Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Minister Says Opposition to Nestle Water Taking Based on 'Misinformation'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Minister Says Opposition to Nestle Water Taking Based on 'Misinformation'

Article excerpt

Nestle opposition based on misinformation:Minister

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TORONTO - A senior Ontario cabinet minister is coming to Nestle's defence, suggesting public opposition to the renewal of the multinational company's water-taking permit in a small community is based on "misinformation."

There has been vocal opposition and protests against renewing Nestle's permit in Aberfoyle, Ont., after the area 110 kilometres northwest of Toronto suffered a drought this summer that forced residents to restrict their water use.

Treasury Board President Liz Sandals, who represents nearby Guelph, said Wednesday she finds it frustrating that many residents who have been criticizing Nestle are often armed with the wrong facts.

"There's no doubt that there is a lot of concern, but my point to you is that many of the things that people will express a concern about actually turn out to be based on misinformation," she said.

Sandals said many residents didn't know that Nestle agreed to reduce water takings from Aberfoyle because of the drought, and insisted it was routine to see so many people voicing opposition to the bottled water company's permit renewal.

"It is actually always true that whenever there is a permit to take water (by Nestle) there are thousands of comments that go to the Ministry of the Environment," she said. "I think what is different this time is that it has caught more provincial media attention."

Progressive Conservative Ted Arnott, who represents Wellington-Halton Hills -- which includes Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh, where Nestle has another well -- said he thinks residents who oppose the company's permit renewal know their facts.

"My constituents are smart people who do their homework and research, and I'm not going to criticize them for expressing concerns," he said.

Arnott said local residents are expressing "anxiety and concern about whether there's enough groundwater" for the fast-growing region. …

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