Former cadet training grounds will house a diverse community
The Annapolis Basin Conference Centre (ABCC), in southwestern Nova Scotia, was built in 1942, originally as a training base for the Royal Canadian Navy. It later came to host Cadet Training events. The training centre, along with many other cadet training centres across the country, has recently closed leaving ABCC without the contract that ensured their sustainability for more than 30 years.
The Cornwallis Park Development Association (also known as Annapolis Basin Conference Centre) is considering alternate uses for the two large pieces of land formerly used to host cadet trainings. During the pandemic, ABCC has adapted its operations. With no cadets on-site and limited demand for conference facilities, the organization pivoted to provide temporary housing for newcomers to Canada and offer a safe space for temporary foreign workers arriving in Nova Scotia. The contract remained in effect, ensuring that the facilities were kept well maintained and prepared for immediate occupancy. Now, with funding from the Planning & Pre-Development stream of the Centre’s Community Housing Growth Fund, as well as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the ABCC will develop a master plan and implementation strategy to repurpose the land.
They intend to create a planned community development, with a mix of single and multi-unit housing, at both affordable and market rates, as well as other services for the residents of the community. The project relates to Annapolis Royal and Cornwallis, both in Annapolis County but it will also benefit Digby due to proximity. They aim to support a diverse community, including creating opportunities for residents to age in place.
A 2022 CBC News article about the closing of the training centre quoted residents of the area on the liveliness, and economic opportunities that the centre brought to the area. By repurposing the now-vacant land into a thoughtfully planned community, the region can be brought into a new phase of life.