Westwood’s ornamental pond is just north of my apartment building. I’ve often walked by it and regretted that I couldn’t use it for wading during hot summer days.
The pond was a community wading pool for several years. But in 2011, Alberta Health Services declared it unsafe for wading and it’s now designated as strictly ornamental, with signage in place to discourage use as a wading pool.
“Alberta Health Services identified the standing water as a health hazard,” said Kim Ellis, president of Westwood Community League.
Since then, the City of Edmonton and community members have worked to develop a plan for the pond.
“This has been a longstanding project all the way back to 2010,” said Ellis.
In 2012, Westwood Community League surveyed the surrounding community. In June of 2014, the city presented two concept plans at a public open house and gathered feedback.
“The plan was narrowed down to a single plan,” said Ellis. “It was presented to us as something really unique. We finessed it down to what I think is a good compromise.”
By December 2014, project funding was approved in the 2015-2018 capital budget deliberations. The city presented the approved concept plan to Westwood Community League in March 2015.
The final plan sees the area as a quiet space with an ornamental fountain north of the site. This is for year-round use and will be a tranquil setting for community league events.
The south end of the park will have a ground spray deck where people can get wet and cool off. Grassy areas nearby will provide space to sunbathe. Increased seating, including picnic tables, will also be available.
Pedestrian movement areas at the park will be upgraded. A pathway through the park will link the north and south sections. The concrete path around the park and the stairs leading to the community league will be restored.
The pond’s mechanism will be upgraded to meet necessary standards. Concrete in the pond will be recycled as fill material where possible throughout the city.
Construction is expected to start shortly and the project is slated to be complete in the fall. “We’re hoping it will be done in the fall,” said Ellis. “We’ve talked about it and worked on it for so long.”
Feature image: Westwood’s wading pool and park are slated for renovation. | Chantal Figeat
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