2020 Update: Bridgwater Forest Fountain
Photo Credit: Bridgwater Neighbourhoods
I was elected in 2014 and started working on issues related to the Bridgewater Forest Fountain. All features that developers construct are on a two year warranty (some longer) The Bridgwater Forest Fountain was on a two year warranty and worked well – until the warranty expired, and then issues started happening. I’ve tracked the highlights of the work that has been, and is occurring on the fountain:
- 2012: Responsibility of care and maintenance for the fountain was transferred to the city in 2012.
- 2013: The warranty expired and then the fountain quit working. There was significant debate on who would fix the fountain – Manitoba Housing or the City of Winnipeg.
- 2015: Having just been elected in Oct 2014 – I set out to have clarity on what the repair issues were. Still there was much back and forth between Manitoba Housing and City Parks Department as to who would fund repairs. I gathered a high level estimate of the cost from Parks Department, that something in the range of $100K would provide enough funding to investigate issues.
- 2016: I secured $100K in the City budget to initiate repairing the fountain. I worked with Manitoba Housing and secured some additional assistance in repairing the fountain.
- 2017: Repair work started and it was determined that the ‘holding tank’ (located near the pump house) had sunk and the pipe connecting the holding tank to the fountain – had broken away therefore ending the flow of water. Extensive work occurred to restore the tank from its ‘sunken’ location and to fix the connecting pipes to the fountain. During this time of repair, the ‘fountain jets’ were stolen and remaining ones vandalized. Special jets had to be order from an overseas supplier. Jets were installed and fountain started running again. The fountain was then up and running – BUT a few weeks into the fountain running – another leak in the pipe was discovered – and repaired. Also during summer of 2017, general maintenance occurred removing overgrown shrubs and weeds, and the entire bricking at the base of the fountain was reset as the bricks had all shifted. Water consumption records were kept throughout the 2017 season.
- 2017-2018 Winter: Water consumption records were analyzed and the department believed there was still a leak somewhere due to volume of water being used – as compared to what Fountain Manufacturing Company stated what volume of water use should be.
- 2018: A structural engineer was hired by the Parks Department to analyze the fountain to determine if the structure was intact and things weren’t ‘sinking’ causing more shifting and cracks / broken seals – which would cause leaking and an increase in water use. Throughout the summer the fountain has been on and off for very short spurts for testing. I am told by the Park department the report will be coming forward mid-August.
- 2019: The fountain was operational and the City has been tracking water leakage. According to the City department, the fountain still seems to be leaking, far less than previously, but there is some leakage. The department will continue to track leakage. Landscaping around the fountain has been trimmed and the flower beds have been upgraded.
- 2020: The fountain will still be monitored for leakage. Brick levelling will be occurring as there are some tripping hazards that have to be addressed. Tree planting in the north west corner will occur this fall (2020) to replace trees that were removed. There is a new development related to the brick columns. Investigation is underway to ensure all brick columns are intact as one column was shifting. When it was disassembled, City staff found that the column’s rebar was not tied to the rebar in the underground pile. That column was removed. I have asked the department to investigate the possibility of legal action towards the contractors, as this latest deficiency appears to violate safety specifications.
- Trees were removed during the investigative work and repair of the tank – and will be replaced once the final solution is determined – as more excavation work may need to occur to fix the fountain once the report is presented.
- In my opinion, this fountain was poorly constructed and is now the responsibility of the City to fix. If I could go back in time, I would have ensured a City staff was present during the entire construction of the fountain. But, that is not possible. The fountain is a feature in the neighbourhood, a beautiful gathering spot, and I will continue to ensure it keeps working.