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Let a thousand fountains bloom

Local

An Adelaide industry lobby group has called for every council in Australia to build a fountain in order to boost businesses and give residents an “I’ll meet you at the fountain” gathering place during forecast hotter summers.

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Civil Contractors Federation SA said its “Fountains of Fun” initiative would benefit small businesses and “deliver an attractive and functional benefit to communities”.

“In the northern hemisphere experience, almost every city, town and village in England and continental Europe has a public fountain in a prominent central public location adding to the attractiveness of civic infrastructure,” federation chief executive Phil Sutherland said.

“Public fountains beautify civil precincts, create a calming and relaxing sound and ambience and help drown out unpleasant, unwanted noise including traffic and street noise. They are also attractive to native fauna and fauna.

“Such fountains can come in any number of sizes, shapes, materials and colours. Importantly, modern technology means that public fountains can be designed to conserve and recycle their water and the public would welcome such an environmental value-add, as well as having that very popular social aid of ‘I’ll meet you near the fountain’ reference point.”

Sutherland said building fountains around Australia would not involve large-scale funding over years, but state government and local council funding should make the scheme “highly and immediately affordable”.

Fountains of Fun would benefit businesses ranging from designers and architects to concrete providers, pavers, electricians, plumbers and tourism promoters.

“A fountain presents a good bite size piece of work for small local civil contractors, is an opportunity for high level council engagement with their ratepayers through running public design competitions locally, and brings a new focal point into local communities and which in the passage of time, will also become historic,” Sutherland said.

“A splash or spray pool incorporated into a fountain can also allow residents to enter, get wet and cool off in summer – no doubt a welcome initiative considering long-term weather forecasts for hotter summers.

“A musical fountain can also combine moving jets of water, coloured lights and recorded music, controlled by a computer, for dramatic effects – boosting a small town’s tourism appeal.

“Fountains can themselves also be musical instruments played by obstruction of one or more of their water jets – so it is an immediate can-do initiative able to deliver economic stimulus at multiple levels.”

Local Government Association president Sam Telfer was dismissive of the idea.

“The infrastructure councils build is based on what their communities want and need, not wish-lists from construction lobby groups,” he said.

“With much of the state experiencing drought conditions, building and operating new water fountains is unlikely to be a priority for many councils and their communities.”

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