Park Planning for the Rehab Lands

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Landscape vista looking east from the hilltop with family cylcing in the foreground and the Cole Harbour Basin in the background.

The municipality is engaging on the park planning for the former Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre property (Rehab lands) on Bissett Road in Cole Harbour. Share with us what’s important to you as we explore the future possibilities for a new park.

Our Project

The purpose for the park planning is to identify municipal park and open space programming for the former Rehab Centre property. Over the course of the project we will be exploring different park development options and recreation opportunities with you that consider the site’s natural setting, cultural heritage, and function within the broader parks open space network. A dog off-leash area that would serve the community of Cole Harbour is also being considered for inclusion within the new park.


Public Engagement Update, July 2021

Coming this September, we will be engaging on three concept scenarios developed for the new park on the Rehab lands. The scenarios were designed around popular themes and ideas that emerged during the first round of public engagement. For now, have a look at the three concepts:

Concept One - A Place to Play: This scenario looks at the park as a place for having fun. Perhaps it’s a place to stop on the way to the beach for a round of disc golf or a family picnic. It introduces novel features like the Spiral Look-Off Ramp which you can walk up or ride your bike to the top for a higher vantage point to view the Cole Harbour Basin and surrounding vista; or the Colossal Climber for people who welcome the challenge of climbing up the steep bank. There is also a shaped slope for winter sledding and docks to tie up a kayak. Popular shows filmed on location could be recognized on the site. This scenario shows an enclosed off-leash dog area with a flat open lawn for playing fetch. The trail system proposed is single-track for hiking or biking with fitness stops along the route. (See Documents Sidebar for enlarged images of the three concept plans.)

This is an image of the site plan for concept one, a place to play


Concept Two – A Place to Learn: This scenario looks at opportunities to learn more about the natural environment and strategies for adapting our open spaces to climate change. The brownfield site is rehabilitated through naturalization projects and meadow and forest regeneration plots for testing the adaptation of different plant species. Weather observation equipment can gather local data. There are opportunities for nature interpretation programming with an outdoor classroom and a trail system with interpretation signage and ecology stations to learn more about the different natural ecosystems on the site. Trails on half of the site are designated of off-leash dog use. There is also an open field area for off-leash dogs.

This is an image of the site plan for concept two, a place to learn.


Concept Three – A Place to Unplug: This scenario is about relaxation, connecting to nature, and unplugging from our hectic lives. Building from the site’s past use for the Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre, Concept Three explores how natural areas and parks can be therapeutic places for our mental well-being. There are opportunities for commemoration to bring awareness to mental health issues. Features include a meditation labyrinth, a yoga lawn, and a hilltop lookoff. The trails are designed for meandering through meadows, forests and along the lakeshore, with seating areas and meditation spots along the way. A sun dial and night sky viewing area help connect us to the natural cycles and rhythms of the changing seasons. A fenced area and the outer perimeter trail are designated for off-leash dog use.

This is an image of the site plan for concept three, a place to unplug.


Round One - Public Engagement

The Park User Survey and Idea Board are now closed. Thank you everyone who participated! You can view the results of the survey in the "What We Heard" report located under the Documents tab in the sidebar. The next round of public engagement will begin in July where we will be exploring and presenting back different park planning scenarios and concepts for feedback.

If you have any comments or questions, please email the Project Lead, Carolle Roberts. (Contact info is under Who's Listening in the sidebar)

Site Location:

The former Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre operated on the site from 1941 to 2002 providing short and long-term mental health care for patients. When the facility closed, the lands and buildings were returned to the control of the municipality. In 2016, Regional Council passed a motion to designate approximately 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of the site as parkland with the remaining 4.8 ha (12 acres) for potential surplus to be considered for other uses. The recent opening of the Bissett Trail was the first step in the park's development and an essential link in the municipality's active transportation network connecting Bissett Lake District Park with the trails and open spaces around Cole Harbour Basin.

To learn more about the Rehab lands park planning project, please refer to the Important Links in the sidebar.

Map showing the location of the former Rehab property at 255 Bissett Road in Cole Harbour.


Related Projects

The municipality is also engaging around the location of a dog off-leash area for Eastern Passage. You can find out more about the public engagement for the Eastern Passage dog off-leash area here.


