News / Edmonton

Council votes to drain city hall wading pool to ankle-deep

On Tuesday, city council vote 8 - 4 in favour of reducing the depth of the pool from 40 cm to 15 cm

Kevin Tuong / Metro Web Upload

Starting next summer, the popular wading pool outside Edmonton's city hall will be significantly shallower, after city council voted Tuesday to reduce the water's depth.

Councillors voted 8-4 against keeping the 40cm depth--which would have required costly upgrades required to meet Alberta Health Services standards--in favour of a shallower, 15 cm pool.

“I’m hopeful that in the two discussions that we have had and all the openness, that people will understand the regulatory issues with the new building codes,” Mayor Don Iveson said afterwards.

“The water won’t be quite as deep, but otherwise from my point of view it will be better in the sense that it will be much more accessible to persons with disabilities who need mobility aids.”

The vote followed a fiery discussion in council chambers, with some councillors including Aaron Paquette, Mike Nickel and Bev Esslinger asking administration to do more public engagement on the matter.

“We really didn't ask the children,” Esslinger said. “I think we missed an opportunity. As a child-friendly city we said we would like to give children a voice… People wanted us to do it right. They didn't want us to cheap out.”

But others felt that the time had come to make a decision.

“Administration has done their due diligence. I am satisfied that it's enough,” said Coun. Moe Banga.

Edmontonians have enjoyed the city hall pool, which becomes a skating rink in the winter, for the last 25 years. But the time had come to do some age-related repairs, which would have required the city to bring it up to current building codes.

In January, administration told council that they'd have to choose: either reduce the depth of the pool to 15 cm, or add a filtration system and a fence or guard. The new filtration system would have cost $400,000, plus $121,000 to have a staff member watch the pool at all times.

Construction for the new pool will begin sometime in 2018 and the pool will open the public alongside the newly refurbished Churchill Square in 2019.

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