Archive for December, 2010

City of Vancouver supports public drinking water stations

December 14, 2010

The following article was written by Serena Calder (@serena_calder) and re-posted with the permission of Hilary Henegar (@granvillemag).  The piece originally appeared on Granville Online’s Eds. et. al. blog on August 30, 2010.

It’s a sunny afternoon and you’re walking along the Seawall when you realize you forgot your reusable water bottle. You’re thirsty, and faced with a choice: either stop at the concession stand up ahead to buy bottled water, or wander around nearby parks in search of a public drinking fountain that may or may not work.

Boosting public drinking fountains is one way Vancouver is helping to say “good-bye” to the plastic bottle

As the City of Vancouver works to phase out bottled water and raise awareness of the high quality of municipal tap water supplies, it confronts the challenges of increasing accessibility and awareness of public tap water sources, like drinking fountains.

A portable water fountain at the northeast corner of Commercial and Broadway. The City of Vancouver has added four more stations around town.

Sarah Messel, of the City’s engineering services department, said Vancouver has about 250 drinking fountains maintained by the Board of Parks, and about 25 maintained by the engineering department, but so far no convenient way for residents to locate them.

“Our goal is to have all the locations on our Vanmap and open data service,” Messel said, adding that this should be finished this summer.

Even if people knew where to find the fountains, the question remains whether or not people would use them. An April 2009 administrative report to the city services and budget committee notes many people perceive drinking fountains as dirty and unhygienic, and often used as a water source for dogs or by the homeless for bathing.

The inscription on the water fountain at Victory Square in Vancouver reads, "Donated to the Citizens of Vancouver by Mary Stewart, 1960."

But Kareece Goh, an Australian traveler, thinks that Vancouver’s public fountains and taps are great, especially because of Metro Vancouver’s water quality (called “the purest tap water in the world” by some).

“It tastes a lot better than the water back home,” she said. “I’ve been here for two and a half months and I’ve been drinking tap water all the time.”

Improving public perception is just one factor in encouraging increased tap water consumption. Currently, drinking fountains are turned off from November to April. In order to boost the role of drinking fountains in a move towards tap water reliance, Messel says the City is piloting two freeze-resistant water fountains that can function throughout winter, and installing little taps on the outside of buildings for residents to refill water bottles.

Messel is hopeful about these developments. “There is a need for fountains, but there is also a need for these taps,” she said. “I think that’s going to expand quite a bit.” – CPAWS online fundraising store

December 8, 2010

We recently helped the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) launch an online fundraising store – CPAWS is Canada’s pre-eminent national community-based voice for public wilderness protection. Since 1963 they have been a leader in establishing two-thirds of Canada’s protected wild spaces — an area over seven times the size of Nova Scotia!

The online store features some beautiful (and useful!) products including fashionable organic cotton t-shirts, infant onesies, recycled fleece toques, stainless steel thermoses and more. Perfect gift ideas for the wilderness lovers in your life and very reasonably priced. All products have been sourced from suppliers that meet Fairware’s Supplier Code of Conduct.

View the online store HERE and this year support Canadian wilderness conservation with your holiday gift buying.

We’re Hiring…

December 6, 2010

We have a fantastic job opportunity available for a Customer Service Representative.  If you’re a master of multi-tasking, have customer service experience and like working as part of a team in a fast-paced environment – this job is for you.  Oh, and a passion for all things sustainable helps.

View the full job description HERE and get your application in soon (deadline is December 30th).

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