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Cogswell district redevelopment plan approved by council (5 photos)

Halifax Regional Council voted Tuesday in favour of approving the 90 per cent design for one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Halifax's history

It's expected the dismantling of Cogswell interchange will start later this year.

This after Halifax Regional Council voted Tuesday in favour of approving the 90 per cent design for one of the biggest redevelopment projects in Halifax's history, despite calls for a delay.

The plan by international consulting firm Gehl was publicly released Friday and 26 groups came together to ask council to put off the decision on the Cogswell district redevelopment until Haligonians had a chance to see the design.

"A generational project that seeks to right a significant wrong deserves more time for consideration," said the letter from organizations including Develop Nova Scotia, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, the Halifax Cycling Coalition, and the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia.

The Downtown Halifax Business Commission also signed off on that letter and the group's executive director, Paul MacKinnon, said the coalition wanted the public to have an opportunity to provide their feedback.

"Every one of the 26 organizations that came together to write this letter, they're all supporters of the project. There's not a single group that says we shouldn't do this, there's great community support," MacKinnon explained.

"All we're saying is let's make sure we do it in a way that the community can really provide great input, and the reason for doing that is because we think that will actually make it a much better project."

The overpasses, which essentially wall off the downtown core from the north end, were originally constructed as part of a plan to build a highway along the waterfront. That plan was abandoned in 1971, leaving the massive and unnecessary concrete infrastructure.

MacKinnon said it could be over a decade before we see the final product, but when construction is complete, Halifax will have a brand new downtown district.

"There's not really an easy way to get from the north end to the downtown, so it will repair those lost connections. It will reconnect the waterfront with the north end."

He added communication will be key during the massive, years-long construction project.

"It's going to be disruptive, there's no question, but there will always be [vehicular] access through that site," he explained.

"If I'm a commuter that's used to coming through that interchange every day, in my car or on a bus, there's got to be good communication so that every day I know how that's going to be in terms of getting downtown, so maybe I can make alternate arrangements."

Municipal staff have been asked to issue a deconstruction and construction tender, aiming for work to begin in early fall.

The HRM hopes to have the street infrastructure finished by summer 2022.

"Development of newly created lots will not be fully realized until several years after street infrastructure construction has concluded," the municipality says.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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