The Big Build

Millbrook First Nation rebuilding Mi'kmaq presence at Shannon Park

The chief of the Millbrook First Nation wants to buy more land in the Shannon Park area of Dartmouth.

Chief Bob Gloade hopes to buy more land to build marina, public spaces and transit

This circa 1871 photo shows members of the Mi'kmaq community at Turtle Cove (also called Turtle Grove). The Mi'kmaq lobbied for reserve status for the land, but did not get it. (Nova Scotia Archives)

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."

Chief Bob Gloade stands on the Mi'kmaq land in the Shannon Park site. He hopes to see a marina, recreational space and transit in the new development. (CBC)

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.

The Canada Lands Company owns the area outlined in yellow and Millbrook First Nations the area outlined in red. The inset yellow area is owned by the Halifax Regional School Board. (Original courtesy of Canada Lands Company)

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About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca