Staff look at phasing out bottled water

Report to be given during budget discussions

City of Powell River staff are investigating options to phase out plastic water bottles.

Councillors gave that direction to staff after discussing the issue at the September 6 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

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Bill Reid, director of parks, recreation and culture, recommended that the city continue selling bottled water at city facilities and civic events “as a healthy choice.” As well, he recommended council should direct staff to pursue installing a water bottle filling station for the Powell River Recreation Complex. Reid said there are a number of different models available, but they are “very costly.”

Councillor Debbie Dee said she wanted to see a third option, phasing out selling bottled water as water bottle filling stations are installed. “I don’t think we actually need to go to great expense to do it, because now, as we have been told, with our $8.5-million water facility completed, we have some of the best drinking water in Canada, probably the planet,” she said. “I think a tap would suffice for people to fill up their bottles.”

However, Reid said Vancouver Coastal Health has regulations. “You can’t just have an open tap,” he said, adding there has to be a spigot for refilling water bottles. He said that’s why the machines are “very expensive.”

Councillor Chris McNaughton suggested council should ask Reid to find out costs and bring that information to 2013 budget deliberations.

Reid’s report stated the city realized $1,355 in revenue from selling bottled water at the recreation complex in 2011. Councillors discussed whether eliminating bottled water would lead to people purchasing more soft drinks.

At the end of the discussion, councillors passed a motion directing staff to investigate options for a water filling station, including costs, and options to eventually phase out plastic water bottles and to bring a report to the 2013 budget discussions.

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