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Guelph chapter prepares for Nestle debate on November 7

The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter was at the rally at Guelph City Hall on September 26 and is now preparing for the upcoming debate on November 7.

The Guelph Mercury reports, “Local residents will get a chance in November to tell Guelph council what they think of commercial bottling of area groundwater, as a result of a motion passed unanimously by council after about 300 people staged a noisy anti-Nestle rally Monday [September 26]. …Supporters of [Councillor James] Gordon’s motion filled the gallery in council chambers and overflowed into a separate viewing room in city hall. The gallery gave Gordon a lengthy standing ovation after his opening remarks during the two-hour debate.”

Nestle is applying to the provincial government for a 10-year renewal of its permit to extract 3.6 million litres of water a day from the Grand River watershed. The Aberfoyle permit expired on July 31, but Nestle has continued to pump water under the terms and conditions of the old permit as the ministry reviews its application.

The Council of Canadians has supported Gordon’s motion for the City to oppose Nestle’s application. We urged our Guelph-area members with an action alert to contact City Council to express their support for the motion prior to their September 12 planning meeting. More than 560 letters were sent to City Council via our website.

That motion had called on the City of Guelph to send a letter to the province expressing council’s “concern that the permit to take water is not in the best interest of the City of Guelph and the watershed shared by the City of Guelph”.

The Guelph Mercury now adds, “Gordon’s special resolution sought agreement to hold a council debate on October 3… On an 11-2 vote, council approved an amendment proposed by Councillor Dan Gibson that delays this debate until November and doesn’t specifically mention Nestle.”

Deputations will now be heard on November 7, and the motion is then expected to go to a vote on November 26.

According to the City of Guelph’s website, people “may register and provide written materials/presentations by the Tuesday two weeks prior to the Committee of the Whole or Council meeting [so that would be October 25] in order to be included on the published agenda.  Individuals can also delegate on an item included on an agenda if the registration is received by the final deadline – 10 a.m. on the Friday [that would be November 4] prior to the meeting. Written comments and presentations (including PowerPoint presentations) received by the final deadline at 10 a.m. the Friday [November 4] prior to the meeting shall be included on the consolidated agenda and distributed to Committee and Council members.”

The day after the rally at Guelph City Hall, Nestle issued a media release that stated, “As a member of the community, Nestle Waters Canada welcomed last night’s discussion at the City of Guelph Council. …Alongside members of the public, we also look forward to participating in the November 7 Committee of the Whole.”

The people will be there too.

For all the information you need to register to speak at this meeting, including the “Request to appear as a delegate form” that would need to be emailed clerks@guelph.ca (by October 25 or at the latest November 4), please go to this City of Guelph website.

To join with the almost 20,000 people who have signed our Boycott Declaration to stop Nestle from profiting from water, click here.