The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter marched in the 12-kilometre walk against Nestle in 2011.
The Council of Canadians Centre Wellington and Guelph chapters will be taking part in a march against Nestle later this month.
On Sunday May 29, Save Our Water activists will be gathering at Market Hall (in front of Guelph City Hal) for a brief rally and then walking from the downtown area to the Nestle plant in Aberfoyle for another rally at 5:30 pm. It’s a 12-kilometre walk from Guelph City Hall to Nestle Waters Canada in Aberfoyle.
As noted on their website, “Save Our Water formed in April 2015 and is a growing movement of residents committed to the protection and preservation of the Grand River watershed. They are working closely with Wellington Water Watchers to safeguard the groundwater that our communities, our wetlands and our river ecosystems rely on.” The Centre Wellington chapter is a member of Save Our Water and was formed to fight Nestle water-takings in the area.
The Council of Canadians is helping to fight Nestle on two fronts in southern Ontario.
CBC has reported, “Residents of a southern Ontario town are worried Nestlé Water Canada’s plan to pump up to 1.6 million litres of water per day from a nearby aquifer could leave them high and dry. Nestlé Waters Canada, a subsidiary of the transnational Nestlé company, has conditionally bought an existing well near Elora, Ont. — a small town on the Grand River located about 115 kilometres west of Toronto — that taps into a major aquifer, or underground layer of water. The company hopes to eventually pump water from the aquifer and sell it in the Canadian market, where some 2.4 billion litres of bottled water are sold each year, often at prices similar to gasoline.”
That article highlights, “The company’s plan to operate the well still needs approval from Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, but at a recent meeting Elora residents voiced their outrage and disbelief that the province might allow it.” That forum with about 300 people took place on Oct. 28, 2015 and was organized by the Council of Canadians Centre Wellington chapter. The featured speakers were Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, chapter activist Diane Ballantyne, our ally Mike Nagy from Wellington Water Watchers, and a representative from SaveOurWater.ca.
We also encouraged our supporters to tell the Ontario government that Nestlé should not be granted the water-taking permit for pumping tests (nor for a longer-term water-taking permit) during the Ontario Environmental Registry public comment period that ended on Nov. 15, 2015. To read our own submission, please click here.
A decision from the Ontario government on this permit is still pending.
Last month, CTV reported, “Within the next few months, Nestle’s permit to take water from the Aberfoyle area will expire. The bottled water giant is seeking a 10-year renewal of that permit, which currently allows them to take about 2,500 litres of water per minute from the Grand River watershed.” Nestle’s current water taking permit in Aberfoyle is set to expire July 31, 2016.
The Wellington Advertiser adds, “Within the next few weeks, the MOECC will publish the application on the Ontario Environmental Registry (EBR) for public review and comment. Following the standard 30-day regulatory consultation period, the ministry will review comments in accordance with the Environmental Bill of Rights and make a decision on the Aberfoyle permit renewal.”
The Council of Canadians has previously raised concerns about Nestle’s water-taking business in Aberfoyle. In 2008, the Council of Canadians Guelph chapter and Wellington Water Watchers campaigned against Nestle and succeeded in at least reducing Nestle’s requested permit (from 5 years to 2 years) and requiring the company to do extensive monitoring on the impact of their water takings. In 2013, the two groups, with legal representation from Ecojustice, successfully fought against an Ontario Ministry of Environment decision to remove conditions that made it mandatory for Nestle to reduce its water takings in Hillsburgh during droughts.
We will be encouraging our Ontario-based supporters to send comments in opposition to Nestle’s application once the EBR publishes it and opens the public comment period.
We are also calling on our supporters in southern Ontario to take part in the May 29 march to the Nestle plant in Aberfoyle. If you are in the area, please join this march!