HALIFAX - Bedford councillor Tim Outhit is hoping Halifax regional council agrees to defer developments along the Bedford Highway and surrounding area until a strategy is in place to handle the population growth.
© Metro Halifax/Jeff Harper
Traffic heads down a wet Bedford Highway.
The Community Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee suggest council accept a traffic report on the Bedford-Halifax corridor. They also recommend deferring consultation on developments in the area until reviews of the Regional Plan, transit, and commuter rail are finished.
They would also like council to decide on a development charge to help offset transportation costs.
“We should have all answers within a year,” Outhit said Sunday. “If we can accommodate growth, fine. If we can’t, then we’re going to have to cut back our expectations.”
Public consultation on five developments in Bedford, Fairview and Clayton Park that would move 10,000 to 15,300 people into the area were put on hold over a year ago until a traffic analysis could be done.
Last month, Outhit said he would “reject” the traffic report’s idea the Bedford Highway can handle the increase as long as Bayers Road is widened.
“The Bedford and Rockingham transit service just can’t take this influx of people,” Outhit said. “We’re at risk of gridlock now.”
The Motherhouse development at Mount Saint Vincent University has already been approved, but Outhit said he doesn’t expect it to create much strain on current traffic.
Outhit said the situation is similar to that in Bedford south, where people couldn’t move into their homes until the Hammonds Plains Road was widened and the Larry Uteck Interchange was in place.
The councillor said he’s not expecting a long debate over the recommendations because most understand the importance of preparing for growth, and creating a way for developers to contribute to future costs rather than “saddling the taxpayers with it all.”
- by Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax