Peggy’s Cove is one of Nova Scotia’s most iconic attractions. The unique coastal experience receives national and international recognition and high levels of visitation. With expansive granite rocks, bold coastline, crashing waves, and a historic lighthouse—Peggy’s Cove exemplifies the quintessential Nova Scotia that visitors love, and residents cherish.
It is also a living community, an active fishing village, and home to year-round residents.
The Peggy’s Cove Master Plan Project began through the Tourism Nova Scotia’s Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program (TRIP), an infrastructure funding program focused on revitalizing Nova Scotia’s most competitive tourism icons.
Develop Nova Scotia has been working with the community of Peggy’s Cove to create a comprehensive master planning and design process for the community. Given the Cove’s unique identity as both tourism icon and living community, and the significant challenges caused by its popularity, this work is focused on balancing a number of important priorities:
- Ensuring the continued liveability of the community alongside tourism activity
- Creating a safe, accessible, and engaging experience for locals, visitors, and business operators
- Protecting the community from the impacts of climate change and sea level rise
- Protecting the icon’s value and the direct and indirect value that it generates for the province
The challenges facing the Cove are not new and there is significant urgency as the quality of life for residents is decreasing, the impacts of climate change are steadily increasing, and while visitor numbers are up, visitor satisfaction is decreasing overall.
The Develop Nova Scotia team are builders—both of things and of community. In all of our work, we know that how we build places is as important as what we build. Our partnership and collaboration with the community of Peggy’s Cove has been essential to ensure we are planning with and for the community and that we are guided by the community’s vision for the future.
Vision for the Community of Peggy’s Cove
Peggy’s Cove is a world-class fishing village. People feel proud to live here, families thrive here, and residents benefit financially from hosting the world.
Peggy’s Cove is a visually authentic and beautiful community with the appropriate physical infrastructure (roads, washrooms, garbage collection, etc.).
Peggy’s Cove has effective, clear, and fair rules, regulations, and governance to manage the community first, while accommodating tourism demands so that visitors enjoy their experience and learn about the “real” Peggy’s Cove.
Co-creating the Plan | 2018-2019
With the partnership and support of the community and our project partners, a lot of heavy lifting has been happening behind the scenes since 2018.
Creating a comprehensive master plan was vital to ensure that today’s planning and development is rooted in the long-term vision and limitless potential of the place and the tourism icon. And co-creating the plan with community residents and stakeholders was essential to ensure we get it right.
The engagement process for Peggy’s Cove was based on a “community-first” approach to ensure that residents and locals had adequate space to share their experiences, concerns, needs, and ideas without being overshadowed by the many associated stakeholders. Most importantly, Peggy’s Cove residents were essential collaborators in co-creating the plan.
Moving to Design | 2019-2020
Following the development of the plan and its presentation to the community, the next phase of work focused on the upfront design and feasibility testing of design elements proposed in the draft master plan. Develop Nova Scotia issued a public tender to support this design work, which was awarded to Harbouside Engineering Group in December 2019.
To ensure representative community voices continue to be actively engaged in the work and that community feedback and perspectives continue to guide it, Develop Nova Scotia followed the community’s recommendation and convened a Project Working Group to actively consult on the design work and progress.
The Project Working Group was comprised of community members, business owners, and project partners. The group met multiple times during an intensive design period from February through March 2020.
What’s Happening Now? | 2021
The refinement and iteration of various design elements has been ongoing throughout 2020 in close collaboration with the community of Peggy’s Cove.
In response to public health guidelines related to COVID-19, we’ve been meeting with community members in a number of ways—virtual meetings/conference calls, outdoor walkabouts, phone calls, one-on-one meetings with residents, email and website communications, and community mailers. Through this continued engagement we present revised designs, discuss strategic phasing of work, and keep them up to date on project developments and funding updates.
In spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19—for tourism destinations, for local business, and for how we move our work together in Peggy’s Cove forward—the circumstances have also presented a number of opportunities to really dig into how we can bring the draft Master Plan to life while minimizing impact on residents and the visitor experience.
