Grey Lynn 2030 wants to install a modern take of the "village pump" to cut down on plastic bottles in landfills, but there's other positives, too, writes Hannah Sanders.

Before heading out, Pania Robinson usually fills her stainless steel water bottle.

But when she forgets to do that, she has to buy bottled water. It's not only the expense but unnecessary plastic waste, she says.

A solution might be just around the corner. If a scheme by local organisation Grey Lynn 2030 is adopted, a water bottle refill station will be installed on the corner of Richmond Rd and Francis St.


The group hopes to make Grey Lynn the first place in Auckland to be plastic water bottle-free, inspiring other suburbs or  cities to follow suit. Similar stations have already been set up in Wellington and  Christchurch.

"Water is something that should be available easily to everyone," says Ms Robinson, "and people would use the opportunity a lot, as the environmental awareness is already there."

The idea had been around for a while in the community, but the final trigger came from the documentary Tapped which lambasts disposable plastic bottles as damaging to the environment and to health.

Grey Lynn 2030 sees the station as a social meeting place where people could chat while filling their  bottles.

Community identity was a key word for the proposed design. Signs on the fountain could promote the area in work by local artists.

The proposal is endorsed by Western Bay Community Board.

It's exactly the kind of project they like to support, says board member Paul Stephenson. "It fits really well within the wider vision of recreating urban villages."

The idea has been passed to Auckland City Council for assessment, before the board can grant funding of $10,500 out of its fund for small local improvements.


The idea of creating a modern "village pump" got a good response when a model for presentation was set up, says Pippa Coom, of the 2030 group's steering committee. "People came to have a look. Some had seen the photos, thinking the station had already been installed and wanted to know what was going on."

Local shop owners might think of arguments against the drinking fountain, as they sell bottled water.

When Grey Lynn 2030 gets consent, it will inform the shop owners directly affected and try to convince them the idea's a good one.

Ms Coom says the fountain could benefit the shops rather than compete with them, and perhaps may be a reason to sell refillable bottles.

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All hands to the pump

Grey Lynn 2030 is a participatory community organisation and part of the international Transition Towns movement. Under the motto Positive Vision _ Practical Action, local schemes to encourage community spirit and environmental sustainability are devised.