REID: If Surrey needs a request to install a water fountain for the homeless, here it is

Last year a water fountain was installed on 135A St. so there was fresh aqua for those in the area. Its absence this year has been noticed.

The City of Surrey installed a portable water fountain along 'The Strip' in Whalley last summer

Hot enough for you yet?

At this time of writing, a high of 32 degrees is forecasted for Thursday (Aug. 18).

The heat has got me thinking, as it did last summer, about the homeless people along 135A Street.

Last year, a water fountain was installed so there was fresh aqua for everyone in the area. That’s thanks to advocate Sybil Rowe pushing city hall to do so after reading my story about Surrey Urban Mission requesting water bottle donations.

But it was recently pointed out to me that the water fountain is absent this year.

SEE ALSO: Heat wave expected to hit Fraser Valley

Before it was installed last year, Rowe visited 135A Street to hand out free water bottles.

“They were desperate,” she said of the folks that she met. “If they get dehydrated, we’re talking about a very, very serious life-or-death situation.”

Rowe did some research and learned in Vancouver, they had portable water fountains that are hooked up to fire hydrants. Surrey didn’t at that time, she added.

So, she walked into city hall and waited for two hours to talk to somebody. After several weeks of talking to many different people in many different departments at the city, Surrey went ahead and installed fountains last summer (one along the 135A Street “Strip,” another elsewhere in Whalley and two in Newton).

Rowe and I were both thrilled.

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I was not so thrilled to learn it wasn’t on the Strip this year. I got in touch with the folks at city hall to see why. Two reasons, I was told: it’s not as hot a summer this year, and there simply hasn’t been a request put in at city hall for it.

As a mother whose son once got heat exhaustion after just a few hours outside on a hot day, I take the heat seriously.

It doesn’t take a heat wave for someone to get heat exhaustion – my son is proof of that.

After a visit to a waterpark a few years ago, my son seemed off. His head hurt and he was fatigued. Not an hour later, he was throwing up. It was cool cloths on the head, as much fluids as possible and Children’s Tylenol for the next 24 hours. Then again, this year, after just a few hours in the pool on a particularly hot afternoon, he began clutching his head and screaming. And this is a healthy boy who is forced to stay hydrated. But for some reason he’s affected by heat more than my younger daughter.

During last year’s heat wave, Fraser Health issued a press release noting health-related illness can be as mild as thirst and dizziness – or as severe as death. They recommend spending the hottest hours of the day – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – out of the sun. And stay hydrated, they urged – don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water.

I’ve learned that lesson with my son, and whenever it happens to him, my mind wanders to those who are out on the street that day.

I checked in with the folks at the Pop-Up Soup Kitchen and turns out, they’ve handed out more than 400 bottles in the last week alone (props to PepsiCo for donating 20 cases to the group). If that’s not proof of the need, I don’t know what is.

As I’ve been told by the staff at city hall, the water fountain is simply hooked up to a fire hydrant.

A simple task, and it could save a life.

So Surrey, if you need a request to install it, here it is. From me.

Now staff writer Amy Reid can be reached at amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com.

 

 

 

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