I do not support these recommendations to permit water bottling companies to resume business. Nowhere does the proposed new approach address the horrendous environmental disaster that plastic bottles are creating all over the earth. Before they resume business, companies need to commit to only using biodegradable containers.
Further, it needs to be explicitly expressed that the needs of the people who live in the community, and those projected to live there over the next 100 years, and the surrounding natural environment have top priority for water use, followed by agriculture, followed by local industries, as approved by the municipalities concerned, without the province over-riding their wishes. Only then could ecologically friendly bottling of water resources be considered by the municipality. 90 days needs to remain in play to permit sufficient local consultation before permits are granted. Further, ten years is too long a timeframe for permits given how quickly our environment is changing and degrading because of climate change and other ecological pressures. I'd reduce the timeline to three years but I realize that would never be accepted so I suggest leaving it at five years.
I would like to see the data proving that there is no threat to groundwater reserves before any permits are granted. Also, if we are going to permit bottling, fair market rates need to be paid to municipalities for this precious resource. The companies make billions in profit while paying communities pennies for billions of liters. If we must sell these vital and precious natural resources, I would like to see a mandatory 50/50 profit sharing split between the company and the municipality, so that the value of the water resource could be returned to the community to help offset the costs of addressing climate change and lowering emissions from buildings and transportation systems, in particular.
Everything in these 'updates' benefits the private sector interests of the companies and provide little to ensure protection of the environment. This is especially dangerous now that the Conservation Authorities traditional role of protecting our water resources, waterways and wetlands have been totally undermined to permit direct Ministerial approval to developers and industries without even bothering to consult with municipalities, let alone other interested parties like environmental groups (or even insurance companies given the increased risks of flooding, property damage and even loss of life).
To be clear, I am not in favour of loosening any of the old regulations to make the process easier, or more user-friendly for the bottling companies. I would prefer that the moratorium on bottling water be continued indefinitely.
Submitted January 29, 2021 7:36 PM