Student hopes wave of waste will send ripples through Halifax

Environmental sustainability student Anika Riopel hopes to spread awareness of marine waste through a community project recreating a Halifax waterfront icon.

The iconic wave statue that sits along the Halifax waterfront is expected to be replicated this summer, except the new version would be constructed out of garbage.

Anika Riopel, a first year Dalhousie University student in the environmental sustainability program, is very excited to see the pieces of her vision beginning to fall into place.

“We’re going to build it directly beside [the wave],” said Riopel, “and make an exact replica of the wave, which is exciting because it’s a Halifax icon and it’s big. We’re going to try to make a frame and then fill it with marine waste.”

The art project, known as the wave of waste, is designed to raise awareness about ocean waste and inspire people to make positive contributions to their community.

There is still a lot of planning that needs to be done, including obtaining a permit of permission from the city. However, Riopel is confident that it can be accomplished.

The public enjoys the iconic wave at the Halifax boardwalk. (Photo: Katlyn Pettipas)
The public enjoys the iconic wave at the Halifax boardwalk. (Photo: Katlyn Pettipas)

“We just need a permit,” said Riopel, “which is totally achievable.”

While Riopel has a love for oceans, she is also passionate about educating students. She is very excited to be able to include high school students in this project.

The students, as well as the high schools that will be participating in the project, are yet to be chosen.

Riopel said participating students will become project leaders and will make decisions throughout the entire process. She will be there as a guide to help them.

“What we’re going to try and do is walk a very kind of fine line in facilitating the workshops but giving the high school students the opportunity to actually take over the project themselves,” she said.

Riopel is hoping to connect a younger generation to nature and motivate them to create positive change within the community.

TJ Maguire, the urban designer at Waterfront Development, likes the idea.

“However, there is a lot of planning that needs to happen in order to reassure that the waste is safe for the children,” Maguire said.

Riopel is planning to obtain the waste for the project through beach cleanups. She is also hoping to collect waste from the waterfront with help from divers.

Riopel plans to build the wave of waste on June 6. It is unclear how long the wave would be maintained after construction is completed.

The public will be encouraged to participate in the project and help build the wave.

“A small group of people can put together something really cool and actually have an impact on the community,” Riopel said.