MEET TERRY – Terry Drisdelle is our longest standing Downtown Dartmouth board member. His positivity, enthusiasm and vision have been a welcomed addition to our board room table for more than a decade. Even more impressive, is that Terry has lived and worked in downtown Dartmouth for almost 50 years.
“It’s been interesting to witness the decline and revival of this community first-hand. When I moved here from Moncton back in 1973, Downtown Dartmouth was a hopping place. But in the 80s and 90s, things gradually slid into decline. It was sad and stagnant for such a long time.”
For decades, Terry has walked along Portland Street – every day - to take the ferry to work as a planner with the Department of Housing and then for Develop Nova Scotia (formerly Waterfront Development.) For years, he walked past boarded-up storefronts and knew that the only way to turn things around was to get more people living and working downtown. He says, over the years, he collaborated with many people and many organizations who shared his vision for a revived downtown Dartmouth. Slowly but surely, shops started opening back up, and life started to come back.
“It took many years to rebuild downtown Dartmouth to where it is today: a vibrant community, full of creative and passionate people. Design work is careful and thoughtful. Good development cultivates density carefully. It connects with the street, considers the scale of the community and attracts people.”
Terry brings a planner’s eye and a Dartmouth-lover’s heart to the DDBC’s volunteer board of directors. He says it’s most rewarding when his planning work aligns with the board’s goals to make downtown Dartmouth a place where people want to be. Terry says a career highlight is helping to complete the Dartmouth Harbourwalk Trail that connects the ferry terminals along the Dartmouth waterfront.
“It’s a gamechanger! The very last piece of that trail is on track for completion soon. Plus, there are plans in the works for an extension.”
If you’re fortunate enough to meet Terry, you’ll like him immediately. His unique combination of warmth, wisdom and effervescence has made him an indispensable member of our downtown Dartmouth team. It’s hard to believe that he’s zeroing in on retirement, and his time on the board is coming to an end.
“I’d like to think in 20 years from now, when I’m rolling around in my nuclear-powered wheelchair, I’ll see lots of people living and spending time downtown, with every shop open and thriving. I want to see growth, but I still want downtown Dartmouth to feel special like it does now. Like a small town with a big heart.”
Photo by James Arthur MacLean