Nestle discusses Middlebrook well purchase

Nestlé Waters Canada officials opened up about  the purchase of the Middlebrook Well outside of Elora during an Erin council meeting on April 18.

Andreanne Simard and Jennifer Kerr of Nestlé Waters Canada presented an annual report as part of a discussion about an annual contribution from Nestlé to Erin, which received strong opposition from many at the meeting.

Council voted 4-1 in favour of the annual voluntary levy of $0.50 per 1,000 litres, with a minimum payment of $25,000 per year.

Middlebrook well

Nestlé’s purchase of the Middlebrook well near Elora was broached by councillor Matt Sammut, who said he was skeptical about Nestlé’s bid against Centre Wellington, which he said “gives an appearance that the community is not as important as a well for your profit.”

In August 2016, Nestlé activated a first right of refusal clause to purchase the Elora property after another offer was put in. It was later announced Centre Wellington had tried to purchase the property.

“We had an offer on the property since 2015, so when we found out that there was a secondary offer on the property, I can’t stress enough how much research we did to try and understand who the other offer came from,” said Kerr.

“We were not able to discover who it was … after we had exercised our first right of refusal on the property, once we found out who the second bidder was, we approached the municipality. We offered to donate the property to the municipality and give them a revenue source by purchasing water from them.”

Council lobbies province

Earlier in the meeting council passed a resolution brought forward by Sammut to voice its “deep concern” for ground water and plastic waste.

The resolution stated the council “has significant concerns on groundwater management and related policies,” also expressing concerns about the “life-cycle management of materials (plastic bottles/cans).”

Council directed staff to send a letter to the premier and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change outlining the concerns.