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Want to visit Georges Island and McNabs Island? Develop Nova Scotia wants to hear from you

The province has announced $100,000 in funding to come up a strategy to get more people out to the islands
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Georges Island National Historic Site (Meghan Groff/HalifaxToday.ca)

Every Haligonian has seen Georges Island and McNabs Island, but few have been able to visit.

Now the province has announced $100,000 in funding to come up a strategy to get more people out to the islands.

Develop Nova Scotia will be holding public meetings and has launched an online survey to get feedback which will help them come up with a plan to increase access to the unique and historic locations in the harbour.

"What are the visitor experiences that the public really wants, both local visitors and also tourism visitors, and what's the corresponding infrastructure that's required to support that," explained Develop Nova Scotia's director of planning and development, Peter Bigelow.

Currently the biggest barrier for visitation is getting there.

Georges Island National Historic Site is run by Parks Canada. It is off limits to the public with the exception of occasional special events, including concerts and overnight camping trips.

McNabs Island is part of a provincial park and home to over 22 km of hiking trails, beaches and historic forts. Some infrastructure has already been set up, including vault toilets, a floating dock, sign posts and interpretive panels. Those who don't have their own boat can reach it by hiring a water taxi or charter boat at a cost of between $20 - $30.

Bigelow says part of their consultations will include discussions with tourism operators to provide more regular transportation to both locations.

"There is a local hunger and a hunger from tourists to get out to those islands," Bigelow told HalifaxToday.ca. "The islands are part of a whole harbour experience that involves what we provide on the Halifax waterfront, what's provided on the Dartmouth waterfront, Fisherman's Cove, and now these unique assets that are the islands."

He added the growth in tourism at both sites will be done in a careful and considerate way, respecting the existing management plans that dictate how the islands can be used.

Lawlor Island, sandwiched between McNabs and McCormacks Beach Provincial Park, will not be included in the visitor experience strategy.

As a natural area, it will continue to be closed off to the public.

The online survey will be available until March 12 and Bigelow says the feedback will be used to help them fine-tune their infrastructure investment.

The funding from the strategy comes from $1.5 million announced in July for the Halifax waterfront under the Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program, administered by Tourism Nova Scotia.




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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