Crusader For Fun Jumps In
Anika Riopel wants us to jump in … the harbour. And swim and frolic and stuff.
“Almost 10 years after the city spent $333 million to clean up its massive, infamously polluted harbour, the two public beaches near its downtown remain strangely quiet — even on hot, sunny days.,” writes Michael MacDonald for the Canadian Press.
The city didn’t hire lifeguards for the beaches at Black Rocks & Dingle this year, citing a lack of interest:
“There hasn’t been an appetite for swimming,” says city spokesman Nick Ritcey.”
But apparently, we just need to forgive and forget … and build a big raft on the waterfront: Anika Riopel, a 28-year-old student of environmental sustainability at Dalhousie University, says the problem is that Haligonians won’t let go of their ugly memories of what the harbour used to be like.
Local residents and businesses dumped raw sewage into the harbour for more than 250 years.
“We spent millions cleaning up our harbour and the data now show the harbour is clean, but the perception continues to be what the harbour was 10 years ago,” says Riopel.
“This is not just about swimming. It’s about changing our relationship with the harbour.”
Riopel has a bold vision for what the harbour could look like for swimmers. She started a campaign three weeks ago simply called “Jump In.” Her plan is to get the city to cordon off a small section of the downtown waterfront to create an urban swimming hole, complete with diving platform, raft and, of course, lifeguards.