Silent nights (and days) at Shannon Park

Sports fields at unused military property will remain off-limits, even while redevelopment lags.

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Shannon Park, as it once was. - VIA CLC
  • via CLC
  • Shannon Park, as it once was.


They’re not exactly fields of dreams. They are more like unused playing fields of tall grass and untidy turf.  

The outdoor sports area at Shannon Park in Dartmouth is owned by Canada Lands Company, the federal Crown corporation overseeing the redevelopment of the surplus military property. It’s not totally unusable, but future versions of the soccer matches, rugby practices and softball games of yesteryear won’t be happening, a Canada Lands spokesman says.

  “These lands have been included in the concept plan for the comprehensive redevelopment...of the (Shannon Park) property,” Chris Millier says in an email.

“While a small portion of the recreation area continues to be utilized by the Shannon Park (Elementary) School, these lands will generally remain undeveloped until such time as the area is prepared for redevelopment.”

  The neglected-looking land includes a football/soccer field, a long-gone softball diamond, an open area once used for children’s soccer games and practices and a fenced-in spot for tennis. There’s also a gravel jogging track that goes around the football field.

  Today, the unkempt fields are sometimes used by students walking to and from school, local pet owners and their dogs (on- or off-leash), and, in summer, weekend hobbyists operating model airplanes.

  During a site visit on December 16, derelict soccer goals could be seen, as could the remnants of a softball backstop.

  Shannon Park is to be reinvented during a multi-year project that’ll likely include new residential structures, small commercial enterprises, green spaces, a waterfront trail and a site developed by the Millbrook First Nation. The Canadian military’s link to the land dates back to 1949; by 2003 the last of the military personnel housed in apartments there were living elsewhere.

  Canada Lands says municipal planning approvals are a necessary component of the refurbishment project, as are new roads and services that will be installed in phases.

  Millier says in his email that “work continues to progress at Shannon Park.” Buildings near the school have been demolished, and the resulting debris disposed of at “appropriately licensed facilities.”

  Asked about demolition of the eyesore complex containing more than 30 military-housing structures, which area media outlets have reported was expected to be finished by late January, Millier acknowledged that’s been delayed several months until later in 2017.

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