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'This is not what was envisioned:' Concerns expressed after city shuts off retention pond fountains
WINNIPEG -- Residents in the South End of Winnipeg are expressing concerns about safety and smell in their neighborhood after the City of Winnipeg shut off about a dozen fountains in retention ponds.
The fountains are located in Whyte Ridge, Waverley West, as well as a handful of other areas across Winnipeg.
"They're not just decorative fountains," said Coun. Janice Lukes, who represents Waverley West. "They circulate the water."
Lukes said the fountains help to prevent the growth of algae.
Now that they're off, residents say algae blooms in retention ponds are getting out of control. Thick mats of the green algae are beginning to cloud the water, and the warm summer growing season has just begun.
In a statement, the City of Winnipeg tells CTV News that fountain operation was eliminated in the 2020-2023 multi-year budget.
"The work eliminated included the annual operation, maintenance, and repair of fountains at the storm water retention basins," the city said.
Lukes said the city shut them off this year to save money, and plans to keep them off for four years.
"You might as well just throw them in the garbage now," said Lukes. "Because if you shut off a fountain for four years the cost to start up that fountain, there's a lot of things that happen in a pond over four years if nothings moving."
Brian Mayes, the incoming chair of the Water and Waste Committee, said during budget deliberations, city administrators said the fountains were there for aesthetic purposes. But he says this is not what was envisioned. The city tells CTV the fountains "do provide some aeration immediately around the fountain itself, but nothing substantial enough to have any benefit."
Mayes said the problem is being discussed, and while it may not be fixed this summer, he says the fountains could be back on next summer.