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PEI chapter wants permanent ban on bottled-water operations

PEI chapter activist Leo Broderick

The Council of Canadians Prince Edward Island chapter has been opposing a proposed bottled water plant in Brookvale, PEI since plans for it were first announced this past September.

Today, CBC reports, “The provincial government says it will now prohibit companies from bottling Island water until the Water Act has been introduced. The ministerial order would affect companies such as Pure Island Waters Ltd., which had planned to set up a water bottling plant in Brookvale, PEI.”

Pure Island Waters Ltd. president Jim Wood is quoted saying, “This stops us in our tracks for a while.”

PEI chapter activist Leo Broderick says, “We believe there is no room for any bottled water company operating in the province. Regardless of the new Water Act, we want legislation that prevents any bottled water company from operating in the province – it doesn’t matter if its bottled water for local sale or for export. We having been saying for some time now ‘our water is not for sale’. We have also been saying that bottled water companies that use municipal water and resell it to residents should be shut down. We have at least one now operating in the City of Charlottetown. The one in Stratford is now closed.”

In mid-September, Pure Island Waters Ltd. announced it wanted to set up a water bottling plant in Brookvale (which is located about 30 kilometres north-west of Charlottetown) that would start by extracting 84,000 litres of water per week. At full capacity, the plant would draw 100,000 litres of water per day, or about 56 litres of water per minute.

The company had planned to establish three new wells – one for bottling water, another as a backup, and a third for a geothermal heating system for the plant. The province’s minister of environment had initially said that the proposal met all regulatory requirements and that there was no need for an environmental review. By late-September, the company announced it would no longer use a geothermal system to heat the plant to avoid an environmental assessment of the project (given those water-takings would pass a threshold and trigger an assessment). The company also announced that it no longer planned to export bottled water to China or Japan given the negotiations involved in that.

In October 2015, Broderick presented to the PEI Environmental Advisory Committee on the province’s proposed Water Act.

Today, the provincial Minister for Communities, Land and Environment stated, “This temporary measure will allow both the opportunity for the public to participate in a second round of consultations to communicate their thoughts on this issue, as well as the time needed to complete the new Act.”

CBC reports, “The draft Water Act is nearing completion, with the second round of in-person consultations planned for early 2017.”

Pure Island Waters Ltd. says it hopes to be able to move forward with their bottled water operation after the Water Act has been introduced.