In recent years, one of the ways Centre 105 has cared for the people in need in Cornwall has been to provide bottles of water, especially essential during the heat of summer. In 2021, the Centre received donations of and gave out about 10,000 water bottles, executive director Taylor Seguin told Crosstalk. The environmental impact of all those plastic bottles was a concern but COVID health restrictions made other options difficult.
This year, however, Seguin said he and the staff wanted to find another way. They decided to collect and distribute reusable water bottles and to find a way to provide water to refill them.
They had previously approached the City of Cornwall to see if their location at Trinity Anglican Church could be the site for an outdoor water station. The City has installed a few along the waterfront and bike path in Cornwall to provide accessible drinking water. “We reached out to the City again and asked if there was any possibility. They got back to us and said it’s just financially not possible. It’s a huge project, and it has to connect with a water main.”
Seguin was excited, however, to get a call the following week from a City official who said that the mayor would like to come for a visit to Centre 105. “He came and said ‘We love the project. We love the idea of trying to reduce waste. What about an indoor water station? That’s something we can do.’ And I thought, “Wow, what a surprise. I thought this was going to be totally dead.”
Installing an indoor water station is still a big project, so Seguin is grateful the City is spearheading it and providing the funding. “We just get to enjoy it when it is done,” he said.
Centre 105 collected about 600 reusable water bottles. Various businesses and agencies donated blocks of 50 or 100 and individual people donated them one or two at a time. “It all adds up,” says Seguin.
Centre 105 has about 150 regular participants, so they gave everyone two reusable bottles to start with. During the summer while waiting for the water station to be installed, the staff provided water to participants in the program from big camping jugs of ice water at the Centre.
The water station will be just by the Centre 105’s side entrance. It will keep a running total of the amount of water dispensed and how many plastic bottles it has replaced. “One at city hall that’s been there for a few years had saved 20,000 water bottles,” Seguin said. “This is busy building. There’s so many different groups in here, not to mention the church itself. It’s going to be pretty wild. I think we are going to be shocked.”