Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Lloyd Hines is not backing away from a proposed highway through a Halifax wilderness area.
The province has a right-of-way that cuts across the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness area for the proposed Highway 113, a bypass that would run between Highway 102 and Highway 103.
Hines said it's on the department's future-projects list to help ease traffic congestion on nearby Hammonds Plains Road.
"The planning horizon there is 20 to 25 years," said Hines. "It's always a long-term planning exercise to try to determine what the place will look like down the road that far."
But Halifax regional councillors worry about the impact of the proposed bypass on the wilderness area.
"It would be a really bad idea, given our green network plan showing the ecological importance of this area," said Coun. Shawn Cleary.
Letter to province
On June 29, regional council agreed to send a letter to the province asking it to remove Highway 113 from the future-projects list. On Thursday, Hines said he was aware of Halifax's concerns.
"We'll take that into consideration," said Hines. "But we want to listen to all stakeholders that are involved."
The councillor for Hammonds Plains-St. Margaret's said she does not believe the bypass will actually solve any traffic problems.
"Dumping more traffic onto Larry Uteck [Boulevard] is not the answer," said Pamela Lovelace. "What we need is better transit, better mobility and better planning overall with connected communities."
Lovelace said the municipality and the province are "in a bit of a stalemate" and she is now pinning her hopes for the removal of Highway 113 on a "new approach at the Department of Transportation" after the next election.
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