TRURO - A new interchange from Highway 102 into Hilden is not a concept that Colchester County is in favour of supporting from a financial perspective, council overwhelmingly suggested this week.
"This is so far down my list it's not even on the radar," Coun. Mike Cooper said during discussion Thursday night. "I have no interest in this, no intention to support any money toward this at all."
The discussion came in relation to a staff report to council regarding three options for a proposed new interchange from Highway 102 that would intersect at Highway 2 in Hilden.
The purpose of the proposed access is to remove truck traffic from the McClures Mills Connector to Highway 102, which has become more congested since the opening of the new hospital and the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
The interchange would also provide easier access to Millbrook's expanding power centre and to the Truro Business Park.
Three interchange options provided for consideration based on a study of the area show estimations ranging from $28 million to $34 million, although the municipality has not yet been asked to contribute to the projected cost.
From the perspective of the majority of Colchester County council, however, the interchange would provide limited benefit to that municipality, and like Cooper, a number of them said they would not be interested in providing financial support.
"I think we would be absolutely insane to put any money in there whatsoever," Coun. Tom Taggart said. "Not only would it hurt our industrial park in Debert but we'd likely have to have a bullet-proof car to drive up and down the street ... if the municipal taxpayers in Colchester County saw us having any part of spending $28 million on an overpass out there.
"It's unbelievable that this is even before us as far as I am concerned."
Coun. Doug MacInnes agreed, adding the county would be better served with working on efforts to further develop the Debert Air Industrial Park.
"There's still some room out there and I can't see the economic contribution that is going to come back to the county on this. I just can't see where it is compared to the amount of money we would have to spend on it."
Coun. Bill Master, however, said that since the municipality has not as yet been asked for a financial contribution, it would be better served to participate in the discussions than remove itself entirely from the process.
"I think we should at least express our opinion on what goes there," he said. "Whether we put any money in it, that's a whole different question as far as I am concerned."
Two of the proposed options would require construction of an overpass on Highway 2 and service road connections in Hilden. The proposed cost for those options are $34 million and $31 million and either one would require large amounts of fill "that will effectively create a large wall through the community," the report said.
As part of the discussion process, council voted for Option 2A as its preferred design. That proposal would see a roundabout constructed closer to Millbrook where the highway is to intersect at Highway 2, near the UFO store.