Lethbridge residents may have a new way to stay hydrated next summer after members of council decided to fund a fire hydrant drinking fountains initiative. If approved as part of the four year operating budget, the city plans to implement the new fountains in spring and make them available at five locations through the summer months.
“We are going to do this on a pilot basis, we don’t believe maintenance costs will be significant but the main idea is to test this in the locations that have been identified in the new initiatives sheet and after that we will come back to council and report,” said Joel Sanchez, director of infrastructure services.
The initiative was brought forward by councillor Nick Paladino as part of the economic standing policy committee’s budget deliberations and would see $15,000 allocated for the project next year. The committee will craft and amend the budget this week before forwarding it to a later council meeting for approval.
The fountains are proposed to be at Galt Gardens, Henderson Lake, Nicholas Sheran Park and Legacy Park. Councillor Belinda Crowson questioned if there is a way to make the fountains usable throughout the year, rather than seasonal.
“Based on the conversations with those that are doing this for a few years now, there is not an easy solution to do that. You would need to actually enclose the area, winterize and the investment would be very significant and still there will be issues with that,” said Sanchez.
The draft operating budget forecasts a municipal tax increase of about 3.7 per cent and this will change as more initiatives are added in.