Mount Pearl has high tech hopes for former city swimming pool

Mount Pearl’s plan to grow its population, bring in new business and diversify its economy starts with flooring over its old swimming pool.

The city wants to renovate the shuttered Mount Pearl Swimming Pool building and turn it into a type of incubator for technology startups.

‘An exciting, young environment’

“We very much view the technology sector as the future in this province — in this region — and we’re hoping to be a hub of activity for that industry and encourage the young minds to come to Mount Pearl and help us develop a new city with a fresh vision,” said Coun. Andrew Ledwell.

“We’ve been through the fishery.… We’ve been through oil and gas and we’ve kind of come out on the other end of that boom, but the technical sector is an exciting, young environment.”

Mount Pearl Swimming Pool is located near Schlumberger Playground off Park Avenue. (Katie Breen/CBC)

The city believes the swimming pool project will provide an affordable space for like-minded companies to work on their own innovations, collaborate, and occasionally help the municipality come up with creative, tech-based solutions for its operations.

In turn, it hopes the young families will settle down in Mount Pearl to help offset the city’s aging population.

Renovations would create a loft-style space and cost an estimated $3 million, according to city officials.

Andrew Ledwell is a city councillor in Mount Pearl. (Katie Breen/CBC)

“We’re doing a study to look at the feasibility of the old pool location, down off Park Ave., and looking at some other options as well,” Ledwell said.

“It’s going to be part of our five-year strategic plan that we’re going to release in the fall.… Technology is a big pillar of the strategic plan.”

Smart Cities Challenge

The idea to make Mount Pearl the hub for Newfoundland and Labrador tech startups came out of Infrastructure Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge — a competition that challenged municipalities and regional governments to come up with tech-based solutions to improve the lives of residents. Winning entries could earn as much as $50 million in federal money to implement the proposed solution.

Mount Pearl titled its entry A1Next — after the area’s A1N postal code.

Mount Pearl is hoping to renovate its former swimming pool building into a facility for tech startups. (Katie Breen/CBC)

It didn’t win. But the city intends to keep applying for different funding streams.

“There’s a lot of excitement around A1Next.… I get asked about it in the community all the time … and that’s why we’re really hopeful and really proud to be continuing with it despite the fact that we weren’t successful in being a finalist,” said Ledwell.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Mount Pearl has high tech hopes for former city swimming pool

Aggregated from: CBC | Newfoundland and Labrador News

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