News / Halifax

‘Turning point for our city:’ Halifax kicks off Cogswell project

About 200 people attended a public information meeting Wednesday night designed to let citizens know that the Cogswell redesign has begun.

The Cogswell interchange.

Jeff Harper / Metro Order this photo

The Cogswell interchange.

About 200 people attended a public information meeting put on by the municipality Wednesday night designed to let citizens know that the process to redesign the Cogswell interchange has begun.

The crowd at Casino Nova Scotia, right next to where the redevelopment will happen, included a few municipal councillors and councillors-elect, and Mayor Mike Savage spoke about what he believes the project will do for Halifax.

“I believe that this will be the economic, social, environmental and cultural turning point for our city,” he said.

Savage said that without starting the demolition of the out-dated set of overpasses and out-of-place downtown highway connectivity, the municipality has “already accomplished a great deal.”

“We’ve moved from years of conversation – ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could?’ – and conjecture – ‘When might we get this thing going?’ – to establishing our Cogswell office, approving a road concept, and approving a design engineering contract,” he said.

Project director John Spinelli told the crowd that more public consultations will start in early 2017, and the 60 per cent design completion threshold will be crossed between April and June, at which point council makes a decision on whether to proceed.

The plan is to create up to 1,600 residential units to house up to 2,500 residents, create six acres of development, six acres of street space, four acres of public space, and three kilometres of bike lanes.

There is a catch though.

Savage acknowledged that the redevelopment will be difficult for the city, but said the municipality will be “mindful of the businesses and the people in the area now that will be affected by the work in the years to come.”

“This will be disruptive and it will cost some money to dismantle lots of concrete,” he said. “But I believe the cost of lost opportunity would be higher than any price tag for demolition.”

Coun. Waye Mason said that some of the disruption had already been mitigated: a plan to redirect truck traffic caught so much opposition that the new plan is to keep trucks running through the project.

“The disruption will be noise, dirt, and people wondering how they’re gonna get to work today, but the plan is to clearly identify the alternatives and keep them there for a long time,” he said.

Mason said that while campaigning, the thing he heard most from people was that they didn’t believe it was actually going to happen.

“People want it to come down, I think, but they don’t believe it’s really gonna finally happen, and it is,” he said.

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