Walls that 'hold up' Halifax's Mulgrave Park get infrastructure money

1 / 2
Walls that 'hold up' Halifax's Mulgrave Park get infrastructure money

Retaining walls aren't typically a sexy spending item for governments. They don't make good spots for photo ops or ribbon cuttings, just hunks of concrete only a handful of people in a neighbourhood might notice.

Except in Halifax's Mulgrave Park, where retaining walls are a big deal.

"The main thing is our walls, that's the biggest thing, they are finally going to be fixed," said Elaine Williams, chair of the Mulgrave Park Tenants Association.

The federal and provincial government announced earlier this week they will spend $5 million between them for repairs and renovations in Mulgrave Park. Part of that money will be used to replace and repair aging retaining walls.

Retaining walls 'hold up' community

The public housing complex is built on a slope that leads down the Halifax harbour and retaining walls were used to create level areas. 

"Retaining walls are walls that kind of hold up our community, we are on a hill so when you look at it our community is full of retaining walls," said Williams

"If you look at over 60 years of wear and tear on retaining walls and to fix them it's going to cost a lot of money coming down. We have had patch work done to make sure it was still safe for the families and the kids. Just to get new walls in our community that is going to be spectacular."

Williams said the new walls will make sure her community stays in place for years to come. 

Construction to start in July

Mulgrave Park is made up of multiple buildings containing 310 apartment units that range in size from four bedrooms down to a bachelor pad, according to Williams.

The $5 million for renovations will also include fixing the exterior of high-rise apartment buildings, the renewal of buried heating pipes and safety and environmental risk management work, according to a government news release.  

Williams said she and a lot of other people in Halifax have been working for a long time to try and get more money put into public housing. She's glad to finally see money roll out. 

She also put a word in for her community when she briefly met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during one of his trips to Halifax. 

"I thought this was my opportunity to kind of get to talk to him, so I wasn't going to let that opportunity go by," she said. "It's just keeping up that fight and never letting it go if something's important to you."    

The renovations to Mulgrave Park are expected to get started in late July and finish up in the spring of 2019.