Pool revamp proposal for Halifax Common faces resistance from group

·2 min read
The current pool at the Halifax Common is old. It is scheduled to be shut down permanently in the fall. (CBC - image credit)
The current pool at the Halifax Common is old. It is scheduled to be shut down permanently in the fall. (CBC - image credit)

Members of the group Friends of the Halifax Common have told a Nova Scotia legislative committee that construction of a new pool should not be permitted on the green space until the public is consulted.

They believe too much of the Common is being eroded.

"Parking garages, a soccer stadium, the Oval and now an aquatic centre," said David Garrett, co-chair of the group, noting a number of changes over the years to the popular public space in central Halifax. "Perhaps they are necessary in this location, perhaps not."

The city wants to revamp the outdoor pool area at the Common. Construction of a new pool, splash pad and changing facility could cost $16.2 million.

But the project cannot proceed until the provincial legislation governing the Halifax Common is amended. The legislature's law amendments committee heard presentations on the proposed changes on Thursday morning. Alan Ruffman, the other co-chair of Friends of the Halifax Common, also argued against approving Bill 103.

"It appears the legislature is being asked to approve only one building, but the plans show two buildings," said Ruffman, "The bill should be set aside until HRM completes the master plan for the Halifax Common."

Strong support, says CAO

Halifax's chief administrative officer spoke in favour of the change. Jacques Dubé told the committee the existing pool is at the end of its lifespan and could fail at any time. He also insisted that there has been extensive public consultation.

"The consultation during the long-term aquatic strategy and the Halifax Common master plan indicates strong public support for the replacement of the existing assets and new updated aquatic facility in the Halifax Common," said Dubé.

Dubé said some people are concerned about access to the green space during construction, but he said disruption would be kept to a minimum and most of the Common would remain accessible.

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