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NEWS: Concerns raised about Nestle’s request for water taking permit near Guelph

Guelph march

Council of Canadians chapter activists join a march against Nestlé.

The Wellington Advertiser reports, “Liz Armstrong, a member of the Climate Change Action Group of Erin, (is concerned) about Nestlé Waters’ plan to renew its water taking permit near Hillsburgh (in Ontario).” Nestle wants to renew its Ontario Ministry of Environment permit to take up to 1.1 million litres of water per day from Hillsburgh for its bottling operations in Aberfoyle. Downtown Guelph is located about 20 kilometres from Aberfoyle, and about 35 kilometres from Hillsburgh.

“The company has (also) applied to extend its permit by 10 years. …The original permit was for five years and while Nestlé is seeking a 10-year extension, Armstrong said, ‘We’d prefer zero’. She added Erin residents have good water and access to good wells.”

“Armstrong said there is little need to take any water from the site, citing the carbon footprint of the operation, as well as what she called constant noise at the site and the environmental impact of shipping the water to the Nestlé site in Aberfoyle.”

The Council of Canadians

“(Armstrong) said the Council of Canadians and Wellington Water Watchers have also asked for a formal review of the whole process. …Mike Nagy, chairman of Wellington Water Watchers, a Guelph-based water advocacy group, says Ontario’s permit process for large-scale water taking fails badly when it comes bottled water licenses. …Wellington Water Watchers and the Council of Canadians have formally requested a review of Ontario’s Permit to Take Water process as it applies to bottling water, urging Ontario to overhaul its ‘outdated and narrow approach’.”

“‘These water-taking permits were developed long before plastic water bottles came on the scene 25 years ago, and they fail to live up to several of Ontario’s own statements of environmental values, as set out by the MOE,’ Nagy said. …A 2010 Statistics Canada study warned that renewable water in southern Canada has declined by 8.5% from 1971-2004, and it’s unclear what the impacts of climate change will be on our water availability, even in the very near future.”

Take action

“Nagy recommended contacting Environment Minister Jim Bradley directly (about Hillsburgh and Aberfoyle), and urging local politicians to step up and defend local water.”

The full article is at http://www.wellingtonadvertiser.com/index.cfm?page=detail&itmno=11875. That article also includes more on a controversy on how open a Nestle ‘open house’ on this issue on April 17 actually was. The media release on our request for a review of Ontario’s Permit to Take Water process can be read at http://canadians.org/media/water/2012/22-Mar-12-2.html. Four previous campaign blogs on Nestle in Aberfoyle can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?s=nestle+aberfoyle.