Nova Scotia

Revamped public space on Halifax waterfront could include beach, splash pad

Develop Nova Scotia's plan includes a raised beach, playground and water play area.

Develop Nova Scotia's plan includes a raised beach, playground and water play area

People swim and play on inflatable rafts in Halifax harbour
People swim in Halifax harbour as part of an event called The Big Jump in 2018. (Develop Nova Scotia)

Downtown Halifax could become home to a new beach, play area and splash pad, among other amenities.

Develop Nova Scotia issued a tender on Monday for a detailed site design for a revamped public space on the Halifax waterfront.

The space is located between Bishop's Landing and the Nova Scotia Power building near Lower Water Street and Morris Street. It will be situated next to the Cunard Building, a development by Southwest Properties that will see 235 rental units as well as commercial units built next to the Nova Scotia Power building.

Develop Nova Scotia's plan calls for a raised beach, shade structures and seating, a water play area and separate playground, washrooms and showers. Plans could change as the project moves through a more detailed design phase.

Right now, much of the area to be developed is a parking lot.

Beach high on wish list

The plan was created after consulting with the public about what people wanted to see in the space. Some of the most-requested features were a splashpad, a floating dock or walkway and a beach experience with "an opportunity to interact with the harbour."

The Halifax waterfront recently gained such an opportunity with the construction of steps leading into the harbour at the nearby Queen's Marque.

However, twice over the past month, Halifax Water has advised people not to swim in or participate in any recreational activities in the harbour after an emergency pump failed and caused wastewater and stormwater to flow into it.

An illustration of the proposed plan for the public space
The conceptual design of the public space includes a water play area, a raised beach and a playground. (Develop Nova Scotia)

According to the list of "must-haves" in the public engagement report, any beach area would require regular water quality testing, a signal indicating water quality such as a light or a flag, and publicly available water quality data online. 

Some of the inspirations for a downtown beach area listed in the report include Woodbine Beach and HTO Park in Toronto and Breakwater Park in Kingston, Ont.

According to the conceptual design, the space could also become home to the Acadian monument, which was removed five years ago after it began sinking.

The tender notes construction on the space is expected to begin next March, with the completion of the project anticipated in March 2024.

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