In addition to undertaking a robust public engagement initiative in the summer and fall of 2018, municipal staff participated in an external review process carried out in partnership with the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, Development Nova Scotia and 13 other key stakeholders. The Cogswell project team and WSP worked with Gehl, an urban design firm, and the stakeholder group for several months on a review of the approved 60 per cent design concept. The primary objective was to identify potential improvements to the design for the Cogswell District, specifically regarding public realm and building design.
The Gehl report was released to the public on Feb. 5, 2019 by the stakeholder group.
As staff work to complete the 90 per cent design, the recommendations of the Gehl report will be considered along with the public input captured in FBM’s Engagement Report.
It is anticipated the staff report regarding the 90 percent design will be presented to Regional Council in February. The staff report will contain details regarding staff’s review of the Gehl recommendations and those that have been included in the design. Further comment on any details in the Gehl report or the 90 per cent design cannot be shared publicly in advance of it being presented to, and deliberated by, Regional Council.
Summer/ Fall 2018
At the direction of Regional Council, staff engaged in a collaborative public engagement initiative to inform the 90 per cent design plan. From August through October 2018, input was sought on two topics: public spaces and urban design rules for new buildings in the Cogswell District.
Thoughtful feedback from residents resulted in roughly 100 ideas about parks, plazas, streetscapes, greenways, public art, and commemoration of history within the area. Residents also provided input on building designs, which will help inform next steps with future engagement regarding the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) and Land Use By-laws (LUB) associated with Cogswell District.
All ideas and feedback are summarized in the Engagement Report prepared by Fowler, Bauld & Mitchell (FBM).
Halifax Regional Council approved the 60 per cent design plan on June 5, 2018.
Design details focused on parks and open spaces:
- Active transportation (AT) – bikeway and multi-use trail
- Streetscapes – street trees, sidewalks, linear plaza, street furniture and street lights
- Enhanced transit hub
The 60 per cent design Concept Plan was presented as part of public engagement sessions held in April-May of 2018.
The 60 per cent design plan does not include details regarding building design. Land uses and building heights are governed by the existing DH-1 zoning. Amendments to the Downtown Halifax Zoning By-law will be considered in the coming months and will follow the standard planning amendment process including opportunities for public input.
A three-phased construction plan has been developed which maintains key north-south and east-west connections through the project site during all phases of construction. Traffic analysis associated with the phasing plan will be completed for the 60 per cent decision. Significant efforts will be made to help mitigate traffic congestion throughout the Cogswell corridor during construction. At this time, it is anticipated that the project will not require alternate traffic routes beyond the project boundary during any phase of construction.
Tentative agreements have been reached with Halifax Water and the Department of National Defense regarding land acquisitions necessary to implement the Cogswell District plan. Negotiations continue with Crombie REIT Limited regarding property to enable development of Granville Square – the large urban square at the south end of the district. Design details for Granville Square will be finalized following the conclusion of these negotiations.
The Cogswell Steering Committee approved the 30 per cent design development milestone for Cogswell Redevelopment Project on June 19, 2017 which confirmed the road network layout along with the location of the major design elements.
To date, design efforts have focused on urban design, open space, connectivity, development blocks, transit and alternative transportation. The approved 30 per cent design was developed in consultation with municipal staff from all key business units to ensure alignment with the objectives of key plans and strategies, including: