Kamloops orders removal of ornamental fire hydrant that may confuse firefighters - InfoNews

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Kamloops orders removal of ornamental fire hydrant that may confuse firefighters

Ron Betts is the homeowner to a downtown property. He recently made an ornamental red fire hydrant due to the number of dogs peeing on his property on the way to the dog park downtown. The City recently asked him to take it down as the shape may be misleading to firefighters.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Ron Betts
June 12, 2019 - 6:00 AM

KAMLOOPS — Living on a corner property on the way to a busy downtown dog park means sometimes Ron Betts’ front yard can be a popular spot for canines to drop their business.

He’s tried different ways to make the grass look healthy in that area but it’s been challenging, he says. Then he got creative.

After getting the approval from his nearby neighbours, Betts made an ornamental fire hydrant out of a tree stump, a plant pot and some bright red paint then put it in a garden filled with mulch on his front yard.

“We thought we could do something a little fun but also still protect the grass,” he says. “We thought it was a win-win.”

It took one day to get a call from the City of Kamloops.

“They are saying that if a fire broke out in the neighbourhood and trucks rolled up at night the shape could confuse somebody.”

Betts says he understands the shape could be misleading but explains that’s why he painted it a different colour than the usual yellow fire hydrants across the Tournament Capital.

“It’s a different colour, there is a real fire hydrant directly across the road from us about 30 to 40 feet,” he says. 

Betts says he decided to put a sign on his ornamental fire hydrant that read ‘dogs only’ to see if the City would compromise and called the City to see if this was something they could discuss.

An ornamental fire hydrant made by Ron Betts in Kamloops.
An ornamental fire hydrant made by Ron Betts in Kamloops.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Ron Betts

“I was hoping we could change it or paint the top of it like a dalmatian colour or something like that if there was confusion,” Betts says.

Apparently there was no room for discussion as a bylaw officer showed up to his house yesterday afternoon, June 10.

“They gave us a week to remove it so we are going to take it down,” he says.

Betts says the only way he could keep his creative idea planted on his property would be if he took down the top and sides of the fake hydrant.

"We are a little disappointed,” he says. “Like anybody you think, ‘Is this really what we are focusing on?’”

Kamloops Fire Rescue chief Mike Adams says they were notified of the ornamental fire hydrant and asked their opinion.

“If for whatever reason it was mistaken by our crews or others that this hydrant is functional and it may delay response…we felt that it was best to remove it and we provided that recommendation to bylaw,” Adams says.

The fire chief says it all comes down to public safety.

“It’s difficult to put yourself in a position of somebody that is responding to an incident. We’d hate for there to be any risk of confusion,” he says. “I understand it’s an ornamental display on a person’s property but we felt when we were solicited for our input it was best to have it removed.”

Betts says he has no ill-will toward anyone making the decision. His only intention when he made the fake hydrant was to brighten up the neighbourhood. He will go back to the drawing board for a better solution. 

“If there was a spate of fake fire hydrants popping up all over the city then maybe there’s a problem or if someone painted one yellow,” he says. “At the end of the day, we are just trying to do something that would put a smile one some peoples’ faces and be a creative solution to a problem we were seeing.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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