Landscape vista looking east from the hilltop with family cylcing in the foreground and the Cole Harbour Basin in the background.

The municipality is engaging on the park planning for the former Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre property (Rehab lands) on Bissett Road in Cole Harbour. Share with us what’s important to you as we explore the future possibilities for a new park.

Our Project

The purpose for the park planning is to identify municipal park and open space programming for the former Rehab Centre property. Over the course of the project we will be exploring different park development options and recreation opportunities with you that consider the site’s natural setting, cultural heritage, and function within the broader parks open space network. A dog off-leash area that would serve the community of Cole Harbour is also being considered for inclusion within the new park.


Public Engagement Update, July 2021

Coming this September, we will be engaging on three concept scenarios developed for the new park on the Rehab lands. The scenarios were designed around popular themes and ideas that emerged during the first round of public engagement. For now, have a look at the three concepts:

Concept One - A Place to Play: This scenario looks at the park as a place for having fun. Perhaps it’s a place to stop on the way to the beach for a round of disc golf or a family picnic. It introduces novel features like the Spiral Look-Off Ramp which you can walk up or ride your bike to the top for a higher vantage point to view the Cole Harbour Basin and surrounding vista; or the Colossal Climber for people who welcome the challenge of climbing up the steep bank. There is also a shaped slope for winter sledding and docks to tie up a kayak. Popular shows filmed on location could be recognized on the site. This scenario shows an enclosed off-leash dog area with a flat open lawn for playing fetch. The trail system proposed is single-track for hiking or biking with fitness stops along the route. (See Documents Sidebar for enlarged images of the three concept plans.)

This is an image of the site plan for concept one, a place to play


Concept Two – A Place to Learn: This scenario looks at opportunities to learn more about the natural environment and strategies for adapting our open spaces to climate change. The brownfield site is rehabilitated through naturalization projects and meadow and forest regeneration plots for testing the adaptation of different plant species. Weather observation equipment can gather local data. There are opportunities for nature interpretation programming with an outdoor classroom and a trail system with interpretation signage and ecology stations to learn more about the different natural ecosystems on the site. Trails on half of the site are designated of off-leash dog use. There is also an open field area for off-leash dogs.

This is an image of the site plan for concept two, a place to learn.


Concept Three – A Place to Unplug: This scenario is about relaxation, connecting to nature, and unplugging from our hectic lives. Building from the site’s past use for the Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre, Concept Three explores how natural areas and parks can be therapeutic places for our mental well-being. There are opportunities for commemoration to bring awareness to mental health issues. Features include a meditation labyrinth, a yoga lawn, and a hilltop lookoff. The trails are designed for meandering through meadows, forests and along the lakeshore, with seating areas and meditation spots along the way. A sun dial and night sky viewing area help connect us to the natural cycles and rhythms of the changing seasons. A fenced area and the outer perimeter trail are designated for off-leash dog use.

This is an image of the site plan for concept three, a place to unplug.


Round One - Public Engagement

The Park User Survey and Idea Board are now closed. Thank you everyone who participated! You can view the results of the survey in the "What We Heard" report located under the Documents tab in the sidebar. The next round of public engagement will begin in July where we will be exploring and presenting back different park planning scenarios and concepts for feedback.

If you have any comments or questions, please email the Project Lead, Carolle Roberts. (Contact info is under Who's Listening in the sidebar)

Site Location:

The former Halifax County Rehabilitation Centre operated on the site from 1941 to 2002 providing short and long-term mental health care for patients. When the facility closed, the lands and buildings were returned to the control of the municipality. In 2016, Regional Council passed a motion to designate approximately 16 hectares (39.5 acres) of the site as parkland with the remaining 4.8 ha (12 acres) for potential surplus to be considered for other uses. The recent opening of the Bissett Trail was the first step in the park's development and an essential link in the municipality's active transportation network connecting Bissett Lake District Park with the trails and open spaces around Cole Harbour Basin.

To learn more about the Rehab lands park planning project, please refer to the Important Links in the sidebar.

Map showing the location of the former Rehab property at 255 Bissett Road in Cole Harbour.


Related Projects

The municipality is also engaging around the location of a dog off-leash area for Eastern Passage. You can find out more about the public engagement for the Eastern Passage dog off-leash area here.