Council rejects a water partnership with Nestlé Waters Canada; Commits to strategic action

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

CENTRE WELLINGTON – From day one, the Township has actively pursued its strategic priority of ensuring long term water sustainability for current and future growth requirements.  This was confirmed during Council on Monday, January 23 when Councillors voted unanimously to pass a resolution THAT;

 

The Council of the Township of Centre Wellington directs staff to advise Nestlé Waters Canada that it has no interest in pursuing the unsolicited proposal set out in its September 30, 2016 draft letter, not engaging in any discussions with Nestlé related to the potential operation of a water bottling facility in the Township of Centre Wellington, given:  the present Province-wide moratorium on such facilities; the pending provincial study process related to the regulation of water bottling facilities; and the Township’s own recently-initiated review and assessment study process with respect to Centre Wellington’s present and future, long-term drinking water needs.

 

“This resolution reaffirms the Township’s commitment to doing what is necessary to safeguard our water” said Mayor Kelly Linton.  “It closes the door on any partnership with Nestle and restates that our focus will be participating in the Grand River Conservation Authority’s Scoped Tier 3, completing a Long-Term Water Supply Master Plan and continuing to lobby the Province to give municipalities like Centre Wellington more control over our water resources”.

The Township fully supports the Province’s two-year moratorium as well as stricter rules for renewals of existing permits.  This was affirmed by Council Resolution passed on October 31, 2016 which directed that letters be sent to the Premier , Environment Minister Murray and local MPP Ted Arnott expressing the Township’s support for the Province’s decision.

The Township is also conducting its own review and assessment of Centre Wellington’s present and future drinking water supply needs with the priority of ensuring a sustainable long-term safe drinking supply, taking into account current and future municipal growth, with components of this review including:

  • Participation in the Grand River Conservation Authority’s Scoped Tier 3 water quantity assessment study currently underway, set to be completed in March of 2018; and

 

  • Council’s recent approval of capital funding its Capital Budget to complete a Long Term Water Supply Master Plan by December 2018;

 

  • It is the intention of the municipality to actively participate in the Province’s regulatory review process during the moratorium with a view to ensuring municipalities have the power to control their long term water supply;

 

Last week, the Ontario Government proposed to raise the fees it charges to water bottling companies for the use of groundwater.  Ontario currently charges $3.71 for every million litres of water drawn for all water-taking permits.  The Government is proposing to increase that fee to $503.71 per million litres for water bottling companies who use groundwater.  Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott and Mayor Kelly Linton both concur that this demonstrates the Province of Ontario’s commitment to significant change in the rules about commercial water bottling, but hope that the increase in funds will find their way back to the municipalities impacted by the water taking.

 

This evening, Council also received comments on the Province of Ontario’s draft Bottled Water Technical Guidance Document prepared by Ray Blackport, P.Geo., of Blackport Hydrogeology Inc. (BHI) on behalf of the Township.  These comments will be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in response to Environmental Registry Posting No. 012-9151.  The comments petition the Province to make the future water needs of municipalities the highest priority in future groundwater uses.  The Township is seeking the authority to secure permits and approvals for additional municipal water supply capacity for future population and employment growth to 2041 as mandated by the Province under Places to Grow legislation.  The comment period on the Bottled Water Technical Guidance Document are available for submission between December 2, 2016 and January 31, 2017.

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