Game changer: proposed redevelopment of Shannon Park open for public input
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- It's not quite a done-deal, but a new development at the former Shannon Park site in Dartmouth could be a game-changer on that side of the Halifax harbour.
If the proposed redevelopment goes as planned, 26 new city blocks will emerge from the old site along with housing for as many as 7,000 people.
The plan also includes 145,000 square feet of commercial space, and 15.5 acres of public park space.
"It is a game changer for the area, so we're very excited about the opportunity", Halifax Regional Coun. Tony Mancini told CTV News Monday, noting the plan includes lots of new infrastructure.
"You're going to have transit going through here, there's a potential to have another ferry that would run from Bedford to Shannon Park to Halifax and then repeat that."
The councillor's enthusiasm seems to be shared by some areas residents.
Walking his dog past the site Monday, John Macoomb said he liked what he'd heard about the proposal.
"I think as long as they factor in that they need a mix of mid to low-income housing as well as high-end housing, i think it will work," he said.
Canada Lands Company, the federal agency that purchased the land in 2014, eventually tore down dozens of abandoned apartments and other structures on the site.
Millbrook First Nation also owns a smaller portion of the sprawling parcel of land.
For a while, there was much speculation Shannon Park would be an ideal site for a proposed new stadium, but that idea eventually fizzled out.
In an email to CTV News, the organization's Senior Director of Real Estate mapped out the long journey to the current plan.
"Since 2016 CLC has worked to provide with HRM staff responses to various planning related question relating the preferred development concept for Shannon Park, which was submitted to HRM as a preliminary planning approval application in late 2016," said Chris Millier.
"In the intervening period HRM undertook the preparation of Centre Plan which was approved by Council in 2019 and which has provided the formal approvals framework for redevelopment of Shannon Park.
"In late 2019 CLC submitted the current formal application and has undertaken ongoing discussion regarding staffs' review of the application.
"The current HRM-led engagement process will enable HRM staff to finalize its review and draft a development agreement which will enable formal approval of the development concept by Community Council."
But not everyone agrees that housing is the best use for the prime piece of waterfront property.
"Residential properties can be placed anywhere - just conveniently by highways, highway access. In my opinion, this is not a good place," retiree Arnost Cepica told CTV News, adding he often visits the Shannon Park trail to walk his dog.
Canada Lands says once the design has been approved, it'll be able to proceed with detailed engineering and seek approval for construction of streets and services.
While unsure how long the design and approval process will take, Millier says construction will go quickly once it starts, wrapping up in 12 to 18 months.