Alberta legislature pool, fountain readying for summer opening

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Visitors to the legislature grounds will soon be able to dip their toe into the newly-refurbished main pool this summer, according to Alberta Infrastructure.

The renovation is part of a $20-million overhaul of the water features at the legislature grounds first announced in May of 2022, with costs shared between the provincial and federal governments.

Phase 1 of the work involves renewing the main pool in front of the legislature building steps as well as the dome fountain directly north of the pool.

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An exact opening date has yet to be set and is partly dependent on the weather, but Alberta Infrastructure says it’s confident those two elements will be open to the public before summer is out.

On Thursday, the pool was filled with water

The pool and fountain are expected to look largely like they did before the work began but with a few new upgrades.

The dome fountain is one of two water elements at the Alberta legislature grounds expected to open this summer. Greg Southam-Postmedia

The pool will be shallower than before, and lined with many of the same blocks of granite that were original to the facility, though they’ll be arranged to hide the backflow grates that were previously visible.

It will also have lower, easier access, including two sloped entry points with tactile strips to allow easier entry for those with mobility issues, limited vision, or for young children.

While it emerged as popular spot to cool off during the summer, the pool wasn’t initially intended to be used by people, meaning chlorinating the water become a guess-and-test process.

That too, will be upgraded with internal sensors that gauge the water cleanliness and chlorine levels.

Alberta legislature grounds construction
The areas to the immediate east and west of the main pool are also getting an overhaul to offer more green and sitting areas. Greg Southam-Postmedia

The upgrades were necessary, the government says, because of issues with mechanical and filtration systems underneath the pool that resulted in more than 60,000 litres of water being lost in the years before the closure, some of it onto 97 Avenue below.

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Areas on the east and west sides of the pool and dome fountain are also being re-profiled to offer more green space and picnic areas.

Legislature wading pool construction
Work on the north end of the plaza and installation of the new “river” spray park is expected to continue into 2025. Greg Southam-Postmedia

Alberta Infrastructure says the north water feature will open next year and will include 10 boulders sourced from within Alberta to help accent the river and spray park design chosen by Albertans in an online vote.

That will replace the former system of pools, pathways, and fountains that had started to show signs of age, with rebar and cracked or broken concrete visible in some parts.

Legislature Wading pool
Kids cool off in the fountains at the provincial legislature on a hot day in Edmonton on Thursday July 9, 2015. (Photo by John Lucas/Edmonton Journal)

Demolition of the pool, plaza decking, wading pool, and water features began in March 2023 and finished five months later.

Crews of between 85 and 100 toiled through the winter under a large, heated tent, and are now working around the clock seven days a week on the project.

According to Alberta Infrastructure, 190,000 construction hours have been worked on the project to date, with more than 2,700 cubic meters of concrete being poured, and about 200 tonnes of rebar being used.

Legislature wading pool construction
Much work remains to be done at the site of the old wading pool and fountains with construction forecast to be completed in 2025. Greg Southam-Postmedia

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