In May 2020 the Province announced an investment of up to $230M to improve infrastructure and help get the economy moving again. The funding will support more than 200 shovel ready projects, creating up to 2,000 jobs.
Through an investment of close to $38M, a number of these stimulus projects will be led by Develop Nova Scotia, including some of the up-front infrastructure improvements in Peggy’s Cove that will begin to advance the draft Master Plan and bring the Community’s vision to life.
We already knew the people of Peggy’s Cove were an adaptable and resilient bunch, but their willingness to adjust how we tackled the design phase together is further proof of that.
Throughout the spring and summer of 2020, we’ve been collaborating with the community to finalize the design of a strategic grouping of initial infrastructure improvements. We’ve also been working with community to ensure construction mitigation plans are in place to minimize impact on businesses and residents in the village.
We began construction during Fall 2020 and tenders for construction have been released in strategically-grouped tender packages that have been rolling out since August 2020.
The tender packages that have been released and awarded to date include:
- road work and improvements
- VIC parking lot expansion
- revamp of turnaround near lighthouse
- breakwater reconstruction
- Historic DeGarthe Studio repairs
- New Public washroom at the Cove
Tender Package #3:
- Parking Inventory System to inform Traffic Management Plan
Tender Package #4:
- Accessible Viewing Deck
- New Public Washroom (Lighthouse area)
Note: this piece of the project was tendered in two parts
To view the full public tender documents or for more information on the projects, click here.
For the latest construction updates in Peggy’s Cove, click here.
NEW Viewing Deck | January 2021
The new Viewing Deck is a key piece of the master plan focused on creating a safe and accessible visitor experience.
The design has been developed in close collaboration with the community and the work is being led by Develop Nova Scotia and is funded by Tourism Nova Scotia’s Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program (TRIP), the Province of Nova Scotia, and ACOA.
The viewing deck and railings will be made of wood and steel, materials that will last and complementary to the rugged terrain The rail guard will be steel knit pattern that resembles fish net. It will be set into the landscape and take the shape of the rock so as to avoid overshadowing the real attraction at Peggy’s Cove, the landscape and lighthouse. Lighting is subtle and focused on safety, placed with the handrail or wheel guards, so as not to detract from the landscape and lighthouse at night.
It will be a public space where people can view the lighthouse and experience the waves and rocks in a way that is fully accessible and provides a safer viewing option for all. Other related improvements include public washrooms and improvements to trail connections that lead to the lighthouse and nearby parking area.
Public Information Session | JANUARY 2021
Updated: February 18, 2021
Pride of place is alive and well in Nova Scotia! Following the announcement of the Viewing Deck on January 15, 2021 we received an outpouring of questions, ideas, and feedback (positive and negative) from Nova Scotians and lovers of Nova Scotia. There is a special place in everyone’s heart for Peggy’s Cove and that’s why the work we’re leading with in collaboration with community, tourism operators, area businesses, and partners is so vital. Ensuring Peggy’s Cove is sustainable and accessible into the future is what it’s all about.
We never shy away from a crunchy conversation—we firmly believe they build community and they challenge us to do better work. In light of public health guidelines at the time, we hosted a virtual Public Information and Question & Answer session on January 28, 2021 to provide an overview on the Peggy’s Cove Project and address any questions and concerns.
For a full, written transcript of the Q&A portion of the session, click here. A complete recording of this session can be viewed below:
Note: you will not be able to view the ASL interpretation referenced in the introductory audio. Closed captions have been embedded to supplement.
There will be more opportunities for public engagement with this work as we move forward. We will continue to welcome feedback and input and—if there is a compelling reason to make adjustments—we will. Our approach to engagement will always be community-first, but we recognize that we need to work harder to reach residents in the area and Nova Scotians at large. And we will.
Check back for information on future public sessions and engagement opportunities.