Edmonton city council’s executive committee is recommending that the city pay more than $700,000 to turn the taps back on to the Great Divide Waterfall.
“It’s overused, this idea of things that are iconic. Here we have something that I actually think actually is iconic in the minds of people all over Edmonton,” said Coun. Ben Henderson.
“I think we shouldn’t walk away from it too easily.”
The 64-metre waterfall was installed on the High Level Bridge in 1980, to celebrate the province’s 75th Anniversary.
“Environmental standards have changed over the last 30 years, and what was acceptable 20 years ago is not necessarily acceptable today,” said Coun. Tony Caterina.
The city still hasn’t found a new source for the water.
One option is to use chemicals to de-chlorinated the water that was previously used for the waterfall.
Another is to use untreated river water, which would require new pumps and infrastructure, which could cost up to $2 million, according to early estimates.
The work likely wouldn’t be done in time to have the waterfall turned on for the High Level’s anniversary in 2013.
City council still has to make the final determination on the waterfall’s fate.
Peter Lewis, the artist that designed the waterfall, says the recommendation is good news.
“I’m very happy … I’m elated,” he said.
“I did it to inspire children, so when they looked at a giant steel structure, it would be just like magic.”
Lewis said the waterfall provided a striking visual for the city that is now being copied by places like New York City, London and North Korea.
“We were doing this 30 years ago, and now the big cities now are just using our concept, our design.”