Rock the Park adds water refill station after councillor candidate calls out City

Crowds packed Harris Park for 2017 Rock the Park. Global News

A popular summer festival is returning to London, Ont., next week with a change: it’s adding a water refill station.

In a statement, the City of London told 980 CFPL that organizers of Rock the Park requested a Thirstation for their event, which runs July 13-17.

A Thirstation is a portable water station that has a bottle-filling area.

This comes after a Ward 6 city councillor candidate read a CBC article about a 72-year-old Rock the Park volunteer who quit after finding out outside water was not allowed and that bottled water was sold for $5 each at the festival.

In a statement, Samuel Trosow called on the City to override the outside-water ban and offer a refill station.

Story continues below advertisement

“Rock the Park is a private entity but they’re using Harris Park, which is a city facility,” Trosow told 980 CFPL. “Whatever the contract the city has with this vendor, separate and aside from that is the issue of the provision of free water services in a park.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Trosow, who is an associate professor of law and media at Western University, also notes that a lack of access to water at an event like this could cause dehydration, which is a health and safety violation.

In response to Trosow’s statement, Rock the Park organizer and president of Jones Entertainment Group (JEG) Brad Jones said they’ve always provided a drinking fountain.

“We do not allow water bottles. There will be a drinking fountain available to them inside,” said Brad Jones. “It’s no different than the last 17 years at Rock the Park.”

Jones also pointed out that Rock the Park has raised more than $3.5 million “for great local charities and it comes from water sales and beer sales.”

The City of London says it’s not responsible for decisions that event organizers make regarding food and beverages, including what they offer or the pricing.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is nothing in the City’s policy that directs this; it is at the sole discretion of event organizers. The water policy for this event was determined by the event organizers, not the City,” a statement continued.

Sponsored content