Council leader Ian Ward condemned the act of vandalism that happened just hours after it was switched on following a £5 million refurbishment.
The sculpture, officially named The River, was turned into a flower bed in 2015 because of persistent leaks. A multi-million-pound repair and renovation job took place in 2020 ahead of the Commonwealth Games, and this summer saw water flowing down the fountain steps for the first time since 2013.
However, a mere few hours after it was turned on, the entire water feature was covered in foam. The control room below was also badly damaged, causing what we now know to be almost £20,000 worth of damage.
The issue was raised at Tuesday’s full Birmingham City Council meeting. Councillor Ian Ward said that although a final cost was officially due on July 20, the council had been given an estimation
He said: “The estimated costs for the repair works is in the order of £18,000. It is very disappointing that the council has incurred this additional cost and I hope that you will join me in condemning such acts of vandalism.”
Councillor Ward was also asked how the council will ensure no further acts of vandalism are committed on the city’s monuments during the Commonwealth Games later this month. Over one million people are expected to visit the city over the two-week period, with up to 3,300 police officers involved on any one day.
He said: “The city council is a custodian of a pre-eminent range of public art right across the city and through the Commonwealth Games and the Cultural Festival, more people than ever will take pleasure in what our city has to offer. I know that the vast majority of Birmingham residents take great pride in our public art and incidents of vandalism are few and far between.
“Where they do occur, the city council will seek to prosecute any individuals identified. Wherever possible, CCTV will be used to identify culprits and we will be working closely with partners including the city centre BIDS and the management of the Paradise development to protect artwork, monuments and fountains across the city.”