Wollongong City Council & Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Club provide free water along the Grand Pacific Walk

An Aquafil FlexiFountain 1500BF with artwork for Walk free water project at Wollongong

Walking, riding, running or playing along the Grand Pacific Walk from Pinecourt Reserve in Austinmer to East Corrimal Beach can be thirsty work.

This summer it’ll be easier to quench that thirst with the installation of nine Aquafil FlexiFountain bottle refill stations and drinking fountains by Wollongong City Council in partnership with the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs. Each station has been decorated with an original artwork created by students from local primary schools.

The Grand Pacific Walk free water project is a joint initiative between Wollongong City Council and the Austinmer/ Thirroul Lions Clubs. Council and the Club are grateful for funding from the NSW Government’s My Community Project.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said that the water refill installations provide a valuable opportunity for walkers and cyclists to fill up water on the go. “Over the last few months, we’ve noticed a big increase in the number of people using Council’s public spaces such as the Grand Pacific Walk for socially distant exercise.

“The new [Aquafil FlexiFountain] water refilling stations are a great way for people to make the most of the outdoors and stay hydrated when exploring some of our foreshore parks along the coastal pathway. We’re all used to carrying re-usable water bottles with us and this makes it easier for them to stay topped up.”

Director of Sustainable Finance at NSW Treasury Angela Cummine said My Community Project was a fantastic example of grassroots democracy in action.

Each new water refilling station along the Grand Pacific Walk has been decorated with an original artwork created by students from local primary schools. The children’s artwork design selection was facilitated by the Austinmer/ Thirroul Lions Club who worked with local schools to run a design competition.

Cr Bradbery said the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs were instrumental in securing the funding for the Grand Pacific Walk free water project.

“The Grand Pacific Walk is an ongoing Council project to improve Wollongong’s most scenic coastal walk. Improving access to free water by installing water refilling stations is one way we can ensure this space is safe and welcoming for everyone who uses it,” said Councillor Bradbery.

“I thank the Austinmer/Thirroul Lions Clubs who came forward with this plan and sought funding from the NSW State Government to help make it happen. It’s a great example of what can happen when passionate community members collaborate with government.’’

Austinmer/Thirroul Lions President Howard Whitesmith said that last September Austinmer/Thirroul Lions were delighted to learn that their Grand Pacific Walk – Free Water Project had overwhelmingly won the community vote in the Keira District Division of the NSW My Community Project Awards.

“The $111,663 award was proposed and championed by Past President Robert Groat with the strong support of Wollongong City Council to install nine water stations along the Grand Pacific Walk with the aim to provide a community asset that would eliminate the need for walkers to carry single use plastic water bottles,’’ Mr Whitesmith said.

CIVIQ’s Aquafil FlexiFountain 1500BF bottle filling station and drinking fountain was selected for the project due to its stainless steel construction with marine grade electropolish on various parts to ensure that it can endure being stationed along the coast and exposed to salt spray.

CIVIQ have a proven and reliable track record for successful installations at hundreds of beachfront locations.

The beautiful artworks created by the students were printed on the customisable graphic panels of the stations which have an anti-graffiti film applied to ensure it can be easily wiped off in the case of vandalism.

The stations have three water points, one bottle filling point on either side of the unit at different heights to ensure they are child friendly and DDA compliant and a DDA accessible drinking fountain at the front.

Original report by Wollongong City Council

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