The Dotonbori Canal doesn’t see much people in its waters, other than the occasional drunk baseball fan, celebrating a win of the local team, the Hanshin Tigers. But a private company, the Dotonbori River Poolside Avenue and former government official, ex-head of the Economic Planning Agency Taichi Sakaiya, want to change that, transforming the canal into one of the world’s largest swimming pools.
The canal runs through the former theater district and current nightlife hub of Osaka. The area, which was once gritty and grimy and similar to Times Square in the 70s, has seen a recent push for gentrification with a new boardwalk and attempts to bring in a more family-friendly atmosphere, reports Eric Johnston of The Japan Times. The swimming pool would be part of these efforts, but the ¥3 billion ($29 million) needed for construction would be privately funded.
The pool will not be filled with canal water, rather a spokesman for the company Yasuo Fukuda explained:
[It] will only be 12 meters wide, but 800 meters long. The water will not be canal water, but purified city water that will be pumped into what is, essentially, a giant tank.
Currently, The Japan Times reports that there is not much public support for the plans with notions of the canal’s polluted waters muddying the idea for many. One commenter said:
Lots of drunken customers pack the bars in the Dotonbori area and, in the early morning hours, hosts from area host clubs urinate in the canal. It will be very difficult to keep clean.
Should the project get off the ground, it will be completed in 2015.