Halifax area developer acquires former government wharf in Bridgewater


The firm behind the Voyageur Lakes and Glen Arbour residential developments in Hammonds Plains and the Skye Halifax towers project in downtown Halifax now adds Bridgewater's former federal government wharf to its suite of properties.

United Gulf Developments of the Halifax area has acquired the south LaHave Street water and land lots from the Port of Bridgewater, the private company led by Mahone Bay area resident Rick Welsford.

Online property and real estate records show the five hectares of east side property fronting the LaHave River sold for $750,000, along with the corresponding change in ownership. The site was listed for $1.2 million.

Welsford was not immediately available for comment, and as of this writing LighthouseNOW had not received a response from United Gulf Developments after inquiring about its plans for the site. The online real estate listing noted an existing lease with Bridgewater Marina Association would factor into a potential sale.

The town's mayor, David Mitchell, was "thrilled" to learn from LighthouseNOW about the property transaction.

"This is very, very exciting news for everyone in the community, especially if it's a developer that has a history of developing," Mitchell said.

At the time of the interview, he was not aware of what's planned for the property but that did not stop him from imagining the prospects of the area being a waterfront shopping, dining and residential destination, similar to Bishop's Landing in Halifax.

"The potential of now seeing those rusted ships leave that wharf and (the site) really become something special to see its full potential in terms of having a new owner, that's exciting. I'm thrilled," the mayor added.

The wharf property transferred to private interests from public ownership in the 1990s during the federal government divestiture process involving port assets. The appearance of some vessels tied up at the wharf, abandoned or whose ownership was unconfirmed for years, became frequent targets of complaints, including ones levelled by elected officials. Two former navy ships that called the Bridgewater port home eventually departed, bound for the scrap yard - the Fraser in the early 2010s and Cormorant in November 2020.

Meanwhile, proceeds from the sale of the port property, which was on the market for more than 200 days, gives the Port of Bridgewater an opportunity to resolve a six-figure bill the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund, which claims it is owed for salvage and clean-up costs connected to an incident involving the Cormorant in 2015. In a previous interview with LighthouseNOW, Welsford said, "If the bill is justified, that would be one way of paying the bill."

The Port of Bridgewater assumed custody of the Cormorant in a 2019 federal court ruling after the vessel's Nevada-based owners stopped involvement with the boat.

There remains ongoing litigation between Welsford/Port of Bridgewater and the federal government and a former MP concerning dealings involving the Cormorant.

Thank you for printing this article from lighthousenow.ca. Subscribe today for access to all articles, including our archives!