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NEWS: Campbell River chapter opposes water bottling applications

The Victoria Times Colonist reports this evening that, “A deluge of connected applications to extract water for bottling — from more than 40 streams around four remote inlets on the B.C. Central Coast — has prompted a flurry of requests for a full provincial environmental assessment. The applications, now individually under consideration by the Natural Resource Operations Ministry, envisage taking about 112,000 litres a day from each of the streams. The water would then be barged to Vancouver and bottled.”

“Although three numbered companies and two First Nations — the Kwiakah First Nation of Campbell River and Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala of Alert Bay — are named on the applications, the common thread is William Chornobay of Langley, who could not be contacted Monday.”

“As the applications are connected, the cumulative environmental effects — rather than the effects of individual withdrawals — need to be studied, say the Campbell River Council of Canadians, Friends of Bute Inlet, Sierra Club Malaspina, Sierra Club Quadra Island and Sunshine Coast Conservation Association. All have asked Environment Minister Murray Coell for an environmental assessment.”

Last February, Campbell River chapter activists Joanne Banks and Rich Hagensen wrote in the Courier-Islander that, “The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is encouraging communities to phase out the sale of bottled water. Locally, our Council of Canadians chapter made presentations to the City’s Environmental Committee and Council about the negative social and environmental impacts of bottled water. Now, the Campbell River Sustainability and Water Departments are recommending that City Council ban the sale and use of bottled water at City facilities and events. Why would we wish to encourage the further commodification of our coastal watersheds by setting up a bottled water plant in Campbell River and exporting our water? Why add millions of plastic water bottles to landfills, roadsides and oceans?”

The Times Colonist article is at http://www.timescolonist.com/technology/Environmental+groups+raise+alarm+over+scheme+bottle+water+from+more+than+streams/4239903/story.html. The letter to the editor in the Campbell River Courier-Islander is at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1136215. To see our April 2009 action alert against these applications for water bottling permits, please go to http://canadians.org/action/2009/17-Apr-09.html.

Update: In a media release on February 8, Friends of Bute Inlet, Sierra Club Quadra Island, Sierra Club Malaspina, the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association and the Campbell River chapter of the Council of Canadians stated that, “At least 40 streams in four adjoining B.C. inlets north of Vancouver have been targeted for new water bottling operations.” They called on, “B.C. Environment Minister Murray Coell to authorize a formal environmental assessment covering all the applications.”

“The bulk of the dozens of water bottling license applications–in Bute, Knight, Jervis and Toba Inlets–were filed in 2010 and are now in the hands of the new B.C. Ministry of Resource Operations.”

The media release can be read at http://www.sierraclub.bc.ca/quick-links/media-centre/media-releases/dozens-of-new-water-bottling-operations-slated-for-b-c-inlets.