work, immediately notify the PSPC Project Manager for directives to be followed. Do not disturb nest site and neighbouring vegetation until nesting is completed, minimize work immediately adjacent to such areas until nesting is completed, and the proponent shall ensure that if a nest is detected within the project area, Environment and Climate Change Canada - Canadian Wildlife Service (ECCC-CWS) shall be consulted and their recommendations shall be followed to protect these areas.
  • To avoid the risk of nest destruction, the proponent shall avoid vegetation clearing during the most critical period of the migratory bird breeding season, which is April 15th through August 31st.
  • Avoid conducting work within 100 m of a Bank Swallow nest or colony.
    • If there is a Bank Swallow colony within 100 m of the work site, work should be conducted outside of the nesting season.
    • If avoidance of the nesting season is not possible, additional mitigation shall be put in place which will be developed in consultation with ECCC-CWS and may include monitoring during construction, establishment of buffer zones, or limitations/restrictions on the type of work performed.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
3 Notice of Determination - April 30, 2024
2 End of Public Comment Period - February 29, 2024
1 Notice of Intent - January 30, 2024


Department of Fisheries and Oceans - Small Craft Harbour, Maritime and Gulf Region
Chyann Kirby, Regional Environmental Advisor
Gulf Fisheries Center, 343 University Ave.
Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 9B6
Telephone: 506-866-5164
Email: chyann.kirby@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

  • Location

    • Lunenburg (Railway Wharf) DFO-SCH, Bluenose Drive, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Ports and Harbours
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Small Craft Harbours (DFO-SCH)
  • Authorities

    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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