Bedford Waterfront Design Study in final stage

Posted on 21. Jun, 2010 by in General

This post was written by Bedford Beacon Editor on June 20, 2010

Ekistics, a consulting firm engaged by the Municipality and Waterfront Development Corporation, presented the final study of the Bedford Waterfront Design.

The presentation was followed by an opportunity for public questions and comments.

The study culminates from the ideas provided to date (visit halifax.ca) to a steering committee, comprised of community representatives and property owners within the study area.

Over 200 people were present at the meeting last night.

Doug Kolmer, Chair of the Bedford Waterfront Vision Implementation Committee, presented the audience “with a lot of food for thought.”

Rob LeBlanc, with Ekistics Planning & Design, presented the audience with the plan and emphasized that “the waterfront will be the heart and soul of Bedford.”

Emphasis is placed on maintaining a green community by amalgamating all the best ideas from all the cities in the world and applying them to Bedford.

There are five main components to the Waterfront Design Study.

The Landing Component would allow for a commercial rail line, a ferry terminal housing two ferries, a bus terminal and a central library.

Parking would be available both underground and on street level, with sidewalks on both sides of the street.

With an active waterfront featuring restaurants, book shops and coffee shops (to name a few) there would inevitably be a second access road.

The Island Component of the project would actually be a peninsula with marinas on both sides.

The roads leading onto the island would feel like bridges.

Mix-use buildings and a year-round event plaza would give this area a vibrancy 12 months of the year.

One suggestion was a water area which would be frozen for winter recreation.

Once again there would be underground and street parking.

The island would also allow for a canal option.

The Bedford Highway Component strongly discourages strip-style development. Throughout the presentation the need to move away from strip malls towards a village centre was emphasized.

A gateway to the waterfront with key buildings would allow access to this highly desirable area.

The Sobeys Village and Moirs Pond Component would allow pedestrians access around Moirs Pond and an underpass under the railway would provide access to the waterfront.

It would be natural to see Sobeys flipped over to where the mall is. A parking lot or other public area would replace the building.

The Shore Drive Component would connect Shore Drive to the rest of the waterfront only for pedestrian traffic. The two areas would not be connected for vehicle traffic except in emergency situations.

The presentation concluded with a visual tour of what the Bedford Waterfront would look like in 25 years – a progressive, bustling, world-class waterfront.

Here is a summary of the questions asked at the end of the presentation:

Q: What is the maximum height of tallest building?
A: 12 stories.

Q: When will second overpass be built? Context – safety concerns
A: will depend on public acceptance of design study – there are existing mechanisms noise and traffic bylaws, increased police monitoring to protect safety of citizens.

Q: Convoy Run is only access and egress to Phase 1. If accident on rail overpass blocking traffic happens, how will emergency vehicles get through. This is more of a comment/statement than a question.

Q: Is there a place for a hotel/conference centre?
A: Majority of development is residential in multi-use structures. Forecast economics don’t support hotel/conference centre.

Q: Will there be a place for a library?
A: The ‘Landing’ phase of the development has space for a library.

Q: Does the study deal with the overflow water from Papermill Lake?
A: That item was not within the study area boundary.

Q: How much of this is concept only? Or how much of this is viable/likely?
A: The report on the study will go to council and they will ask ‘do we base changes to the MPS (to permit the scope and scale of development proposed) on this study?’. Once they agree action will be taken to start the implementation by phase.

Q: Sight lines are fundamental to the design. How are you dealing with wind effects (microclimate) of building masses?
A: Varying the heights of the buildings and their positioning will help disperse downdraft issues at street level.

Q: How many housing units will the development have and how many people will they hold?
A: approx 2500 units of housing and between 6000 to 6500 persons.

Q: Have you taken into account the high water associated with hurricanes?
A: The finished floor levels for waterfront buildings will be 3 metres above high water level.

Q: How much influence will there be over the private sector?
A: We believe the private sector will find the design study is beneficial to them.

What happens next?

The Bedford Waterfront Steering Committee, established by Regional Council to oversee this study, will meet and review the comments received and will make recommendations as to whether to proceed to implement the consultant’s study recommendations as presented or with amendments.

The Steering Committee report will be tabled with the North West Community Council for review and recommendation. The recommendations of the Steering Committee and Community Council will then be tabled with Regional Council for direction.

Regional Council will give direction to preparation of amendments to the community planning documents to implement the recommendations accepted. Municipal staff would then work with the Steering Committee to draft the amendments for public consultation.

Once satisfied with the draft, the Steering Committee will forward its recommendations to the Community Council and Regional Council for a public hearing and consideration of adoption.

A recording of yesterday evening’s presentation and a copy of the consultant’s report will be available on the Municipality’s website at www.halifax.ca.

Please provide any feedback to the study by Wednesday, July 7 via email to morganp@halifax.ca.

For further information or to be placed on a notification list of further meetings, please contact:

Paul Morgan, Planner
HRM Regional & Community Planning
Phone: 490-4482
Fax: Fax: 490-3976
Email: morganp@halifax.ca

or

Terry Drisdelle, Project Manger
Waterfront Development Corporation
Phone: 422-5115, ext. 109
Email: drisdelle@wdcl.ca

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