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Plaza fireplace far from fiery

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 02/26/2017 8:30 AM

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Phil Kalyta (right) and Kyle Shymko, Steinbach city engineers, stand beside the community plaza’s outdoor fireplace, which was intended to be an aesthetic feature for the area. The $60,000 natural gas appliance has yet to pass its inspection, and city officials are unsure if it will ever operate.

JORDAN ROSS } THE CARILLON Enlarge Image

Phil Kalyta (right) and Kyle Shymko, Steinbach city engineers, stand beside the community plaza’s outdoor fireplace, which was intended to be an aesthetic feature for the area. The $60,000 natural gas appliance has yet to pass its inspection, and city officials are unsure if it will ever operate.

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A mound of snow sits at the centre of the large limestone and stainless steel outdoor fireplace that adorns the centre of Steinbach’s new community plaza—a far cry from the orange flame that was intended to emanate from the structure.

"The fireplace isn’t working yet, and it probably won’t work," city engineer Phil Kalyta told members of city council last week, citing ongoing inspection and architectural issues.

"We’re having some issues getting that installation to pass inspection from the gas inspector at Manitoba Hydro. It’s because of the size of the appliance. It’s a very large, high-BTU appliance so it falls into different categories. So we’re just going through a few of those fine points now with the inspector, and with our own staff."

However, there are other hurdles standing in the way of operation, which was tendered for $60,000.

According to Kalyta, the original intent of the fireplace was primarily aesthetic, though its size and heat output mean that it could double as a warming feature.

"That’s the safety part that the gas company is concerned about," explained Kalyta. "We’re just double-checking and talking with the manufacturer…and making sure it’s safe before we do anything."

He said the unit may not be appropriate for the location, as it may require staff to be on hand at all times during operation.

"If it becomes too cumbersome we may not [operate it], and it may just be a decorative piece," said Kalyta.

He suggested the fireplace could be given electric lights if a flame is not in its future, in order to salvage some of its aesthetic appeal.

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