REGINA – A local candy and ice cream shop is trying to do its part to reduce waste by no longer selling bottled water and instead offering tap water for free.
“If you want a drink of water, we’ll refill your refillable bottle for free or we can give you a cup of water,” said Shelley Patterson, who owns Dessart Sweets in the Cathedral neighbourhood.
However, Patterson said she finds it difficult to locate free drinking water.
“I’ve noticed because I’ve been making a really conscious decision not to buy bottled water that there’s hardly any public fountains anymore,” said Patterson.
“If you’re (sitting) at a fast food joint or something and if you ask for a glass of water it’s like you’re an alien or something. They want you to buy the bottled water.”
Patterson said the initiative comes from wanting to reduce waste and to take a stand against the privatization of water by large companies.
Since posting the notice on her store’s Facebook page on Wednesday morning, she’s received hundreds of comments, likes and shares.
“I really cannot get over how many people have looked at the post and have been talking about it,” she said. “I guess people are ready for the conversation.”
Some people took to social media to complain about the taste and smell of Regina water. However, the city said its only received one odour complaint in 2015.
“Sometimes individual noses and taste buds are going to register things differently but that’s not something that we have any number of complaints about,” said Pat Wilson, director of water works.
Wilson said people who have lived in Regina since the 1980s and earlier, would notice a significant improvement in city water.
“We did a lot of investments in the water treatment plant a number of years ago and that had a huge impact on improving the taste and odour,” said Wilson.
In a taste test at the Western Canada Water Conference in October, Regina’s water beat out Edmonton’s and Calgary’s.