ELORA – Centre Wellington is seeking a four-year extension of the provincial moratorium on new or expanded permits for commercial water bottlers.

The municipality’s committee of the whole made the recommendation on June 18 following discussion of a report from managing director of infrastructure services Colin Baker.

“Nothing is more important than access to water,” stated Mayor Kelly Linton.

The motion before council noted Centre Wellington is projected to grow to a serviced population of 45,000 by 2041, so the township supports a science-based approach to managing water resources and is working with the Grand River Conservation Authority and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on a Scoped Tier 3 Water Budget under the Clean Water Act.

However, Baker explained the Tier 3 study is not anticipated to be complete by Jan. 1, 2019 – the date on which the current two-year provincial moratorium on permits to take water expires.

The township has also initiated a water supply master plan to meet planned population and employment growth. That plan is also not expected to be complete by Jan. 1, Baker said.

He noted the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is undergoing a Water Management Policy and Science Framework review, which is considering the prioritization of municipal water supply over other uses. It also may not be completed by January.

As a result, Baker recommended the township ask for a four-year extension of the moratorium, to Jan. 1, 2023.

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