A Vancouver Island resident who made a presentation to City of Powell River councillors over the bottling of groundwater now wants council to enact a bylaw prohibiting water bottling in general.
At the May 14 city council meeting, council considered a letter from Bruce Gibbons, from Merville, which was a follow-up to the delegation he made to the city’s committee of the whole a little over a year ago.
Gibbons, in his letter, stated he had requested the city and qathet Regional District support the Strathcona Regional District resolution asking the provincial government to stop approving licences for the bottling and commercial sale or bulk export of groundwater. He further requested that the city and regional district change their bylaws to prohibit the bottling of groundwater in their land-use bylaws.
“In the past year the Strathcona RD resolution has passed unanimously at the AVICC (Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities) meeting in Powell River last April and passed with strong support at the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) meeting in Vancouver in September,” stated Gibbons. “The resolution is currently in front of the provincial government for a decision. I have been actively lobbying MLAs to support the resolution and encourage the government to implement the resolution.”
Gibbon stated he was following up with council to encourage its members to act on his second request, to enact a bylaw that prohibits water bottling.
“My original request was to prohibit bottling of groundwater, but my investigation over the past year has shown the increased impact on all our water by climate change and other risk factors, stated Gibbons. “Both groundwater and surface water are at risk due to climate change, growing demand and other factors.
“I encourage you to take action on my request to prohibit the bottling of water in your land-use bylaws or by means of a water bottling policy. There are too many examples of large corporations prospecting for water, like they would prospect for gold. Much of that water would be targeted for export to huge consumer markets around the world. Water is becoming far too critical to allow it to be bottled and sold for profit by a few corporations or individuals while putting the water security of the people of your city/district at risk.”
Mayor Dave Formosa said Gibbons came before council, asking for support and to take the initiative to the AVICC and the UBCM.
“I think we supported that, as many others did,” said Formosa. “Now he has another letter looking for additional support.”
Councillor George Doubt moved that council send the letter to staff, who are working on a draft bylaw to deal with the bottling groundwater.
Council agreed to send the matter to staff.