City hall is putting out a call to demolish and develop the Cogswell Interchange, but in the meantime the roadway will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Yesterday council voted to issue a request for proposal on a master plan for the interchange site.
Staff told council there will be close to $500,000 in maintenance on the interchange over the next six to eight months, and the long-term upkeep costs will just get higher.
So council is looking for the best use of the site while keeping it as a gateway to the downtown.
“It will reconnect the Gottingen Street area with the downtown again,” said Downtown Halifax Coun. Dawn Sloane.
“I challenge anyone … to go from downtown Halifax past the Cogswell Street Interchange and try to get up to Gottingen Street without feeling like you’re in a very desolate place.
“It’s pretty rotten.”
The site covers more than 13 acres and has no height restrictions. Four proposals have already been submitted, but staff are aware of more.
The interchange was originally built in the ’60s as part of a plan to build a harbour expressway along the waterfront.
That plan was eventually killed by citizen opposition, and many have spent years lobbying to demolish the interchange.
Replacing the interchange was one of the main goals of HRMbyDesign.
Several councillors argued it has already taken far too long.
North End Halifax Coun. Jerry Blumenthal said Halifax had waited until the worst time to develop the site because of the economic downturn.
“I back it because it’s very important, but I just wonder if we’ll get the same value as we would have got a few years ago if we’d have done it when we should have done it,” said Blumenthal.