Millbrook First Nation rebuilding Mi'kmaq presence at Shannon Park
Chief Bob Gloade hopes to buy more land to build marina, public spaces and transit
The chief of the Millbrook First Nation wants to buy more land in the Shannon Park area of Dartmouth.
The band owns the title to four hectares of the 39-hectare site in an area called Turtle Grove, sometimes called Turtle Cove, where Mi'kmaq people lived until it was destroyed in the 1917 Halifax Explosion.
Chief Bob Gloade says they need more land to properly redevelop it.
"We need to broaden our footprint a little bit," Gloade said. "Not only for our benefit, but also for the remaining development."
The Millbrook band is negotiating with Canada Lands, the federal agency in charge of the rest of the Shannon Park site.
Chris Millier, Canada Land's director of real estate, says the agency is open to selling some of the property to Millbrook at some point.
"We're open to these discussions, if there's an opportunity to maximize potential, but only after the master plan approvals [by HRM] are in place," he said.
Canada Lands expects the draft master plan will be ready for public feedback at the end of February. An application to the city is expected by spring. After that, it could take a year to get approvals.
Mix of housing and businesses
Millbrook First Nation wants to collaborate with Canada Lands and create a similar mix of housing and commercial on its property.
Gloade said the redevelopment should start on Mi'kmaq land.
"We want to make sure we're first off the mark so we can start development from the shoreline inwards," he said.
Gloade says whatever is built should be unique, community-friendly and have businesses that will attract people to the area.
He'd like to see recreational space, transit and a marina.
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