Wa­ter foun­tains are in just 5pc of Auck­land’s parks

Western Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MANDY TE

Health con­cerns have been raised about a scarcity of drink­ing foun­tains in Auck­land’s parks.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s head of op­er­a­tional man­age­ment Agnes McCor­mack said only 183, or 5 per cent, of Auck­land’s 3695 parks had drink­ing foun­tains.

And of the 817 parks with play­grounds, only 16 per cent had drink­ing foun­tains within the vicin­ity, McCor­mack said.

A study by the Univer­sity of Otago found that drink­ing foun­tains were also scarce in Welling­ton’s parks and play­grounds. The study found only 6 per cent of chil­dren’s play­grounds and 29 per cent of Welling­ton city’s parks from 10 of the largest sub­urbs had drink­ing foun­tains.

Drink­ing foun­tains could help ad­dress New Zealand’s obe­sity epi­demic, en­cour­aged fit­ness such as dog walk­ing and re­duce the risk of heat stroke, the study said.

The re­searchers, pub­lic health pro­fes­sor Nick Wil­son, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Louise Sig­nal and as­so­ciate re­search pro­fes­sor Ge­orge Thom­son, found that dis­coloura­tion around Welling­ton foun­tains’ spouts was fairly com­mon and could ‘‘dis­cour­age some peo­ple from us­ing the foun­tains’’.

‘‘Ratepay­ers de­serve a bet­ter deal than that sort of grungy mess around a noz­zle,’’ Wil­son said.

Across the board, the num­ber of drink­ing foun­tains was ‘‘way too low,’’ Wil­son said.

Wil­son said coun­cils needed to start lift­ing their game.

Auck­land was also warmer than Welling­ton which meant it was at a higher risk of heat wave oc­cur­rence, Wil­son said.

‘‘From a pub­lic health per­spec­tive, it’s a prob­lem around New Zealand that lo­cal coun­cils need to get their heads around.’’

Lee Beattie from the Univer­sity of Auck­land’s school of ar­chi­tec­ture and plan­ning said pub­lic ameni­ties in parks were im­por­tant

‘‘More wa­ter foun­tains will en­cour­age kids and adults to drink more wa­ter as it will be eas­ier to ac­cess.’’

Rachel Gold­s­tine

es­pe­cially as in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in­creased in Auck­land.

‘‘Th­ese parks and open spa­ces and beaches be­come ex­ten­sions to your house and be­come your back­yard,’’ Beattie said.

Auck­land res­i­dent Rachel Gold­s­tine said the city ‘‘def­i­nitely’’ needed more drink­ing foun­tains in pub­lic places such as parks, play­grounds and beaches.

‘‘More wa­ter foun­tains will en­cour­age kids and adults to drink more wa­ter as it will be eas­ier to ac­cess,’’ Gold­s­tine said.

MANDY TE/STUFF

Auck­land res­i­dent Rachel Gold­s­tine says hav­ing more foun­tains would bring more peo­ple to parks, play­grounds and beaches.

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