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City 'making headway' on frozen pipes

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The latest news from city hall is sounding like a broken record that Winnipeggers are tired of hearing.

The number of properties waiting to have water lines thawed increased by 49 from Tuesday.

The waiting list now stands at 1,045 properties, up from 996 the day before, and more than 100 from the start of the week.

City hall released the new numbers late this afternoon:

60 more properties reported frozen water lines;

11 more properties had services restored;

17 more properties were given temporary water service with a hose connection to a neighbour.

Meanwhile, another councillor is calling for the city to waive the $305 thawing bill sent to all property owners when the city found the frozen line was on private property.

Coun. Paula Havixbeck said the recent change in city policy, where the city will pay the cost of the thawing service regardless of where the problem lies, should be retroactive to when the emergency began, echoing a similar position taken by Coun. Jeff Browaty.

"What’s the difference whether you had a pipe that needed thawing a month ago, last week or yesterday," Havixbeck said. "This should be retroactive for citizens."

Mayor Katz said earlier today he expects a decline in the increase of properties impacted by frozen lines as long as property owners in at-risk areas follow the advice of officials and let a cold water tap run 24 hours a day.

City officials have notified almost 5,500 property owners that they believe they could be next to lose water because of frozen water lines.

However, officials hope running a pencil-width stream of water from a single tap will be enough to keep the water flowing.

"By telling residents to start turning on their water to prevent it, we eliminate them from getting frozen lines," Katz said. "We’re certainly making headway."

Katz said city officials continue to scour the continent looking for appropriate thawing machines but without success.

"Anybody who is having these problems, needs the equipment and (communities) who have climates that are much warmer, doesn’t have the equipment."

Updated information is available from the City of Winnipeg’s website:

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