Sports courts, event spaces coming to Lake Echo Beach

Park improvements to come by 2022 now that the plan is approved

Lake Echo residents will finally get some of the outdoor activity options they’ve been asking for for years.

In addition to the community centre and canoe club currently there, the Halifax Regional Municipality intends to add outdoor fitness equipment, bandstands and sports courts.

On Oct. 29, Halifax regional council approved the Lake Echo District Park Plan, a document outlining potential future changes to the park grounds.

In addition to activity-related changes, the city plans to remove aquatic weeds, increase access to washrooms and remove the motorized boat launch, which is currently right near the swimming area.

In response to requests from the public, Halifax parks and recreation held a public meeting at the Lake Echo Community Centre last October, asking for community members’ input on the planned development.

This community meeting influenced the park plan, drawn up by parks and recreation’s landscape architect, Stephen Cushing.

Deb Day, who lives in the nearby community of Mineville, is looking forward to the changes.

“To have a place where local musicians could come and play, and have community barbecues,” Day said, “I think it will be a bigger draw for people in the community to come together and take part in some of those things when they have a beautiful park to come to.”

The current boat launch and beach at Lake Echo.   Kristin Gardiner

Day has spoken with some project planners on what she would like to see in the development. As a health and wellness coach, she tries to get seniors more engaged in fitness. She wants fitness equipment in the park so someone could host outdoor fitness classes there.

Day heard about the park project this spring and attended a public engagement meeting in March. There, the park plan was unveiled to the community, and residents were able to ask questions and add more feedback.

“There was quite a bit of excitement,” Day said.

Scott Reinhardt, Vice Commodore of the Orenda Canoe Club, is also looking forward to the changes. The club has been at Lake Echo since it opened 42 years ago.

Reinhardt said the park, which he calls “the central hub of the community,” is underdeveloped. He wants to see more people using the space and believes the park should focus on activities and recreation.

“Increased foot traffic, I think, has a great benefit for everybody,” he said. “If it happens to benefit Orenda, that’s great, too. But we also have a rec centre next door, the beach is there, other amenities will be added … I think it’s a great thing, for sure.”

The park plan will be used as a guiding document as the city moves to create a detailed design and budget. The detailed design is expected by 2021, with improvements to the park starting in 2022.

This concept art from the HRM park plan shows the planned changes to the beach.   Halifax.ca
Kristin Gardiner

Kristin Gardiner

Kristin is a Prince Edward Islander currently working in Halifax. Her journalistic interests lie in copy editing and longform features.

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