Mayor Rob Ford is in love with a fountain.
Asked Tuesday about the ongoing Nathan Phillips Square revitalization, Ford told reporters he still thinks it is a waste of money.
The $51.5 million project includes building a new theatre-stage, skating pavilion, restaurant, a relocated and expanded Peace Garden and a nine-jet “disappearing” fountain in the centre of the square.
Ford changed the subject to the “really unique” fountain he saw in front of Edmonton city hall during a visit last week. Water jets shoot into the centre along its 46-metre length.
What caught Ford’s attention is that people are encouraged to jump in and splash around. The 45-centimetre deep fountain was full of cavorting kids jumping in jets on the hot day he walked past on holiday.
“The sprinklers are going non-stop and the kids are running around the sprinklers, which I thought was an absolutely phenomenal idea which I want to look into,” Ford said. “And I talked to (Edmonton) Mayor (Stephen) Mandel and he said it’s not very much, a couple of pumps in the water.
“I’m going to look into that.”
Edmonton city staff say the fountain was built with city hall 20 years ago and has become so popular recreation staff are stationed there in summer. Like the big pond in Nathan Phillips Square, it becomes a rink in the winter.