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Centre Wellington seeks four-year extension of moratorium on water bottling permits

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - Centre Wellington is seeking a four-year extension of the provincial moratorium on new or expanded permits for commercial water bottlers.

The municipality’s committee of the whole made the recommendation on June 18 following discussion of a report from managing director of infrastructure services Colin Baker.

“Nothing is more important than access to water,” stated Mayor Kelly Linton.

The motion before council noted Centre Wellington is projected to grow to a serviced population of 45,000 by 2041, so the township supports a science-based approach to managing water resources and is working with the Grand River Conservation Authority and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on a Scoped Tier 3 Water Budget under the Clean Water Act.

However, Baker explained the Tier 3 study is not anticipated to be complete by Jan. 1, 2019 - the date on which the current two-year provincial moratorium on permits to take water expires.

The township has also initiated a water supply master plan to meet planned population and employment growth. That plan is also not expected to be complete by Jan. 1, Baker said.

He noted the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is undergoing a Water Management Policy and Science Framework review, which is considering the prioritization of municipal water supply over other uses. It also may not be completed by January.

As a result, Baker recommended the township ask for a four-year extension of the moratorium, to Jan. 1, 2023.

Should it not be extended province-wide, Baker suggested the township ask for an extension within Centre Wellington to allow for the completion of the municipality’s water studies and subsequent amendments to the Grand River Source Protection Plan, as well as  the provincial policy review.

Baker also recommended the township work with Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott to arrange a meeting with the new Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

In addition, the plan is to circulate the idea to other regions where commercial water bottling exists.

“We wanted to build support through other allies,” said Baker.

Linton considered the recommendation an extension of the township’s work “to look after our long term water quality and quantity.”

Councillor Don Fisher asked about the significance of the year 2023.

Baker explained an update to the local source water protection plan is likely also required, which is a lengthy process. With local studies not ready until next year, amendments to the source water protection plan would not happen until 2021 to 2022, and Baker estimated provincial approval could take six months to a year.

In a recorded vote, council unanimously approved requesting the four-year extension. Councillors Stephen Kitras and Fred Morris were absent.

June 22, 2018

 
 

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