Water fountains were not installed in Stratford's new twin icepads arena because of the potential health risks and possible lawsuits resulting from that, if people took sick from drinking the water. It was not to enhance the sale of bottled water from the pop machines or to increase the take at the arena's concessions booths. (The city is counting on good revenue from the booths to fulfil the Stratford Rotary Club's pledge of $1 million to the arena project.) In an interview with the Gazette, Mayor Dan Mathieson was adamant on this point. Water fountains have to run continuously for half an hour a day to prevent the build-up of unwelcome residues such as chlorine. Keeping a fountain open for that period every day would take staff time and attention. Besides, there are refill stations - long, goose-necked water spouts - in each dressing room where hockey players can fill up their water bottles.
This raises a couple of questions. Given the fact that recreation department staff have since made a decision to install one central fountain after all, will that fountain be monitored - the water run for a half hour a day - and are the 12 refill stations being run 30 minutes daily as well? Because if the dressing room taps are not being flushed regularly, is there not the chance that they too can build up deposits of unwanted chemicals?
Yes, bottled water is popular but it seems strange not to have several water fountains in such a large, modern facility that can hold up to 1,300 people for events. In this age of childhood obesity, anything that would encourage kids to stay away from sugary drinks should surely be a priority. Especially in a recreation centre.