Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Activists Urge the Ontario Government to Refuse Nestle a Water-Taking Permit

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Activists Urge the Ontario Government to Refuse Nestle a Water-Taking Permit

Article excerpt

Environmentalists oppose water taking permit

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TORONTO - Environmentalists are urging the Ontario government against renewing one of Nestle's water-taking permits in a southwestern Ontario town, saying "water should be for life, not for profit."

Wellington Water Watchers says the permit for Nestle Waters in Aberfoyle, Ont., expired on July 31, but the company has been allowed to keep extracting water from a local well even in the midst of a severe drought.

The group says the Ministry of Environment did not post Nestle's renewal application for the usual 30 days of public comment, and instead granted the company an automatic extension without consulting people who live in the area.

But the ministry says a water-taking permit remains in force if a renewal application is made at least 90 days before it expires, and it plans to post Nestle's application for comment once the supporting documents have been reviewed.

Nestle Waters Canada says it's committed to "a continued engagement with the community" while it waits for the decision on its renewal application in Aberfoyle, where it operates a water-bottling plant.

"The continuation of this permit allows for thorough public consultation on the Ontario Environmental Registry, and provides (the ministry) time to conduct, review and report on the public commentary before a decision on the permit renewal application is made," the company said in a statement.

Documents on a ministry website show Nestle Canada has three permits to take up to 8.3 million litres of water every day for bottling, while Nestle Waters Canada -- a division of Nestle Canada -- has a half dozen Ontario permits allowing it to take an additional 12 million litres a day.

Other bottled water companies with large water-taking permits in Ontario include Gold Mountain Springs at 6.1 million litres a day, Gott Enterprises at 5. …

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