A recently constructed stairway leading to the Halifax Harbor on the downtown waterfront will soon have safety signage.
The steps, called Queen’s Landing, were part of the Queen’s Marque project built by Armor Group Limited at a price of nearly $200 million. The public space of the complex, including the staircase, was opened to the public at the end of 2021.
Although the steps were intended as a place to sit near the water, people now use them for swimming.
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Over the long Canada Day weekend, several videos of people jumping into the ocean on those steps trended online.
A video posted to TikTok on Sunday showed two people standing knee-deep on the steps just before a swim. The video went viral on the app with over 230,000 views.
Other social media users responded to the video with safety concerns, not just about the slippery steps but also the water itself.
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Develop Nova Scotia spokeswoman Deborah Page says the crown corporation is responsible for the public space area, including steps, at Queen’s Marque along the waterfront.
Page said they hoped people would want to touch the water.
“We hear from people along the way in our many engagements that they love interacting with water,” he said.
“We’re not encouraging swimming per say, but we know it will happen.”
But, it must be done safely, Page said. That’s why the corporation is bringing new signage to warn visitors.
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Page said there is currently security monitoring the boardwalk.
A safety concern is other watercraft on the water, Page said, such as boats, Sea-Doos and kayaks. “We will also be looking at some interventions to separate swimmers from boaters.”
When it comes to the cleanliness of the water in Halifax Harbor, Page said it’s “absolutely” safe to swim.
“Halifax and Nova Scotia spent quite a bit of money cleaning up the harbor, and you really see it,” he said.
“It’s a working port, but it also has big tides, so it’s regularly unloaded.”
Page said with a laugh that he hasn’t used the stairs yet, but he has swum in the water.
In the meantime, the new safety signage will be installed in the coming weeks.
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