Town Loses Water Tower to Planning Error
An Alberta, Canada, town is losing its signature water tower, all because of a planning mistake.
Rocky Mountain House, a small town north of Calgary, has had the water tower since 1963; now decommissioned, the tower has been preserved as a part of the community’s skyline. The 18-meter (about 60-foot) tower is painted blue, with the town’s name and its tourism slogan, “Where adventure begins!”
But it’s also close to a hospital, and that’s the crux of the problem, according to a CBC report. The Rocky Mountain House Health Centre, run by Alberta Health Services, recently began an expansion, including the relocation of its helipad. While representatives of the hospital say their consultants assured them the new helipad and the old tower could peacefully coexist, it turns out that’s not the case.
In order to keep it legal, the tower would have to be painted in an orange-and-white checker pattern, at least over its top half, for visibility’s sake.
'That Wasn't Accurate'
"We were told that all that would be required was a new set of lights to illuminate the tower," Alberta Health Services’ Kerry Bales told CBC. "That wasn't accurate information and it's unfortunate."
The town would rather lose the landmark than change its look so radically, so the plan now is to take it down. Of course, demolishing a 50-year-old water tower isn’t exactly free, either, and the tower has telecommunications equipment on top, which will have to be moved.
According to CBC, estimates put the cost of taking the structure down at CA$430,000 (about $330,000). And the network notes that, while Alberta Health Services has promised to pay, that doesn’t mean it’s coming free to the people of Rocky Mountain House: Alberta Health Services is a public entity, so taxes will be funding the toppling of the tower regardless.