Province buys former Portapique property of Nova Scotia mass shooter
PORTAPIQUE, N.S. -- There wasn't much left of 200 Portapique Beach Rd. when mass shooter Gabriel Wortman had finished with it during his shooting rampage in April.
Beyond the 22 murders, he torched a number of properties, including his own, in Portapique, N.S.
After investigators finished combing through the rubble, cleanup crews removed most of it, leaving the few undamaged structures on-site.
Publicly available real estate documents suggest it was quietly listed in late September and quickly purchased for about $90,000.
"My understanding is that both 287 and 200 have sold and the province of Nova Scotia has purchased them," said lawyer Robert Pineo. "We understand they were purchased for market value."
The Nova Scotia government confirmed to CTV News that it has entered into an agreement to purchase the property at 200 Portapique Beach Road. The transaction is scheduled to close later this month.
"The people of Portapique deserve healing and peace. The property is a painful reminder of the tragedy that occurred on April 18/19 and we want to make sure it is not used in a way that negatively impacts the community's ability to heal," said Heather Fairburn, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice.
"Any possible future use of the property will be carefully considered in light of the trauma experienced by families."
Wortman owned a number of properties in the area, including some undeveloped lots.
The real estate listing did note the property was the home of the Nova Scotia mass shooter, but the land was described in one listing as an "amazing lot overlooking bay and saltwater marsh and river."
Pineo, who is representing the victims' families in lawsuits that have been filed, says it's not clear what the long-term plan is.
"I don't actually know what they're planning to do," Pineo said. "But, I understand from sources that I've interviewed that the purpose, the reason the province purchased them, was to avoid somebody purchasing them on the open market that might in some way exploit the mass murder situation and cause more hardship to the families than they're already suffering."
Tom Taggart, the area councillor who has been lobbying the province to do something with the site, knows exactly what he'd do with the land.
"I'd like to see that wharf torn out there, the stone fireplace gone, the stones removed and buried, and trees planted on it and any reminder of that character's life removed from the face of the earth," Taggart said.
Taggart also takes exception to suggestions there's a stigma surrounding properties in Portapique.
It's simply a good community, which had the misfortune of being home to a reprehensible man, he says.