Last spring you attended a showing of “BOTTLED LIFE” at the Erin Legion and I felt you deserved an update.
Nestle had applied for a ten year renewal of the existing permit, but also requested a “spike rate” of an additional 10% on the maximum quantity withdrawn. Despite significant public disapproval and Erin Council voting against the renewal, a permit renewal for five years was indeed granted by the Ministry of the Environment (Sept). The permit renewal included mandatory reductions as to the amount of water that could be drawn during periods of level 1 and level 2 drought, as had been requested by the Wellington Water Wathchers (WWW), Grand River Conservation Authority and others.
However, having been granted the requested spike rate increase, believe it or not, Nestle then filed an appeal with the Environmental Review Tribunal, seeking removal of these reductions.
In this regard, it is the stance of WWW that given the MOE has both the authority and the responsibility to issue such permits; it also has the very same for the specific details of such a permit.
On Feb 21, at a preliminary meeting of the tribunal, Wellington Water Watchers (WWW) and the Council of Canadians (C of C) sought, and were granted, full party status before the tribunal with representation by Eco Justice (http://www.ecojustice.ca/about). While they provide lawyers free of charge, all other costs, i.e. technical expertise and submissions, travel, and other “out of pocket costs” incurred, will be borne by WWW and C of C.
The tribunal may well conduct a public meeting or alternatively a series of conference calls to adjudicate this matter, how the process will proceed will be made known in the next few weeks. Regardless, significant costs will be incurred during this process.
This whole issue of water taking for the purpose of bottled water and all its ramifications is of concern to many people, but I believe it should be of critical importance to those of us who live and work in this community. I believe that local organizations like WWW, that are working so very hard on our behalf, deserve our (your) support.
If you share my concern about, not just about the global issue of bottled water, perhaps more specifically the local situation, please visit http://www.wellingtonwaterwatchers.ca please consider doing what you can and help in a very worthy undertaking.
Friends of Hillsburgh Water