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2 of the water features at the Alberta legislature grounds set to reopen on Canada Day

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Albertans will once again be able to enjoy some of the water features at the legislature grounds this summer.

Starting July 1, the new reflecting pool and dome fountain at the grounds will open to the public.

All of the pools at the legislature have been closed since 2020 due to aging infrastructure.

The pools and fountains at the legislature were originally built in the 1970s.

As part of the upgrades, mechanical and filtration system issues were addressed, and the pools were brought up to current building and health code standards.

The depth of the reflecting pool was also decreased to six inches to make it wheelchair accessible and adhere to safety standards.

"To go beyond the six inch, we would have to have lifeguards on duty. We just felt that that was going to be something that would be difficult for us to facilitate on a 24-hour basis," Pete Guthrie, minister of infrastructure told reporters on Wednesday morning.

"I think that families are still going to be able to enjoy the same way that they did." 

The upgrades were completed on schedule despite complaints from neighbours last summer about jackhammering noise late into the night.

"There's over 95,000 cubic feet of concrete used and poured on the site, and about 200 tons of rebar used," Guthrie said. "Additionally, most of the granite you'll see in these features was refurbished from the old fountains, preserving a little bit of history, but also saving taxpayers money." 

Upgrading the pools was part of a $20-million renovation paid for by both the provincial and federal governments that will also see upgrades to walkways and decking.

This is the first phase of the renovations.

The second phase of renovations will include the construction of a new water feature, expected to be completed in 2025.

Last year, the province did a survey to pick a new design for the water feature, with Albertans selecting the "river" option.

The Alberta Government has released three concept images for a new wading pool area at the legislature. (Source: Alberta.ca)

The speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta says the investment into the fountains helps Albertans become invested in the legislative process.

"I think continuing to invest in infrastructure, just like this, allows Albertans to enjoy the legislature grounds even more," Nathan Cooper told reporters on Wednesday.

"And I look forward to the river feature that I think will encourage even more young Albertans to come to the legislature and have positive experiences here on the grounds, and hopefully that translates into engagement in our democracy."

In addition to the reopening of the pools, the legislature will also host several other activities on Canada Day, including musical performances from Captain Tractor and Kaeley Jade, a family fun zone, and the legislature chamber will be open to members of the public, something that only happens once a year.

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