I thought I would start a separate thread for all discussion concerning Shannon Park. I'd say it's a few years down the road but the site has a lot of potential. I personally want to see some density on that site with ferry access to the downtown. Perhaps something of an equivalent density as the new athletes village on False Creek in Vancouver.
From todays Herald.
Bumps or not, Shannon Park sits waiting for development
By ROGER TAYLOR Business Reporter
REMEMBER when the people who were pushing the Halifax bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games wanted to build a new stadium, athlete’s village and other facilities on Defence Department lands next to the MacKay bridge in Dartmouth?
It was later shown that 42.5-hectare Shannon Park property wasn’t large enough to accommodate all the things the games promoters wanted to build there. It turns out it was an analogy for the Commonwealth Games idea, as the boosters were constantly underestimating what it took to host such an event.
All that is water under the bridge now since the province and city wisely decided to pull the plug on the bid, citing the ballooning budget as too expensive.
The fact remains that the series of dilapidated apartment buildings, once used to house military personnel, are now an empty eyesore on the waterfront.
To the casual observer, the lands seem to lend themselves to being developed for a multitude of uses.
In fact, there is still a strong contingent who insist that Shannon Park would be the best place to put a new stadium for Halifax. It doesn’t matter, because there doesn’t seem to be any government money available for such a project. Others have advocated using the property for low-income housing, but there is concern it would only create a low-income ghetto in north-end Dartmouth.
Now, Canada Lands Co., the federal agency in charge of selling surplus government lands, has suggested Shannon Park could be redeveloped to become an environmentally friendly subdivision.
Canada Lands is talking to the Defence Department about acquiring the property, with the view to making the environmental dream a reality someday. The proposal would be for Canada Lands to develop a master plan and then sell the property to a developer.
The aim is to reduce the use of automobiles as much as possible, with the redeveloped Shannon Park fulfilling the dream of being a place where people could work and play all within a stone’s throw of their home.
Halifax’s regional planning strategy has identified the Shannon Park site for accommodation of population growth in the future, with highrise buildings and plenty of green space, and could introduce the use of solar and wind power within the urban core.
Just how far in the future that might be, we really don’t know.
The dream would probably include expansion of the ferry service to include Shannon Park to allow people to walk from their homes, board the ferry to work downtown and return home in the evening. Such a plan is expected to become increasingly attractive to future residents of the city, especially the more environmentally conscious.
The aim is to create greater population density, thus making the delivery of city services more cost-effective while maintaining an illusion of spaciousness.
Sounds like someone’s idea of utopia, but just how realistic is it to expect that everything could be fit into good old Shannon Park?
I think something has to give, and that’s where the dream will start to unravel.
For example, there are some who question the wisdom of increasing urban density. It may make the delivery of city services more cost-effective, but a cardiologist once told me that he thought such a plan had the potential of creating greater stress and therefore increased illness within the Halifax population.
Another important factor in making the creation of the planner’s dream a reality is the ability of a private developer to make the investment economically feasible.
While I tend to think efforts to improve the efficiency of the city and make it more environmentally friendly will pay off in the long run for everyone, I’m not sure how it will play out.
One thing’s for sure: there are likely to be bumps along the way.