2023 Bridgwater Forest Fountain Update
I’ll be frank and to the point in this update. I’ve been working on repairing this fountain since 2014 seeking the most economical way to repair it.
Many may recall Manitoba Housing hired a contractor to construct the fountain when they were developing Bridgwater Forest back in 2009-2010ish. It appears there was little to no oversight by both Manitoba Housing and the City during the construction process. Two years after the construction of the fountain, when the warranty expired, the issues started: leaking pipes, a shifting tank, ground instability, paving stones that shifted and created hazards, no piles installed for the trellis (which didn’t impact the fountain but created structural concerns for the shade canopy).
When I was elected, I secured funding to conduct ‘leak trials’ and repairs, which then led to further investigations and trials, and then to a structural engineers report in 2022: SEE: Fountain Rehabilitation Study
The 2022 engineers report listed five options to consider. This spring I requested City staff try one additional action – to see if they could replace the damaged pipe that transfers water from the tank to the fountain. They have provided an update to me today:
- The plumbing contractor reviewed the fountain and his camera was able to distinguish fractures as well as horizontal cracks and areas of “squished/oval shaping” of the supply line.
- This suggests that the supply line has deformed and cracked due to ground pressure – likely from over-zealous backfill compaction.
- This confirms our earlier investigation and provides the new information of cracks as well.
- He also noted that the tank has shifted. This is likely due to water leakage as the return pipe was sheared at the tank joint. This too would need to be corrected if the fountain is to resume regular operation. The contractor hopes to come back this week with a larger camera to scope the whole run of the return pipe and confirm the extent of breakage and cracks. He was not able to get through with his smaller camera. More information will be sent.
- More frankness – I highly doubt this fountain can be repaired. City staff have spent years trying all kinds of repairs. You can see in the Fountain Rehabilitation Study, many of the options are ranging upwards of $200,000 – with no guarantee at all that the investment would ensure the fountain would work for years to come.
- To replace this fountain, at a minimum would cost upwards of $750,000. While this fountain, when working, is stunning, I have to question if reinvesting $750,000 in the middle of the forest is the best use of $750,000.
- The fountain is tarped to prevent against more vandalism but it is an eyesore for sure.
- Some residents have suggested to replace with a spray pad. The City will not install a spray pad park in the middle of a forest and I agree with this. Spray pads need to be attached to a facility that has a bathroom, and in a highly visible area for young children. A state of the art spray pad is being installed at the new recreation campus.
- I am open to your thoughts on all of this.
- And quite honestly, at this point – a beautiful ‘fountain of flowers’ might look better than a tarped fountain with little to no hope in being repaired.