April 30, 2014 4:06 pm

Developer asks for input on Bedford Basin proposal

HALIFAX – A new, downsized plan for development along the Bedford waterfront has been unveiled and now the developer is asking for the public’s feedback.

The Waterfront Development Corporation launched an open house Wednesday to gather input on its proposal.

The development of the area has been a hot-button issue for years, with the original scheme drawing criticism for its scale and the amount of infilling of the Bedford Basin it would require.

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A initial concept created in 2010 would have required about 38 acres of infill on the basin, but area residents wanted a smaller project.

“We’re looking at about 20 acres of fill in the basin, so about half the size,” said Andy Fillmore, the vice-president of the Waterfront Development Corporation. “We’re carrying forward all the principles for the community that people are excited about, like continuous boardwalk around the perimeter, preservation of important views, the existence of some naturalized areas.”

Fillmore said it’s an area where people will be able to connect with nature.

“As it stands now there’s only about 1,100 linear metres of public access to the waterfront in all of Bedford and what this proposal is offering is an additional 1,200 metres,” he said.

Fillmore said the new development is expected to be self-financing, with no requirement for taxpayer money.

The previous proposal was for 2,300 residential units, but it’s been cut in half, while retail space has been cut by 75 per cent.

Waterfront planner Kristin O’Toole is leading a walking tour of the site as part of the open house. She said with the reduction in structures, more than half of the area will be open space.

“[It] would include park, boardwalk, plaza, sidewalks and trail, so that’s all encompassed in open space,” she said.

Jennifer Ramsay has a young family and will speak about the development from a family’s point of view Thursday night at a public presentation, which will take place from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.

She says she has concerns about the project, and is calling on others to voice theirs.

“I think we need more park space still than is in this current plan — more green space — and the community will really enjoy having a place to be active and to share with their families,” she said.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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