Nova Scotia·Blog

Mike Savage sees Shannon Park's 'possibility, promise and progress'

Mayor Mike Savage says it's time to 'get it done' when it comes to Shannon Park.

Alongside of Halifax's Cogswell Interchange land, the city has a big chance to meet its aspirations

Like many Dartmouth parents I recall many visits to Shannon Park, dropping my kids off at Shannon Park School or heading to the rink to catch my son's games.

While school children and hockey can breathe life into anything, Shannon Park remains a pretty desolate place these many years after the site was home to military families.

In a city known for its beauty, we have learned to avert our eyes as we cross the MacKay Bridge above Shannon Park, or to shake our heads with wonder and frustration at the years of lost opportunity.

I know the Shannon Park challenges well. In 2004 when I was elected to Parliament, one of the big issues of the day was the future of this site, which had then recently emptied out following a National Defence realty rationalization in 2001.

Waiting for ideas

The site was the subject of numerous meetings, in private and in public. In 2005, I took the federal minister on a tour of the area and we talked about its future. And still it sat, awaiting formal disposal and new ideas.

Then along came the possibility of a Shannon Park stadium for the Commonwealth Games, a dream that burned bright for a time but fizzled out with the end of the Halifax bid.

Next up was the possibility of a stadium to host the Women's FIFA World Cup — an aggressive timeline and a cost that was too rich without other public- and private-sector partners.

And, so Shannon Park sat vacant, but for the school, waiting to be transferred to Canada Lands Company for re-development.

Shannon Park: a view from on the ground

7 years ago
Duration 0:32
A tour of Shannon Park in Dartmouth's north end.

And, then last year it happened — Canada Lands took control and Shannon Park is now in play in a way it has never seriously been before.

Not surprisingly, when the idea of a stadium resurfaced, council wisely concluded the municipality shouldn't acquire land for a stadium it can't afford on its own. When, and if, the funding stars align, a stadium can be built in any one of a number of good locations.

Let's get it done

I am pleased that Canada Lands has undertaken an extensive public consultation to determine the future of this gem of a property. We are on the right track to seeing a whole new community take shape at Shannon.

And, while it's too soon to say what will be built there, I want it to be a community Dartmouth's north end, and the entire city, can take pride in.

I hope Shannon Park, like the Cogswell Interchange lands on the Halifax side, will be seized as an opportunity to meet our aspirations as a city, to design complete, transit-friendly, environmentally-sustainable communities with a place for people across the socio-economic spectrum.

Today when we look at Shannon Park we see something new: possibility, promise and progress. This optimism comes at a time when we are blessed with a bright economic future in Halifax and a renewed interest in development.

Let's get it done.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Savage

Mike Savage

Mike Savage is the mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

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