British Columbia

Fake fire hydrant attracting dogs and controversy in Kamloops

When the neighbourhood dogs kept doing their business on Ron Bett's front lawn in downtown Kamloops he installed a fake fire hydrant to mark the spot, but firefighters worry an impostor hydrant poses a public safety risk.

Ron Bett wanted a spot for dogs to doo-doo, fire rescue says impostor hydrant a don't

Ron Betts poses next to the fake fire hydrant he installed in front of his home in downtown Kamloops. (Jenifer Norwell)

When the neighbourhood dogs kept doing their business on Ron Betts' front lawn in downtown Kamloops, he decided to give up on maintaining his grass and give in to the canines by marking the spot with a fake fire hydrant.

The imposter hydrant is actually a tree stump modified with plastic gardening pots and spray-painted red. Betts placed it on the boulevard of his corner lot, so dogs knew where they were welcome to raise their legs. But his "creative solution" is also raising a few eyebrows among city officials.

A few days after Betts installed his "hydrant" he got a call from a staff member at city hall who said the city "frowns upon" this sort of thing. Betts told CBC's Daybreak Kamloops producer Jenifer Norwell that he couldn't find anything in the city's bylaws that explicitly prohibited him from having such a feature.

"We didn't feel like a truck was going to roll up here in the heat of the moment and somebody was going to get a wrench out and start trying to attach a hose to a wooden stump," Betts told Norwell, who met him at his home to see the offending hydrant.

Ron Betts posted a cheeky sign to help people know the hydrant is fake. (Jenifer Norwell)

Safety risks

Tammy Blundell, acting bylaw services manager for the city, said her office spoke with Kamloops Fire Rescue which was concerned about the risk of crew members attempting to access Betts' hydrant.

'It could lead to the loss of a home," said Blundell. "All it takes is one time for that to happen."

She agreed with Betts there is no explicit bylaw but spoke with him about modifying the "art piece" to prevent confusion.

A sign placed next to the offending hydrant addressed to the chief of Kamloops Fire Rescue warning that the hydrant is "pretend." (Jenifer Norwell)

So, Betts added signs and plants to his handiwork to prevent confusion and reduce any risk to public safety.

One of the signs reads "dogs only." Another, placed there by neighbour, is directed at Mike Adams, the local fire chief.

"Chief Mike Adams: This hydrant is pretend" is printed on a second sign staked into the dirt next to the puppy pit-stop. It has since been taken down.

Ron Betts added plants to his fake hydrant to ensure people don't mistake it for the real thing. (Ron Betts)

'We are doing this tongue-in-cheek and we don't harbour any ill will for anyone making a decision about this," he said.

Blundell said Betts is now in compliance with city wishes and business on the corner can continue as usual.

Daybreak Kamloops


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