Local Parent Groups are outraged at a plan to excavate Citadel Hill in order to create traffic tunnels, an arts and recreation centre and a multi-storey car park in the downtown Halifax core.
Staff at the engineering department in the City of Halifax have leaked a document confirmed they are working with a group of city architects for a radical redesign of the city of Halifax .
The Proposal from the group is to redesign the entire layout of the downtown to ease traffic congestion , and also to create a “great circle” highway system around the peninsula. Planners say that The Halifax Citadel – a centuries old historic fortress and Parks Canada National Historic Site – has always presented a challenge to city planners and traffic managers.
At the heart of the proposal is bold plan to create better traffic flow, and alleviate traffic congestion by building a tunnel system running North/South and East/West underneath the famous hill.
A further element is to create millions of square feet of commercial and recreational real estate filled with year-round weather free car parks, shopping centres, and sports and entertainment complexes, including a cultural centre, concert hall and art gallery.
Engineering surveys conducted by the architect group show the project would best be achieved by simply “popping off the top” of the Citadel in order to excavate the hill in an open-pit excavation process.
The fortress itself would be dismantled brick by brick and then returned atop of the new Citadel.
One bonus of the plan, say developers, is that the fortress could actually be raised by approximately 100 feet to restore the viewplane from the The Citadel over the high-rise buildings that have recently been built in the Halifax core.
The proposal also contains the possibility of replacing the grass surface of the Citadel with AstroTurf or another synthetic material which would avoid having to mow the grass on the steep slopes – a difficult and dangerous task which has to be performed every year.
“It’s a win, win situation,” say the planners.
But local parents disagree.
“I don’t want my kids to grow up in a city like this,” said Avril dePoisson, a local parent and member of the Association of Parents Raising Intelligent Learners, a grassroots educational co-op in North End Halifax, “the whole plan is just foolish.”
The second phase of the scheme, The “Great Circle” traffic route, is another bonus by product of this “bold and imaginative” plan, say developers in the leaked document.
It proposes that the fill and rock from the hollowing out of Citadel Hill could be used to create a part-causeway, part-bridge to McNab’s Island.
A further bridge from Mcnabs Island to Eastern Passage would create a circular freeway system or “ring road” around the peninsula, forging new ties between the communities of the South End of Halifax, Armdale and Dartmouth East.
McNab’s Island itself is pegged as a location for a large bulk grocery store, which could be easily accessed by shoppers on both sides of the Halifax Harbour.
“It would be great to have a COSTCO right in the middle of the harbour”, agreed one parent, “but I really don’t think we need another bridge.”
Construction could begin as early as April 1st, 2018 – exactly one year from today.