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NEWS: Nestle behind narrow defeat blue community designation for Oshawa

Councillor Amy England challenged Nestle Waters director of corporate affairs John Challinor.

Councillor Amy England challenged Nestle Waters director of corporate affairs John Challinor.

DurhamRegion.com reports that a tie vote at Oshawa’s development services committee meant a rejection of a bottled water ban in City facilities, even though the City’s “environmental advisory committee had recommended that City staff review the Blue Communities Project and consider the implications of the program and investigate options to reduce reliance on bottled water”.

Deputations against the Blue Communities Project proposal were made by John Challinor of Nestle Waters and Jim Goetz of the Canadian Beverage Association.

The article notes, “(Councillor Amy England) asked questions about water scarcity remarks made by Nestle reps in the past. Mr. Challinor said the comments were related to growing food, and it wasn’t an issue of the availability of water, but access to it. He further said water taking is regulated and requires permits in Ontario. ‘You could eliminate the bottled water industry tomorrow, and you’d see no appreciable increase in the amount of water available to Canadians’.”

“The Blue Communities Project was created by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, with three actions associated with becoming a blue community: recognizing water as a human right; promoting municipal water and wastewater services; and banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events.”

Nestle has been unsuccessful in stopping blue community designations in Nanaimo http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14514 and Victoria http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9473, and we will be trying again in Oshawa soon. Given the closeness of the vote, we’re confident we can win with community mobilization on the next vote.

There are now a dozen Blue Communities across the country, including Ajax which like Oshawa is in Durham Region. To find out more about how you can pursue your community becoming a blue community, please see http://canadians.org/bluecommunities.