Galloping Goose users, of both two and four-legged varieties, now have a place to quench their thirst at a new water fountain at the Atkins Road rest station in View Royal.
The Capital Regional District held an event on Monday, Dec. 3 to celebrate the opening of the fountain, the first of nine to be installed along the Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails.
Tom MacDonald, an Oak Bay resident, and a group of running friends came up with the idea for the fountains after getting tired of having to park a car somewhere along the trail with water in it for when they were training for marathons.
MacDonald, who has worked with local governments for most of his career, approached the CRD with the idea. He was told if he could raise the money, the CRD could make it happen.
“It’s fantastic. We’re really pleased,” MacDonald said. “It’s been really exciting and the community really got behind it.”
Fundraising efforts brought in $54,000 to pay for the fountains, from a handful of corporate donors and more than 100 donors total. MacDonald said he even sat by the Galloping Goose trail collecting small donations from users of the trail as they passed by.
The fountains are designed to service all users of the trails. There is a water fountain for people to drink directly from the fountain, along with a tap to fill up bottles, as well as a low fountain for dogs.
The fountains will be spaced at roughly 10 kilometre intervals, which is around the distance a marathon runner will go through a bottle of water.
“You wear a little (water bottle) on your back, but every 10 (kilometres) you run out of water,” MacDonald said. “This is quite an interesting design, you don’t see a lot like this. But from the perspective of being a runner, you had to have this.”
The fountain at Atkins Road is dedicated to MacDonald’s father-in-law, Dr. Allan Arneil, who died in 2011.
Arneil worked as a public health officer for the CRD from 1974 to 1984, where he was an advocate for clean drinking water. He also loved walking and dogs. A plaque on the fountain recognizes Arneil and describes him as “a walker and clean water warrior.”
The rest station at Atkins Road at came as a result of a donation from TD Bank in 2011. Eight to 10 other rest stations are currently being planned for locations along the trails.
CRD’s Tap into Sustainability campaign encourages the use of reusable water bottles and local tap water. More than 9,000 stainless steel water bottles have been handed out to Greater Victoria residents as a part of the campaign.
“Everyone will benefit from fountains along our world-class regional trail system,” CRD director and Saanich councillor Susan Brice said at the event. “That includes runners, walkers, pet owners, cyclists, pets too, of course, photographers, bird watchers and equestrian riders.”