Revamped Ross Fountain will be ‘remote controlled’

David Ellis stands in front of the revamped Ross Fountain, which his firm, the Ross Development Trust, has overhauled
David Ellis stands in front of the revamped Ross Fountain, which his firm, the Ross Development Trust, has overhauled
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The revamped Ross Fountain has been fitted with a state-of-the-art diagnostics system that will allow it to be switched on and off by remote control.

Speaking ahead of its grand unveiling on Sunday, David Ellis, managing director at the Ross Development Trust, said the new system would allow remote control over key functions such as water flow and lighting.

His firm has been in charge of the £1.9 million repair of the leak-ridden city landmark.

Technicians will now receive alerts, notifying them of operational issues within the fountain and its various elements.

Mr Ellis said: “There are sensors that will detect and notify us if the pumps are not working, if there’s a lack of pressure or anything else that can possibly go wrong.”

Sensors will also detect daylight levels so the fountain’s new lights “know” when to come on.

READ MORE: Vibrant new colour scheme for restored Ross Fountain

Mr Ellis has promised the repaired fountain, which sports a brand new bluish-green “verdigris-bronze” patina, will be more eco-friendly.

“Something like 12,000 litres of water used to circulate through the fountain every hour and be wasted,” he said.

“Now we’re keeping all the water in the system so it recycles internally.

“The guys tell me the water in the fountain will be cleaner than the water from your tap, but I’m not advising people to start filling up bottles.”

Work on the fountain started last summer when the iconic treasure was dismantled and taken down to metal work specialists in Wigan.

The main structure was returned to its usual berth at West Princes Street Gardens in stages.

The final pieces were slotted into place in May.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s Ross Fountain is returned to former glory

Since then, external landscaping and testing have been the focus. The unveiling comes on time, albeit slightly over the original £1.6m budget.

Headed by Apex Hotels founder Norman Springford, the Ross Development Trust, which also plans to overhaul the nearby Ross Bandstand, have had their critics, with some questioning their intentions.

Mr Ellis was keen to dispel such concerns.

“People are concerned that we want to come and privatise this space, make money for ourselves and it’s absolutely the opposite of that,” he said.

“With the bandstand we are going to do a similar thing and turn it into a much more friendly and usable area.

“We want to make sure there’s a plan in place that means there’s money coming in, that it’s for the assets of the Gardens and not used elsewhere.

“That means the council won’t have to put money into it to keep maintaining it.”

Hosted by Grant Stott, Sunday’s grand unveiling promises to be a family friendly affair.

A bouncy castle, face painters and street performers all feature.

The Lord Provost will be present alongside the French Consulate General, invited in accordance with the fountain’s Haute-Marne origins.

The official switch-on will start at 1pm when a group of children will turn on an oversized tap to allow water to flow through the famous fountain once more.