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Bell: Calgary water crisis is almost over, now we have to start the investigation

Bell: Calgary water crisis is almost over, now we have to start the investigation

Bell: Calgary water crisis is almost over, now we have to start the investigation

The investigation into the break of Calgary’s largest water main will begin as soon as possible and will be completed by Halloween.

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We almost arrive. Calgary is preparing to get the go-ahead to get water flowing through the pipeline and back to normal.

This is what Mayor Gondek told us on Sunday morning.

But not everything will be normal. There’s still the important third-party investigation into what went wrong and who did what, and Calgary city councilors will get to work on Wednesday.

If the yet-to-be-selected individuals reviewing the history of Calgary’s burst water main and water crisis are given the freedom to go over the whys with a fine-toothed comb, it should be scary.

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Now we’re told the investigation into the explosion of Calgary’s largest water main will begin as soon as possible and end by Halloween.

Good thing. Halloween.

If we get the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the findings will certainly fit with all those ghosts, goblins and skeletons roaming the city streets.

Except what this so-called independent panel investigating the city’s water main fiasco finds won’t be a lie.

It will be very real.

Probably very ugly.

And that’s just what we already know.

But remember, this is Calgary City Hall.

A city council with a mayor and a councilor who enjoy a record level of unpopularity and senior city officials whose first instinct is to cover their backs or bury us in double talk.

Do they really want to expose themselves to explosive news hitting the streets and putting them and/or the mayor in trouble?

Or will it be a “review” because they had to do a “review” after this calamity to reassure citizens?

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On Wednesday, a report from senior council officials will be sent to a city council committee chaired by Sonya Sharp.

Sharp is a city councilman who recently spoke to this writer in this space about how City Hall is in chaos and how the city’s response to the water main break leaves much to be desired.

Sharp vowed to fight to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure nothing is swept under the rug.

The report from the city council’s top brass talks about how the panel that will investigate the water pipe fiasco will be created.

The council’s top brass wants the independent panel to report back to the council’s top brass.

City Hall’s top brass recommends that the report be given to City Hall’s top brass before Halloween and then go to the City Council in November.

Let’s hope the report is not a catastrophic failure.

After all, we did not receive the right product from the beginning.

We were told there was a catastrophic failure. The pipe burst. Like that.

Was there a leak in the pipe? Do you remember that this is the main water supply pipe for the city?

We were told there were no leaks.

So were there inspections?

We were led to believe that the line was recently serviced and some type of maintenance was performed.

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The city then said they had no information available about any inspections.

After 24 hours, they already had information. Acoustic monitoring and modeling had been performed. They didn’t find any problems.

How did they explain that nothing was collected?

Mayor Jyoti Gondek intervened. End of interrogation.

But there was a problem. A big problem. No inspection had been done in years.

Damaged water main pipe
A section of damaged water main rests across 16th Avenue after being removed at the repair site in Montgomery on Monday, June 10, 2024. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Then there was the lifespan of the pipeline. Deep thinkers suggested that the lifespan of the pipeline was around 50 years, leading to questions about why a 49-year-old pipeline was not being overhauled.

The city said the pipe had a lifespan of 100 years.

Then, earlier in the year, city council was told about the city’s leaking pipes, and some councilors quietly said they had been told not to worry.

Nothing to worry about. No leaks. Then, unexplained catastrophic failure occurs.

You know the rest of the story.

When the city’s largest water main was finally checked, the city announced late Friday that five hot spots on the pipe needed to be repaired.

A local state of emergency was declared and private sector people who know how to take care of business began taking care of business.

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We were told it would be three to five weeks before the water was back on.

With all this, let’s not even talk about Gondek blaming the provincial government for what happened when the city is swimming in money and they received money from the province and the water system is supposed to pay its own way and besides, according to the city, there was no problem anyway.

Everything is so confusing.

In short, this investigation should leave no stone unturned.

Perhaps a Blue Sky City report can be more than just a PR job.

Ultimately, the big question remains:

Do they really want accountability?

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