A recently built stairway leading into the Halifax Harbour on in the city’s downtown waterfront will soon get safety signage.
The steps, named Queen’s Landing, were part of the Queen’s Marque project built by Armour Group Limited at a pricetag of nearly $200 million. The complex’s public space, including the stairway, opened to the public in late 2021.
Though the steps were intended as a place to sit near the water, people are now using them to go for a swim.
Over the Canada Day long weekend, several videos of people jumping into the ocean on those steps became trending online.
One video posted to TikTok on Sunday showed two people standing knee-deep on the steps right before hopping in for a swim. The video went viral on the app with more than 230,000 views.
Other social media users responded to the video with safety concerns, not only with the slippery steps but the water itself.
Spokesperson for Develop Nova Scotia Deborah Page said in a Tuesday interview with Global News Morning, that the crown corporation is responsible for the public space area, including the steps, in the Queen’s Marque along the waterfront.
Page said they expected people to want to touch the water.
“We heard from people along the way in our many engagements that they love to interact with the water,” she said.
“We’re not encouraging swimming per se, but we know it will happen.”
But, it needs to be done safely, said Page. That’s why the corporation is bringing in new signage to warn visitors.
Page said there is currently security that monitor the waterfront.
One safety concern is other vessels in the water, said Page, like boats, Sea-doos, and kayaks. “We’ll be looking at some interventions as well to separate the swimmers from the boaters.”
When it comes to the cleanliness of water in Halifax Harbour, Page said it is “absolutely” safe to swim.
“Halifax and Nova Scotia spent quite a bit of money cleaning up the harbour, and you really do see it,” she said. “It’s a working harbour, but it also has great tides so it flushes on a regular basis.”
Page said with a laugh she hasn’t used the stairs yet, but she has swum in the water.
In the meantime, the new safety signage will be up within the next few weeks.