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Oasis with thermal baths proposed for old Rossdale power plant site

WATCH ABOVE: Michael Zabinski wants to turn the vacant historic building into an oasis brimming with life. He came up with the proposal for his graduate thesis at Dalhousie University. Shallima Maharaj reports.

EDMONTON – An Edmonton architect intern is re-imagining what can be done with the old Rossdale power plant and it’s generating plenty of discussion.

Michael Zabinski wants to turn the vacant historic building into an oasis brimming with life. He came up with the proposal for his graduate thesis at Dalhousie University.

The proposal involves a gondola, which would take visitors from the top of 104 Street into the Rossdale building. Zabinski’s plan also includes recommissioning the plant to set it up as a micro-generating station for residential development.

The proposal also suggests harnessing the waste heat and tailings from the process to fill a series of Scandinavian-inspired thermal baths. The baths would be located both inside and outside the building.

There would also be an outdoor plaza along the North Saskatchewan River.

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“I’ve pulled walls off the building and in its place, I’ve inserted boardwalks and glass pavilions that are extremely different from the original, in hopes that people will see that contrast and realize how lucky we are to have such a historic resource in the city,” said Zabinski.

“Whether it is feasible—given budget constraints that the city has, in its current iteration—probably not. But ideas can be taken from my thesis and put forward in more practical ways.”

The future of the site remains uncertain, but a number of proposals for the old Rossdale power plant are being put forward. One group was pushing for a $36-million canal.

The historic brick building on the north bank of the river was constructed during the middle part of the twentieth century.

In 2013, the price to upgrade the facility and two former pumping stations for commercial tenants, along with other improvements to the 1.8-hectare site, is now estimated at $87.3 million.

Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths.
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths. Courtesy, Michael Zabinski
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths.
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths. Courtesy, Michael Zabinski
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths.
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths. Courtesy, Michael Zabinski
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths.
Michael Zabinski's plans include turning the vacant Rossdale power plant into an Oasis, complete with thermal baths. Courtesy, Michael Zabinski

With files from Shallima Maharaj, Global News.

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