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NEWS: The Tappie award and the ban bottled-water campaign at New Westminster Secondary School

The New Westminster Record reports that, “Two New Westminster Secondary School students are entering murky political waters with their bid to get bottled water sales banned at their school. Marie-Claire Massicotte and Hannah Crisp sent a letter and a petition with 105 signatures from students and staff to superintendent John Woudzia in November. The letter outlined their concerns about the environmental and ethical impact of single-use bottled water and urged the district to ban its sale at their school. …(Hannah and Marie-Claire) are concerned about the sale of water, which they deem as unnecessary given that it’s already freely available without the damaging packaging.”

“What the girls didn’t know when they began the campaign is that the issue of whether to ban bottled water at the high school has been a political hot potato, with union-endorsed trustees at odds with Voice New Westminster trustees over whether to stop selling bottled water at the high school. The labour-supported board of education chair, Michael Ewen, has now decided to include the students’ letter in the upcoming board of education meeting’s agenda on Tuesday.”

“The board’s debate on whether to ban bottled water started last January, when trustees voted on several motions to gradually discontinue offering bottled water as a part of a phased out approach, which included surveying water quality in the fountains and education explaining the carbon footprint and health issues associated with single-use water bottles. The bottled water brouhaha really took off when trustee Lori Watt (who introduced the motion to consider banning the sales of bottled water) got a ‘Tappie’ on behalf of the school district in March. The Tappie was given out by the Council of Canadians at the Canadian Union of Public Employees-sponsored World Waters Day event in Vancouver. …At the time, Voice trustee Casey Cook took issue with Watt accepting the Tappie on behalf of the board because the board hadn’t banned bottled water and he was never told about the award. The board was still considering whether to continue selling bottled water in schools, he said at the time.”

“In March, the board directed staff to forward the original motion to school parent advisory councils and to the regional medical health officer, for review. Most parents wanted the sale of bottled water to continue until a new high school was built, and the health officer encouraged the district to stop selling pop and to ensure that clean drinking water was available at the fountains before banning the sale of water. By September, the board had opted to just ban bottled water at the board level and to reconsider the other bottled water motions in February. …(Hannah and Marie-Claire) want the school to sell reusable water bottles. …Carrying water from home in a reusable water bottle is the best solution, Hannah said.”

The full article is at http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/What+ethical+about+tarsands/4078892/story.html. More on the Tappies at http://cupe.ca/water/tappies-toast-world-water-day.