Yarra Ranges Council Makes Aquafil the Drink of Choice

Michelle Mc Donald in a wheelchair standing beside of the new Aquafil Drinking Water Fountain in Lilydale

The Yarra Ranges Council Health and Wellbeing strategy is committed to helping the community to make water their drink of choice and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.

To achieve this – Council recognises that there needs to be more free water in more places and that the drinking fountains providing the water need to be highly visible, attractive, safe to use and easy to access by people of all abilities.

The Aquafil range offered the ideal solution to the Council’s needs and is already installed in many locations across Yarra Ranges. With the support of Brittany at CIVIQ, Council has been able to add an improvement to the function of the drinking fountain by replacing the standard push-button water dispensers with a lever-action that can be operated by people with limited dexterity.

The drinking fountains will be fitted with the graphics developed for the unit promoting the Council Health and Wellbeing message “Water, everyone’s drink of choice”. The graphics have been designed with sight-impaired people in mind, using highly visible large text, simple icons and colours that are contrasting to colour blind people.

The Aquafil drinking fountain was an easy choice to make given the quality of the unit and the opportunity it offers to promote the Council’s Health and Wellbeing message. CIVIQ’s commitment to working with the Council to improve the units and make them more accessible is the “icing on the cake”.

“I would recommend the Aquafil range to anyone looking for an accessible, highly visible high quality drinking fountain.” -Cliff Overton, Project Manager, Yarra Ranges Council.

Water just a tap away with new accessible fountains

A man refilling his drinking water bottle at Yarra Ranges Council new Aquafil Drinking Water Stations

Residents and visitors living with a disability now have access to fully-accessible water fountains, thanks to a new Council project.

Eleven drinking water stations, which feature all-ability handles for drinking or water bottle refill, along with a dog bowl, will be installed throughout Yarra Ranges this year as part of the Drinking Fountain Program.

Yarra Ranges Acting Mayor, Richard Higgins, said the fountains were designed to be accessible to people of any ability, following feedback from Council’s Disability Advisory Committee (DAC).

“When it came time to upgrade some of our older water fountains, our Recreation and Active Living Team spoke to our DAC, and committee members told us that button-operated fountains were impossible for people with a disability to use easily,” Cr Higgins said.

“The manufacturers of our fountains came up with this design, which has an easy-to-reach lever action, so rather than pushing a button, you just have to apply pressure to a lever.”

“The taps are now easily accessible for people in wheelchairs and those with limited use of their hands.”

“These are the first fountains of their kind in the area – and the first in Australia using this design. We’ve already had great feedback about these, and we look forward to rolling more out across Yarra Ranges in coming years.”

Anthea Forbes and his son Adams, using the new Aquafil Drinking Fountain installed at Yarra Ranges.

DAC member and Healesville resident, Anthea Forbes, whose son Adam is differently-abled, said that people living with a disability, their carers and support services would plan day trips around accessible facilities like water fountains and toilets.

“It’s hard to get enough water, especially in hot weather,” Mrs Forbes said.

“Once people and groups doing community activities know about these fountains, they can plan a day around where they are.

“I think disability access is important. The whole of Melbourne should be doing this, it’s a great initiative.”

Lilydale resident, Michelle McDonald, said the drinking fountains meant it would be easier for people of all abilities and their dogs to access drinking water.

“This is very important. When you’re out, particularly with the dog, you need to know you’ve got water,” Ms McDonald said.

“When I’m caught with my drink bottle empty, I’ve had to go into shops and ask them to fill it.

“There are also a lot of people that people who might not have the strength in their arms or dexterity in their hands to turn or push taps, so this is a good idea.”

DAC member, June Smith, who has low vision, said the new taps would be useful for visitors to the area, particularly families coming to the Upwey Playspace.

“It is an improvement on what was here before – with the old fountains, the filter would get quite dirty. This one is really nice.”

 

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