Chilliwack chapter raises questions about Nestle's dealings with Kinder Morgan

Chapter activist Suzy Coulter

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter raises the the issue of the lack of transparency around how Nestle secured the rerouting of the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline away from the Nestle well in Hope in a letter to the editor published in the Chilliwack Progress.

In terms of context, our Chilliwack-based ally WaterWealth has noted, "Nestle asked for and got a route change to move the new pipeline further from their wells. Chilliwack residents have been asking for the route to be moved off the aquifer we get our water from. Does Nestle have some pull that we don't?"

Then the Chilliwack Progress reported that Laurie Throness, the provincial Member of the Legislative Assembly for Chilliwack-Hope, commented, "It's a private arrangement they came to. I think Nestle supplied some land for them to do that." Throness made that remark at an all-candidates meeting organized by the chapter.

Chapter activist Suzy Coulter now writes in the Chilliwack Progress, "It is puzzling as to why it proves to be difficult for a concerned citizen to, in fact, get a 'straight record' regarding the issue of Nestle and the pipeline route. On the one hand, Trans Mountain's staffer at the projected route map, told us, at an info session in Hope on March 7th, that the indicated deviation from the old pipeline route was negotiated by Nestle and that if Nestle want the existing old pipe moved too, that Trans Mountain would expect Nestle to pay for that change. On the other hand the Nestle communications people are contradicting this, and further, our own elected provincial representative has a different record."

Furthermore, with respect to Chilliwack, Kinder Morgan would either have to directionally drill a 20 metre tunnel through the city's aquifer (which is 10 metres below the ground) or dig a shallow trench through the backyards of about 50 homes to build this pipeline. Construction on the pipeline is expected to begin with tree clearing and site preparation along the route this September.

Coulter also highlights in her letter, "Yes, Nestle Water Canada's profits were not $9 billion, but Nestle's global profits were even more than that. I learn directly from p. 60 of the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Nestle Group 2016 that their global profits were $8.88 billion Swiss Francs which is equivalent to $11.85 billion Canadian dollars at today's exchange rate."

She concludes, "And for the record, my definition of 'most sustainable enterprises' doesn't include the manufacture of single use plastic bottles of water, some of which have been found on shelves as far away as the Northwest Territories, a distance of 2,126 km. Trucking bottled water thousands of kilometres across the country is not sustainable. Drinking local tap water for free is."

Nestle extracts about 265 million litres of water each year from the Kawkawa aquifer in Hope in Sto:lo territory.

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