May 02, 2012

150 sign bottled water petition

As published in The Erin Advocate

A petition opposing the Nestlé Waters application to continue extracting water in Hillsburgh was signed by about 150 people in Erin last week.

It was part of a film night at the Legion hall, organized by the Climate Change Action Group of Erin (CCAGE). The Fast Forward Film Festival was presenting Bottled Life, documenting the efforts of community groups in several countries to stop or control water taking by Nestlé.

The petition was to have been presented at last week's Town Council meeting, but was not. The Town has no authority over water extraction, but does have the ability to comment on the application.

Councillor Barb Tocher had asked about the application at the April 24 council meeting. Town Manager Lisa Hass said it is currently being reviewed by hydrogeological consultant Ray Blackport, who will submit a report to council.

Councillors will discuss how they want to approach Nestlé's application once they receive that report. In response to another question from Councillor Tocher as to when the Town had to submit its comments, Hass said the MOE generally allowed the Town plenty of time to do so.

"We love our Town of Erin water! Please keep it here," the petition says. "We have excellent water and water services in the Town of Erin; hence I oppose the extraction of bulk water by Nestlé Waters for the purpose of transporting it by tanker truck 50 kilometres to Aberfoyle, Ontario for filling in plastic bottles."

The statement also supports a request for a review of Ontario's water permit system, saying it does not conform to Ontario's Statement of Environmental Values. CCAGE and Friends of Hillsburgh Water are urging people to show support for such a review by emailing Environment Minister Jim Bradley at

The ministry relies on Nestlé to test water levels and quality, and no significant impacts have been found. The permit would allow a spike pumping rate of 1,135 litres per minute, taking up to 1.1 million litres per day. The normal rate is 25 per cent of that.

"I think it's crap that Nestlé monitors its own water," said one audience member at last week's meeting. "An unbiased report is needed."

Citizens have until May 20 to submit comments on water issues related to the Nestlé application. Go to and enter registry number 011-6182. Click on the item, then on the Submit Comment button to the right.