150 people pack meeting to stop Nestle
From Wellington Water Watchers
More than 150 people crowded into the Elora Legion Hall on Thursday January 17th. Environmental lawyer David Donnelly described the legal options Centre Wellington Township Council can use to stop Nestlé’s proposed water extraction at the Middlebrook Road site.
Amy Corner (Save Our Water) concluded the meeting by asking the assembled people to show their support for the following statement:
“We ask council to formulate by-laws to STOP this large-scale water extraction for bottling. It compromises our water security.”
The residents gave enthusiastic and overwhelming support for the Centre Wellington Township Council to formulate bylaws to stop Nestlé’s proposal to extract water on Middlebrook Road!
Jan Beveridge of Save Our Water presented the highlights at the meeting of an independent study of future municipal water needs commissioned by Wellington County residents. The Hunter Report (named for its author Gary Hunter) concludes that permitting large-scale, commercial water extraction at Middlebrook is a threat to the future development of Centre Wellington’s water system.
Background: The Fergus/Elora population is targeted to double by 2041, requiring development of at least three new municipal wells. Meanwhile, Nestlé intends to draw 1.6 million litres a day from the Middlebrook well, a volume equivalent to one third of current municipal production. Further, if Nestlé received permission to operate the Middlebrook well, any possibility of a new well location west of Elora as a future municipal water source is eliminated or compromised forever.
David Donnelly described the legal authority Centre Wellington Township Council can invoke to prevent Nestlé from operating a commercial water taking business on Middlebrook Road. Four of seven municipal councillors were present throughout the meeting. (The Mayor and other councillors had prior commitments).
The audience asked questions of Jan Beveridge and David Donnelly after their presentations
In preparation for the January 17th community meeting Save Our Water leaders met in December one on one with the Mayor and each of the councillors. The purpose of these one on one meetings was to brief Mayor and councillors on the water study and on the legal opinion obtained from lawyer David Donnelly.
The Township of Centre Wellington had previously passed resolutions declaring water is a public trust and that Centre Wellington Township is not a willing host community for new water permits for commercial water bottling purposes. (See here for more info).
We understand Centre Wellington Township Council is reviewing the legal roadmap and we expect to know more about how they will respond in the coming weeks.