From the Daily News - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Monday, April 24, 2000

McNab's closer to park status

Committee set up to help plan park, and protect area

By JOANNA REDDEN -- Special to The Daily News

McNab's Island is one step closer to being developed as a park site.
The Department of Natural Resources has appointed a park-advisory committee to assist in planning the development for McNab's and Lawlor islands.

Cathy McCarthy, a member of the Friends of McNab's Island Society and new member of the advisory committee, says she sees the formation of the committee as a positive sign that the islands will be developed and protected.

"Now, it looks like there will actually be a park. It's one more step toward having a park on the island, and that's what we've been striving for, for so long," she says.

McCarthy has been devoted to preserving McNab's since her first visit 15 years ago.

"It amazed me that we had such a beautiful natural park in the middle of the harbour," she says.

Fascinating history
She calls the two Halifax Harbour islands living examples of Nova Scotia's natural history, McCarthy says she is also fascinated by the cultural history of the islands.
Both McNab's and Lawlor islands held quarantine stations for victims of cholera in the late 19th century. As many as 200 cholera victims were buried on McNab's.

Fort McNab was once Halifax Harbour's most powerful defence complex.

By the turn of the century, the island were a popular location for day picnics.

In addition, the fairgrounds once located on the island was the source of inspiration for the famous Bill Lynch.

As well, the island is home to a large number of nesting osprey and blue herons, and an extensive rugged shoreline.

Mike Tilley runs the tour and ferry service that operates from Eastern Passage to Devil's, Lawlor and McNab's islands.

Tilley says he sees the formation of the committee as a positive step, but finds the park-development process slow and tedious.

"What we need right now is to sit down and devise a comprehensive but limited development strategy."

Tilley says the committee must make sure that development preserves rather than destroys.

Tilley does not want to see golf courses and amusement parks on the island.

"What most people want to see is a near-urban wilderness park for all to enjoy with opportunities for recreation, tourism and education," he says.