Drinking water fountains, and new public restrooms, are coming to two downtown locations – just not in time for the heat wave settling in.
City of Chilliwack has ordered two multi-purpose water fountains, as well as two public toilet facilities known as ‘Portland Loos’ for downtown, according to Mayor Ken Popove.
They’ll be installed on Young Road just north of Five Corners, as well as near Salish Park on First Avenue.
City chose the ‘Portland Loo’ public restroom kiosks, which are mostly stainless steel, can be solar powered, with blue lighting to discourage substance use. They were designed by City of Portland to deter criminal activity.
The drinking water fountains are the same type as the one on the Vedder Rotary Trail, according to city reps, which received positive feedback for its multi-user design. They are estimated to cost $10,000 each and feature a water spout for humans, for pets, and one for filling water bottles. The cost of the fountains is included in the $200,000 budgeted for each Portland Loo.
Book Man owner Amber Price had praise for the fountain idea.
“While bottles of water are a great stop gap, the real solution resides in making water publicly available at all times,” Price posted. “This allows people to have dignity, and access to safe drinking water, which I believe is a human right. Drinking fountains also cut down on the waste perpetuated by water in plastic bottles.”
Concerned business owners and citizens, including Price, had been lobbying city council to make drinking water available to those on the streets, after joining forces to purchase and donate bottled water in bulk for Griffin Security guards to hand out to anyone in need downtown.
Griffin Security, the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association (BIA), resident Trisha Mercer and others came together for that effort and they filled two pickup trucks with donated water.
Mayor Ken Popove replied to another poster on social media that the pandemic was to blame for slowing things down on this score: “We had hoped to have the drinking water units up and running by June but due to the COVID-19 impacts on the supply chain, the suppliers of those facilities were experiencing manufacturing delays.”
Both downtown sites are pre-serviced and ready to have the units installed.
“We now expect delivery of the units in late July or early August and once received, they will be installed right away,” Popove said. “In the interim, we will continue to support the move to provide bottled water to those in need downtown.”
They have also joined local churches in setting up cooling centres for the duration of the heat warning by Environment Canada.
Some volunteer drivers are available to transport seniors to the cooling centres by emailing Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association at firstname.lastname@example.org
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