Gor­don Samp­son writes about the Vic­tory Park con­cept in North Syd­ney.

Park con­cept will in­volve new green space on North Syd­ney wa­ter­front

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton - Gor­don Samp­son From the North­side Gor­don Samp­son founded the North Syd­ney His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on Jan­uary 7, 1980, and se­lected the li­brary as the cen­ten­nial project out of 10 pos­si­ble projects in 1985. He was an ed­u­ca­tor and ad­min­is­tra­tor for 38 years, th

Just what is Vic­tory Park, where is it sit­u­ated, and why has the con­cept evolved?

Vic­tory Park is a new con­cept in­tro­duced by a 10-mem­ber board of young peo­ple who are ex­cited about de­vel­op­ing a new green space on the wa­ter­front in North Syd­ney. It lies be­tween the Irv­ing Garage and the Bal­last Grounds, not in­clud­ing Blue Star Traders, and is a re­sult of los­ing the for­mer green space next to the Royal Bank.

Ryan Duff, a pro­fes­sional con­sul­tant on the North­side and chair of the Vic­tory Park board, says af­ter the CBRM mayor and coun­cil sold the green space next to Royal Bank Fi­nan­cial to CME (Cana­dian Marine En­gi­neer­ing ), “a group of us de­cided to work on the last pos­si­ble va­cant space to de­velop that part of the wa­ter­front into a mixed-use recre­ational space.

“This is the last op­por­tu­nity to cap­ture a part of our down­town and hold it as a com­mu­nity,” he says.

The group called the area “Vic­tory Park” to hon­our the vic­tory bon­fires held there to cel­e­brate the ends of the First and Sec­ond World Wars.

The in­cor­po­rated group wants to buy the land in­volved. They as­sume there will have to be some re­me­di­a­tion; they don’t know yet how much. There will be an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment as part of the pur­chase process.

They haven’t yet found any govern­ment pro­grams that will as­sist in pur­chas­ing the land; ei­ther they would have to own the land, or the govern­ment would have to, in or­der to get govern­ment fund­ing.

The board met with MP Mark Eyk­ing, MLA Ed­die Or­rell and CBRM Mayor Ce­cil Clarke and coun­cil, all of whom are in­ter­ested and sup­port­ive. Presently, the land is pri­vately owned. So right now they are work­ing on the as­sump­tion that they have to raise all of the money to pur­chase the land them­selves.

So they are hav­ing a Mother’s Day draw, a Fa­ther’s Day draw and a con­cert to raise funds.

The Mother’s Day draw is a book of gift cards worth $495, the Fa­ther’s Day draw is a signed Ea­gles jersey, a dozen lob­ster and a $50 gift card from NSLC.

Board mem­bers and friends are presently sell­ing the Mother’s Day draw tick­ets un­til May 10, while the Fa­ther’s Day draw tick­ets will be sold af­ter May 15 at the con­cert.

The Vic­tory Park Ben­e­fit Con­cert will take place on Sun­day, May 21, at St. Joseph Church: doors open at 6 p.m. with the con­cert start­ing at 7 p.m.

They en­vi­sion an all-in­clu­sive play­ground (peo­ple of all abil­i­ties, wheel chair ac­ces­si­ble, and so forth and they are be­ing ad­vised by an ex­pert on ac­ces­si­bil­ity), a green space, and com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties (food, bev­er­age, clothes, mer­chan­dise).

The board wants to be self­sus­tain­ing, and they need to raise money them­selves through events, crowd fund­ing and cor­po­rate do­na­tions.

“We are look­ing at well de­vel­oped wa­ter­fronts with sea­sonal kiosks for food and shop­ping, geared to­wards both res­i­dents and tourists, such as Digby, Ma­hone Bay, Spin­naker’s Land­ing in Sum­mer­side, Wey­mouth Street in Char­lot­te­town, Lunen­berg and Hal­i­fax. And, none of them have more than 300,000 peo­ple trav­el­ling through their town,” said Ryan.

They in­tend to lever­age the Marine At­lantic ferry traf­fic, and bring them through town to en­joy the play­ground, green space and shop­ping; they see this as an op­por­tu­nity for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

“We are not go­ing to op­er­ate or com­pete with busi­nesses, rather we want to pro­vide high qual­ity space for lo­cal busi­nesses to rent or lease.” Ryan says. “The rev­enue we gen­er­ate from rentals will help pay for in­sur­ance, main­te­nance, and any sur­plus will go to­wards com­mu­nity needs.”

The 10-mem­ber Board of Vic­tory Park in­cludes Ryan Duff, chair; Kay Bather­son, vice-chair; Heather Duff, sec­re­tary; Jim Dun­phy, trea­surer; Bill and Michele Ni­chol­son; Mike Gil­lis; Ger­ard Carey; Paul Ross; and Mar­lene Bro­gan. Ryan Duff, Kay Bather­son, Heather Duff and Jim Dun­phy com­prise the ex­ec­u­tive.

“Coun­cil­lor for District 2 Ear­lene MacMullin has been a cham­pion for the project in tak­ing their needs to coun­cil,” Ryan says.

So, here we are with a young, am­bi­tious, in­cor­po­rated group out to im­prove this part of the Com­mer­cial Street area of North Syd­ney, in it for the long term, to ben­e­fit the en­tire North­side area.


Pic­tured above is the board of the Vic­tory Park So­ci­ety; from left to right sit­ting are Ryan Duff, chair; Kay Bather­son, vice-chair; Heather Duff, sec­re­tary; board mem­ber Mike Gil­lis; sec­ond row from the left: board mem­bers Bill Ni­chol­son, Michele Ni­chol­son, Mar­lene Bro­gan, Ger­ard Carey, and Paul Ross. Ab­sent from the photo is Jim Dun­phy, trea­surer.

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