Negotiations on Shannon Park proposed redevelopment in final stages

By Michael Lightstone

Lengthy talks regarding the proposed redevelopment at Shannon Park in Dartmouth appear to be close to wrapping up.

A city hall spokesperson said Monday negotiations between the proponent, Canada Lands Company, and planning staff with Halifax Regional Municipality are “in the final stages.”

Ryan Nearing said the parties are “working on finalizing permitting land-use regulations and matters of subdivision.”

The intention, he said via email, “is to have a staff report and development agreement delivered to the local community council in the coming months.”

A redevelopment proposal will come under the scrutiny of Harbour East-Marine Drive Community Council. 

An application for a development agreement was filed in 2019 by a consultant on behalf of Canada Lands. The federal Crown corporation is the principal property owner at Shannon Park; the company in 2014 acquired about 33 hectares of the former Department of National Defence lands.

According to the municipality, the proposed redevelopment includes 26 city blocks, 7,000 residents living in various types of  buildings, commercial space, public parkland and the potential for future Halifax Transit ferry service.

The old military housing site near the MacKay Bridge is now a collection of vacant lots, except for an elementary school, a walking-and-cycling trail and parking lots.

DND’s link to the land dates back to 1949. By 2003, the last of the military personnel housed there were living elsewhere.

Part of the Shannon Park plan involves about 3.6 hectares that have been transferred to the Millbrook First Nation as an addition to its reserve. Halifax Regional Council last year endorsed the creation of reserve land in a section of the proposed project.

A municipal services agreement between the Millbrook First Nation and municipality will be needed “once development plans have been finalized,” a city hall staff report says.

The negotiated development agreement with Canada Lands is to identify the location of streets, parks, and new lots “and provide provisions for the subdivision of the land,” the municipality’s website says. The agreement will also set building heights.

Michael Lightstone is a freelance reporter living in Dartmouth

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