New water fountain makes a splash in Penzance!

15th March 2024 in Council News, Services

Penzance Council, in partnership with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Our Only World, have installed the first public water fountain in Penzance to further tackle plastic waste and provide access to safe and free drinking water on the go!

The Our Only World fountain has been installed outside the Wherrytown Public Toilet, right next door to the Wherrytown Skateboard Plaza. The Council have been working closely with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Our Only World to get the fountain installed ahead of the Easter holidays when more people will be heading out to enjoy, what we hope will be, warmer and drier weather!

Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Your Shore project ‘Tackling the Emergensea’ and Penzance Council has enabled this project to expand on the years of hard work already established by Plastic Free Penzance, Sustainable Penzance, Kerbs Skateboard Association and Our Only World.

“It’s been a great team effort to get this fountain up and running, but well worth it” said Cllr Stephen Reynolds, Mayor of Penzance.

“Not only is it a great fit for our status as a plastic free community, it’s also perfectly placed for users of the skatepark and coastal path. If this trial installation is successful, it has the potential for further options to be explored across the parish in the future.”

In 2017, Penzance became the first town in the UK to achieve the Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Coastline status. The focus of Plastic Free Communities is not about removing all plastic from our lives, it’s about stopping our reliance on throw away single-use plastic like drinks bottles.

Penzance Council have worked closely with Plastic Free Penzance ever since to continue working towards minimising our town’s contribution to plastic pollution.

In May 2021, Refill PZ, a collaboration between Plastic Free Penzance, Sustainable Penzance and Penzance Council was launched to give locals and visitors to Penzance an easy and immediate way to avoid single-use plastic. The scheme forms an important element of the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan and our Strategic Plan. Whilst many businesses signed up to provide water refills, there wasn’t a water fountain that the public could access around the clock – not anymore!

“Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) are proud to be part of this huge collaborative effort within the Penzance community” said Katie Bellman, Community Engagement Officer.

“This water refill station is an important step to making Penzance an environmentally resilient and sustainable town, reducing plastic waste and pollution entering our oceans.

“It also forms part of CWT’s Mounts Bay Marine Trail where locals and visitors can experience the iconic coast path of Mounts Bay between Newlyn and Marazion, discover interactive features, and find out about the wildlife, history and stories of the bay.

“We’d like to thank Penzance Council for all their support, funding and co-ordination of this fantastic project and we hope to see more stations popping up around the Mounts Bay area.”

Installing a public water fountain is not as simple as it first appears; we had to find a suitable location with an available water supply, we’ve had to factor in the costs of installation, and continued maintenance costs to ensure the water is safe to drink. We hope that the water fountain avoids any significant damage and vandalism and the inevitable knock-on costs to the taxpayer. Officers will be monitoring the fountain’s use over the coming months and gaining a valuable insight into the operating and maintenance costs for Councillors to consider for the future.

Cllr Nigel Pengelly, Penzance Councillor for Penzance Promenade Ward, said: “Although a water fountain might appear to be an easy service to install, there has been a lot of research and work involved in the provision of this equipment. I’d like to thank Ben Brosgall and the other officers at Penzance Council for their hard work in making free drinking water a reality in Penzance.”

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