ROTHENBURGER – Life in a small town can get a bit silly at times

Ron Betts’ fake hydrant as it looked on Friday. (Image: Mel Rothenburger.)

LIFE IN A SMALL TOWN can get kind of silly, sometimes, can’t it? By small town, I mean, of course, small in the best sense of the word, a place where you can walk down the main street or sit in a coffee shop and always run into people you know.

A place where there are other things to worry about besides oil tankers being blown up in the Gulf and Russian interference in our elections. Even so, we’re capable of making national news.

HEADLINE: ‘Kamloops orders removal of ornamental fire hydrant that may confuse firefighters.’ (

This story also attracted the interest of CBC, which followed up on the InfoNews article a couple of days ago.

Ron Betts, apparently in response to the popularity of his front yard with dogs heeding the call of nature, made a fake fire hydrant out of a tree stump and an upside-down plant pot.

This brought him into conflict with the long arm of the City of Kamloops bylaws department, which gave him a week to remove it. It might fool firefighters answering a call, according to Bylaws and the fire department.

“It could lead to the loss of a home,” acting bylaw services manager Tammy Blundell told CBC News. “All it takes is one time for that to happen.”

Never mind that Betts’ hydrant is red, and City hydrants are yellow. Besides which, City hydrants aren’t made of tree stumps and plant pots.


One of these things is not like the other. City hydrant across the street from the fake one. (Image: Mel Rothenburger.)

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (9122 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Life in a small town can get a bit silly at times

  1. John Noakes // June 15, 2019 at 3:19 PM // Reply

    To 2nd the motion for Deveen, it has been my understanding that KFR has maps in place with the location of fire hydrants.
    Do they also have a list of addresses that are “black listed” for response due to danger of violence? That might be something you could investigate, Mel.

  2. Deveen Martin // June 15, 2019 at 11:48 AM // Reply

    Well just goes to prove we still have a few loonies in town eh. Obviously this officer??did not notice KFD has yellow hydrants or let’s give him benefit of doubt maybe he is color blind !! As Captain Barclays West (fellow retired KFD employee)pointed out before a truck arrives at any fire situation residents can be assured that responders know a bucket full more (to be politically correct) than the color of the hydrants,location,water flow etc, &all this information started with another retired KFD member. I shudder to think that as an already over taxed senior my taxes help pay for such a poorly qualified by law enforcement officer whose job description gives him nothing more challenging to do. I am sure he was given a Putty Medal (heaven forbid a reprimand) for his decisions &will go down in Kamloops history .

  3. Omg are u kidding, think the city is going crazy think they should concentrate on things that make a difference. I have a tree on the side of my drive way have asked to have it removed as it drips pitch all over my new car, and I can no longer park in the driveway during warm weather do u think they will remove it absolutely not they won’t even respond with a full reason, pretty sad they treat tax payers this way!!!!!

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