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Former Mayors are saddened at prospect of City Hall losing its pool

The proposed removal of Hamilton’s City Hall fountain, some 52 years after the iconic site opened, has saddened two former Mayors.

Lawson Mapp, Hamilton Mayor from 2000 to 2006, admitted that the pool sometimes sprinkled bystanders when the wind caught it, and was not as imaginative as the Bacardi Building’s waterfall.

Nevertheless, he declared himself “disappointed” at the prospect of seeing it go.

“Most city halls around the world have a nice fountain to enhance the building,” he said, adding that he had tried to get influential friends to fund a revamp of the reflecting pool during his own tenure.

Still hoping for a last-minute benefactor to save it, Mr Mapp questioned whether the City Council had made too quick a decision.

“I gather there’s been a leak in the pool, and that vagrants have been bathing in it,” he said. “I have never seen anyone bathe in that water. Perhaps after hours. I have seen chaps taking out water to wash cars.”

Recalling the pool when it contained fish and lilies, with the occasional visiting heron, Mr Mapp said the pool had been enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. The idea of a garden being installed was a disappointment, he said.

“I do sympathise with the City trying to cut costs now that Government has decided they’re the ones collecting the taxes,” he added.

Not everyone liked the water feature along Nellie’s Walk on Church Street. Former Hamilton Mayor Chesley White was said to have disliked the pool, and preferred the idea of a rock garden.

But as the City mulls taking it away, many have spoken up in protest.

Former Hamilton Mayor E. Graham Gibbons, whose father Edmund Gibbons paid for the fountains, said he could appreciate the expense of maintaining the pool, which required frequent top-ups because of a leak.

However, he said: “To remove it completely will, I think, be a loss for the character of the City,” he said. “It’s certainly a part of City Hall and to have it become just a lawn is unfortunate and rather sad.”

Useful website: www.cityhall.bm.

The City Hall fountain on Nellies Walk is slated to be filled in. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Readers want the pool and fountains to remain

It dates back to 1960 but the days may be numbered for Hamilton City Hall’s reflecting pool.The Royal Gazette quickly weighed in on its proposed closure.The Royal Gazette: “I vote to KEEP THE FOUNTAINS.”

Readers of

Responded one reader of

“Here we go again,” wrote AF Smith CEO Tim Smith. “Removing something that is enjoyed by many, in part because of City vagrants (apparently they sometimes wash themselves in the pool).

“City benches were modified to stop vagrants from sleeping on them. Now the rest of us have to sit next to a ridiculous hump. Also, the City closes its parks at night because of unsocial behaviour by some.”

Added Mr Smith: “Let’s consider something novel. For example, place fountains in the ground that squirt up randomly, like they do in Boston where children play excitedly. No pool needed and the fountains can be turned off at night. Just imagine: children playing in front of City Hall during our warmer months! And thereby making the City more family friendly!”

Another reader told us the City of Hamilton should “definitely keep and improve the fountain, even if in a different form”.

The reader continued: “They can save money in many other creative ways. Paving or putting in grass is a terrible idea, which will create new problems, as well as being totally ugly.”

Noting that the pool was presumably not being abused in daylight hours, the reader asked: “Why can’t they have a nightwatchman?”

As well as attracting use by the homeless and others, the heavily chlorinated pool was said to be a drain on finances because of a leak in the bottom.

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Published March 12, 2012 at 10:06 am (Updated March 12, 2012 at 10:06 am)

Former Mayors are saddened at prospect of City Hall losing its pool

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