Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bridge Over Troubled Water

Edmonton's high level bridge's waterfall is a unifying symbol for the citizens of the City of Champions and is not so much a display of ego but a symbol of harmony that brings the city together. Does the waterfall demonstrate civic pride and is it a spectacle that is meant to satisfy the viewer above all else? We have constructed this letter to the city of Edmonton illustrating our thoughts on its decision to halt the use of the Great Divide Waterfall:

To Mary Pat Barry (of the Deputy City Manager's Office) and Mike Gibbs (Senior Communications Advisor for EPCOR),

The High Level Bridge Great Divide Waterfall is a civic icon. We are so disappointed that the waterfall will not be running this year due to the fact that the city must spend thousands of dollars on an expert to devise a plan to de-chlorinate the water that is being poured into the river. Here’s a thought, why don’t we pump the water from the river and let it go back into the river?

After examining the waterfall feature, we can see that it uses sprinklers to disperse the water over the bridge. Now considering it is not pumping out millions of gallons a second, I’m sure there is a way to use the river water, which will save us money, and therefore not have to worry that the water has to be de-chlorinated. Even if this is an unusable resolution, it must be said that this symbol for our city must stay functioning.

As we can see it has captured many people’s gazes (our gazes plus pigeon). The main thought being "this would be so much more badass if there was water coming out!"

The sole purpose of the High Level Waterfall is for citizen enjoyment. Much like fireworks or any spectacle like that, it is meant to be watched by people. Yes, it was built to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Alberta but for the most part people really like it because it looks really cool. And now after 25 plus years, it symbolizes special events happening in the city and has become a tradition for Edmontonians.

photo courtesy of

In a city that does not have a plethora nice things to look at other then the river valley, art gallery and a couple of other nicer pieces of architecture, it is nice to have a spectacle that is special to Edmonton. The purpose of the waterfall is to capture the gaze of the viewer, and what good is a gaze when there is nothing to look at! Edmonton prides itself on being a city that is inclusive to all its citizens (hence names like Festival City). We should be making a conscious effort to sustain that level of inclusiveness and not remove events that are important to the civil identity of the citizens.

And to Epcore: Yes, you're working towards new ways to operate the waterfall and make it more environmentally conscious, but please don't come to a decision that will have to be looked at in another 25 years and changed again. This is owned by the city, and indirectly by the citizens who are contributing the funds through taxing that make this possible. People want to get their monies worth.

We hope that this can be fixed in the near future.

Thank you,

Steph and Paul

Like American Idol, the Great Divide Waterfall has unified the people that gaze upon it's spectacle and instills in them a feeling of happiness and joy, like a bridge over troubled water.



The City of Edmonton Websites

The City of Edmonton Government Website

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