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Council of Canadians expresses solidarity with local campaign to stop Nestlé in Erin Township

Let Mayor Alls and Councillors Brennan, Duncan and Smith know that they should reject Nestlé funding on April 18.

The Council of Canadians expresses its solidarity with the Green Well Ecological Collaborative and their effort to stop Nestlé in the southwestern Ontario community of Erin.

The Wellington Advertiser reports, “A group of Erin citizens is asking town council to reject a voluntary levy offered by Nestlé Waters Canada.”

On February 1, Nestlé proposed to town council that they would give the town 50 cents for every 1,000 litres of water they extract from the Hillsburgh well. Nestlé said the town would get at least $25,000 annually and estimates are the town could receive about $40,000 a year through this so-called ‘community benefit fund’.

On April 4, the Green Well Ecological Collaborative recommended to the five-person town council that the group launch a social media campaign to raise the estimated $40,000 that Nestlé has offered to pay the town.

Linda Rosier, a spokesperson for the group, told councillors, “If the only reason you’re saying ‘yes’ is because you need $40,000, we’ll come up with the $40,000 through a social media campaign which we would start in conjunction with Waterstock.”

Waterstock is taking place on June 11 from 12 pm to 5 pm at the Bela Farm in Hillsburgh. Wellington Water Watchers is organizing the event to mobilize community pressure to ask Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to say no to Nestlé water takings in the province.

From the Wellington Advertiser report, Councillor Rob Smith ‎(rob.smith@erin.ca) seemed skeptical that the money could be raised, Councillor John Brennan (john.brennan@erin.ca) said the town should work with Nestlé, while Councillor Jeff Duncan (jeff.duncan@erin.ca) also appeared to support taking money from Nestlé.

On the other hand, Councillor Matt Sammut (matt.sammut@erin.ca) urged council to consider the proposal. Sammut said, “I don’t think water should be given to companies to exploit and make significant profits on.”

Mayor Allan Alls (allan.alls@erin.ca) says council will make a decision on April 18. The CBC has reported that Alls would be willing to comment on the fund following that meeting.

The Town of Erin’s website notes, “Very important issues arise in the Town of Erin from time to time. Public comment is always welcome.”

You can email the councillors with the emails noted above or send your message to the Town Council General Mailbox at council@erin.ca

When the Green Well Ecological Collaborative launches its fundraising campaign, The Council of Canadians will contribute to their fund.