It’s 5:00am on Saturday, May 29th and the line-up at Bur Oak Secondary School parking lot begins. No, there are no free concert tickets here today. Better yet, this line leads to $25 rain barrels for single-family homeowners in York Region.
“The demand this year was incredible! It was really encouraging to see so many residentslined-up on a Saturday morning to save water.”
– Sales event staff
York Region, through its award-winning Water for Tomorrow program, has been hosting rain barrel sales events since 2008. These barrels are specially designed to connect to the downspout of a house and collect rainwater. This soft water is primarily used for lawn and garden watering. Serving as both a water conservation and an educational tool, York Region subsidizes the cost of the barrels—which can retail for as much as $120.
IndEco is responsible for organizing the rain barrel sales events for 2009, 2010, and 2011. This year there were three events locations in York Region: Bur Oak Secondary School in Markham, the GO Station in East Gwillimbury, and St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School in Richmond Hill. A new addition to the events was a booth by Windfall Ecology, a non-profit environmental organization, to educate residents on the correct installation of the rain barrels, and to answer any questions.
York Region’s first sales were in 2008 and over 4000 rain barrels were sold at two separate events. In 2009, 3700 rain barrels were sold during three events and 3900 rain barrels were sold at these most recent events.
During the months of July and August, IndEco, on behalf of York Region, will be conducting telephone surveys with residents who purchased barrels. York Region is seeking feedback from residents on all aspects of the sales events. York Region will also be conducting audits to ensure the barrels are properly installed and conserving water in the Region.