By Kate Watson
I’m pretty excited about the future of Shannon Park!
Since spring of this year, Canada Lands Company, with the help the consulting firm WSP, has held stakeholder engagements, a public “ideas fair” and industry round-tables with a view towards creating a vision for Shannon Park’s redevelopment.
Tonight’s public meeting revealed three development concepts for the 83-acre parcel of land, and in my opinion, the vision is right on the mark.
From these meetings Canada Lands heard that people want:
- A mixed-use, urban, walkable community with housing for a variety of ages and income levels
- Development that takes advantage of the water views and allows public access to the water
- A place that will be a gateway for Halifax and Dartmouth. A visible show piece
- Development that re-establishes Shannon Park as a social hub and that draws people in, to visit and to stay
- A place that is environmentally aware, both in its building practices and in its provision for green space
- The history of Shannon Park to be commemorated
The plans basically laid out three areas of building: a commercial core (kind of like a Burnside/office combo), a mixed-use section (a variety of housing types including town homes and mid-rise buildings) and a main street section (shops, restaurants and residential). The plans differed in the way the streets were laid out and where the public spaces were located, but they all contained a waterfront trail and ensured that the waterfront views were not blocked by the higher buildings.
The meeting was not to decide which plan was best. In fact it was made clear that none of the plans will get built exactly “as is”. But the principles in the plans will translate into the final plan, and that is a very good thing.
So, what we know for sure is that the plan is for Shannon Park to eventually hold 2,500 to 3,500 units. There will be green spaces. There will be a waterfront trail. There will be shops and restaurants. There will be offices. Shannon Park School will remain on the site. Other things like a ferry terminal and bus terminal and institutional buildings like an arts centre or museum are still possible and desirable.
The timeline for the next stages is:
- Demolition on the PMQs will begin in the new year, with other phases, including removal of the existing sewer, water, storm sewer and road infrastructure, continuing from there.
- February 2016 – the preferred development scenario will be presented to the public
- 2017- the plans will go through the HRM planning approval process
- Detailed engineering will happen between 2017 and 2018
- 2018 construction of new streets and services will begin
- The lots will go to market in 2019, and the first buildings will go up
- Development will be completed 10 to 15 years after that
Yes, it’s a looooong process, but as one participant said at the meeting, “This is a unique opportunity. We have a chance to do it all right, so we won’t have to make excuses.”