Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Confusion over water pipe wait

Katz recommits to service within 24 hours

  • Print
Jay Simons and Dale Worrall of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service with water jugs the WFPS is handing out.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Jay Simons and Dale Worrall of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service with water jugs the WFPS is handing out. Photo Store

City officials are unable to explain why 311 operators have been giving confusing messages about the frozen water line situation, but at least two residents are happy.

Laresa Sayles in Norwood Flats and Francis DeCorte in St. James were looking at a one- to three-week delay to get temporary water services to their homes -- until their plight was detailed in a Free Press online story Friday.

"I got a call from the city right after the story appeared," Sayles said, echoing the reaction DeCorte experienced.

Sayles and DeCorte were upset they were facing a long wait for a temporary water line, despite a pledge from Mayor Sam Katz the day before the service would be provided in 24 hours.

Both Sayles and DeCorte will be getting temporary water service later today via a hose connected to a neighbour's home.

"I'm just glad I won't be giving birth in a snowbank," Sayles, 33 weeks pregnant, said.

"I won't be facing daily trips to my Tim's to use their bathroom and then the community centre to shower," DeCorte said.

But both questioned why the city responded so quickly to their situation when there are more than 770 other properties without water services.

"What about the other 770 households?" Sayles said. "This is not just about us. This has become a crisis."

DeCorte said a firefighter brought him two jugs of water Friday afternoon and said he had just delivered water to a woman who'd been without water services for three weeks.

"This was just inconvenient for me, but how much longer does she have to wait?" DeCorte said.

Katz said he could not explain why 311 operators were telling residents as late as Friday morning requests for temporary water connections would be delayed anywhere from one to three weeks.

"Days and days should be what it takes to thaw the line, not to do (the temporary connection)," Katz said Friday afternoon, vowing to sort out the confusion at city hall.

"It was clearly a miscommunication" with the 311 operators, Steve West, the city's manager of corporate communications said.

West said there was no queue-jumping for DeCorte and Sayles, adding the city's commitment is to provide temporary water service within 24 hours, and that is what has occurred.

Meanwhile, city officials said the number of properties without water services because of frozen water lines had climbed to 778 -- an additional 56 homes from Thursday, and 240 additional properties this week.

Firefighters began delivering potable water in 20-litre jugs to some of those homes Friday.

City officials said firefighters are doing the deliveries during their down time between emergency calls.

"Firefighters help the public, and this is just part of doing that," Alex Forrest, president of the firefighters' union, said. "These jugs weight 50 pounds each, and you can't expect seniors to handle that."

It's expected more than 200 jugs would be delivered by firefighters by the end of Friday.

Forrest said he's been told the cold weather has been impacting fire hydrants, adding more seem to be frozen this winter than in previous years.

"We had frozen hydrants at two fires Thursday night and again earlier in the week," Forrest said. "I've never heard of that happening in the 25 years I've been firefighting -- normally it's just one frozen hydrant every month."

Chamber of Commerce president Dave Angus said he's concerned the situation is impacting the business community.

"Right now, it appears to be affecting only an isolated number of businesses, but even for them, this is a problem," Angus said. "We can't overlook the financial challenge this kind of situation places on business, especially small business."

 

-- with files from Kevin Rollason

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 8, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 10:05 AM CST: adds graph

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman talks "job number one" in News Café interview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Young goslings jostle for position to take a drink from a puddle in Brookside Cemetery Thursday morning- Day 23– June 14, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Premier Greg Selinger resign?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google