Much to the dismay and disappointment of environmentalists and anti-corporatists in the Royal City, the Ministry of the Environment approved a five-year renewal of the Nestle’s water taking permit at its Aberfoyle bottling plant. The good news is that the approval wasn’t for the 10 year stretch that Nestle applied for, but the bad news is that Nestle will be permitted to continue taking the allotted 3.6 million litres per day. Reaction was swift, but local advocates only have a limited time to make their appeal, primary among them the Wellington Water Watchers.
With a limited window to appeal, 15 days from when the decision was announced last Friday before, the Watchers quickly sprang into action forming a subcommittee to meet this past Wednesday for a strategy session about the matter "The Wellington Water Watchers had made submissions to the Ministry of Environment and it looks to us that a great extent these submissions were almost ignored by the Ministry of Environment in the decision that they made," said Andre Hueniken, a Board Member of the Water Watchers.
The MOE for its part, seems to think that they have been conciliatory to concerns about the aquifer, limiting the permit to five years over ten “to allow a fulsome and ongoing review of monitoring data in a shorter time frame,” according to MOE regional director Carl Slater in the Wellington Advertiser. “It also allows for consideration of the water taking to be re-evaluated depending upon the local conditions and development in the area.”
John Challinor, the Director of Corporate Affairs for Nestle Canada, says that his company has no interest in draining the well, as it were. “When you invest millions of dollars in your plant like we do, you don't want your water source to be impacted,” he said to CTV. “You don't want it to go dry, you don't want to see a reduction, you don't want to harm your neighbours.”
This issue’s unlikely to go away, so stayed for more developments on the water front. (Get it! Oh, never mind.)