The Kinsmen Fountaineers met again at Lake Lisgar Saturday morning in favourable weather to launch Tillsonburg’s fountain for the 27th consecutive year.
The fountain was overhauled last fall and fitted with eight new ballasts obtained from the original fountain supplier in Florida.
Last week there was interest expressed on Facebook as to when the fountain might again appear to showcase Lake Lisgar.
With a provincial lockdown in place and boat ramps across Ontario closed, Pat Carroll, the perennial Kinsmen chairman for the Lake, reached out to both Mayor Stephen Molnar and the Director of Recreation, Culture and Parks Chris Baird to obtain permission to do the annual fountain launch.
The crane usually used for the launch and removal was out of town on a project. So Kinsmen members Cedric Tomico and Peter Braun of 360 West offered the use of their large material handler for the lifting task.
The rigging and launch went according to plan and the fountain was walked to the water’s edge and then extended out into deeper water, where Kinsmen and professional diver Jush Matheson was there to disconnect the chains.
The town’s Kinship 1 barge, with the fountaineers aboard, collected Matheson and they headed down the lake with the fountain in tow to its marked position.
Once the fountain is positioned and anchored in place, long cables for the lights and pump are reeled off to the shore and pulled up into a conduit and into the control panel. There, Pat Carroll makes the connections while the fountaineers return to the fountain to lower it into the water to a height where the lights are below the surface (for cooling purposes).
The lights are checked in the shop each spring, but it is never known when a lamp is going to fail and needs replacement. The task of changing the lamp is not an easy one, but it is possible to remove the light and bring it to the surface to be carefully opened and resealed after the 500-watt lamp is changed.
This year there was an issue trying to lower the fountain into the water. The holes into the ballasts were not large enough to accept the air hose the diver uses to remove the air and replace the void with water, thereby lowering the fountain.
Being new ballasts, there was no water at all in them and Matheson had to spend an additional 90 minutes filling the ballasts this year with a smaller hose.
Nonetheless, the task was completed and the fountain powered up once again.
Modifications will be made to rectify the issue once the fountain is removed for cleaning and storage this fall.
The Kinsmen Fountaineers said they appreciate the opportunity to get out and do something for the town residents once again.
Since the arrival of COVID-19 in March 2020, the Tillsonburg Kinsmen Club has only had a couple of Zoom meetings, and besides the fountain, has participated in just one project for the Helping Hand Food Bank last December.
Both the club’s 75th anniversary and the 100th anniversary national celebrations have been put on hold until 2022.