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Cogswell consultation examines big picture for new Halifax neighbourhood

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The Cogswell District redevelopment is one of the largest building projects that the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) has ever taken on.

“It’s certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop and recreate a portion of the downtown,” said HRM senior planner Ross Grant.

Grant says it's rare that you’ll see such a development opportunity of this size open up in the centre of a major city like Halifax.

That’s the case with the Cogswell District development that’s underway.

The demolition of the urban highway interchange known as the Cogswell Interchange is well underway and nearly complete and that’s making way for the new neighbourhood.

The Cogswell Interchange, built in the 1960s to accommodate a planned waterfront freeway that was never built, is seen in Halifax on Friday, April 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

On Wednesday, more than a dozen people gathered for a public engagement session with Halifax planning staff, to hash out a vision for the new Cogswell District neighbourhood.

“Council has previously approved the infrastructure design plan which includes the streets, new parks, and bike lanes and that’s currently under construction, but what we’re looking to engage on today is the land use policy side of things,” said Grant.

That includes discussions on building design, commercial and residential development, and affordable housing which is high on some priority lists.

City council mandated staff to include affordable housing in the neighbourhood plan that will see space for 3,400 units of housing built. However, how much of that will be considered affordable has yet to be determined.

“We’ll talk about things like building heights, building design and the kind of materials or architectural elements that we might want to see in these new buildings,” says Grant. “As well as land uses like commercial and residential uses.”

The Cogswell neighbourhood will eventually connect Halifax’s north end to the downtown and will include cycling lanes, multi-use trails, parks and other open space.

Grant says the work will transform the car-centric area into a liveable 16-acre neighbourhood.

More public consultation sessions are planned before the end of June.

Halifax planning staff will incorporate the public feedback in a report to be presented to council later this summer.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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