Nova Scotia·Video

Shannon Park demolition soon begins, but take one last look

Crown corporation Canada Lands may soon begin demolishing Dartmouth’s Shannon Park in the next few weeks, but before they do, they’ve offered one last look at what used to be a bustling community of churches, stores, apartments and an arena.

Canada Lands bought Shannon Park from Department of Defence 18 months ago

A tour of Shannon Park in Dartmouth's north end. 0:31

Canada Lands will soon begin demolishing Dartmouth's Shannon Park, but before the bulldozers move in, the Crown corporation offered up one last look Tuesday at what used to be a bustling community of churches, stores, apartments and an arena. 

"It's a large site and there have been people on it for a long time vandalizing and not making it easy to maintain the integrity of the buildings," said Chris Millier, the director of real estate for Canada Lands. 

Millier took CBC News on a tour of the sprawling site Tuesday.

Canada Lands bought Shannon Park from the Department of Defence 18 months ago, but it's been 13 years since more than 400 military families left the buildings. Only Shannon Park Elementary, a French immersion school, remains active.

The site is 39 hectares — about half the size of Point Pleasant Park. But despite a fence and security efforts, deer and vandals alike quickly moved in. 

"The houses have been boarded up and yet they have been accessed," Millier said. "So we will be demolishing everything and we will be doing it in phases."

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      Expect big things

      About 40 multi-unit buildings, private married quarters built in the 1950s, will be stripped of asbestos and other hazardous materials before they meet the wrecking ball. 

      Demolition is expected to take a year and cost tens of millions of dollars. The tender, in which dozens of companies have shown interest, is expected to close next week. 

      Once gone, the site will offer stunning views, including one from a Mi'kmaq settlement near Tufts Cove where Millbrook First Nation will develop four to five hectares. 

      A mixed commercial and residential site is planned, complete with a waterfront trail, shopping, and housing. Millier says affordable housing may be a part of the new site, but depends on the developers. 

      "We talked about a range between 2500 and 3500 units," Millier said. "And really, it will be next level of detail and planning and our work with HRM will determine a final mix." 

      He says Canada Lands will choose a preferred development model sometime in February. Construction may start in two years.

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