Nestle wants to ‘partner’ with small Ontario town

Nestle wants to ‘partner’ with small Ontario town

A small Ontario township looking for a drinking water supply isn’t sure what to make of a proposal

TORONTO — A small Ontario township looking for a drinking water supply isn’t sure what to make of a proposal from Nestle to ‘partner’ on a well the community tried to buy but lost to the international bottled-water giant.

Nestle Waters Canada representatives attended the council meeting in Centre Wellington township Monday to say it wants to partner with the small but fast-growing community near Guelph on the well the company purchased.

“We hope that a partnership concept will be identified that both the township and Nestle Waters can agree upon,” said Nestle’s natural resources manager Andreanne Simard. “(A) partnership which sees community needs prioritized while also identifying potential revenue streams that contribute to shared and sustainable prosperity.”

Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton said he’s not really sure exactly what Nestle has in mind at this point.

“They really weren’t asking us for anything except to consider a kind of partnership in the future, and they were fairly vague about what that could mean,” Linton said in an interview. “We’re really just at a starting point after they floated that concept out there. I don’t know what it really means.”

Ontario imposed a moratorium on new or expanded bottled water operations after Nestle purchased the well in Middlebrook last summer that Centre Wellington had also tried to buy. The moratorium has prevented Nestle from testing the quality and quantity of the water available at the well.

The company said any discussions about a partnership would be protective of the community’s needs to safe, reliable drinking water.

Linton said the community is willing to talk with Nestle about its plans while it conducts scientific studies on its future water needs, but insisted it is not engaged in negotiations with the company.

“This was kind of them throwing something out at the council directly to see if there’s an opportunity for us to jointly use the well,” he said. “We’ve been really clear that we don’t want any other water takings to infringe on our ability to look after our own needs.”

Linton said the Ministry of the Environment told the township it needs to “scientifically demonstrate” its future drinking water needs.

“Until we know that, we really can’t enter into any kind of serious negotiations about sharing it,” he said.

“We have two years right now because of the moratorium and are going to be doing a lot of data modelling to understand how much water we’re going to need with our growth rate and where we’re going to get that water.”

Nestle’s offer to partner with the township was probably an attempt to find some way to move forward on developing the Middlebrook site and partly a public relations move, added Linton.

“They’re sitting on this well and can’t really do anything with it,” he said. “They’ve taken quite a hit on this file and I think they wanted a chance to interact directly with council and give us their story.”

Nestle has existing permits to take up to 3.6 million litres a day from its well in Aberfoyle, Ont., where it has a bottling plant, and another 1.1 million litres a day from a well in nearby Erin, Ont., another community in Wellington county.

Ontario charges $3.71 for every million litres of water taken, on top of a permit fee of $750 for low- or medium-risk water takings, or $3,000 for the 30 per cent of permits considered a high risk to cause an adverse environmental impact.

The public has until the end of January to comment on potential new regulations looking at ways to improve Ontario’s renewal process for water-taking permits for bottled water companies — and increasing the fees they pay.

Just Posted

The Red Deer Public Library downtown branch will be reopening after a year on Monday, after work is completed on its HVAC system replacement. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Red Deer Public Library opens with limited in-person services Monday

All three Red Deer Public Library branches will be open for in-person… Continue reading

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Red Deer Emergency Services responded to an explosion at a duplex on Rupert Crescent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters respond to explosion in Red Deer early Saturday morning

There was an explosion at a Red Deer duplex early Saturday morning.… Continue reading

Terry Betts, of Kananaskis, looks at the vehicle he was hoping to sell during the Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet in the Westerner Park parking lot Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Quick Times Red Deer Swap Meet held outdoors

A big automotive swap meet was held outdoors this year in Red… Continue reading

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is set to re-open on July 2. (File Photo)
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum to reopen Monday

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum will reopen for visitors… Continue reading

Huzaifa (left), Saif (middle) and Zoya (right) were among the 60 or so Red Deerians who participated in a vigil for the victims of a recent terrorist attack that killed four people in London Ont. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Red Deer vigil honours victims of London, Ont. terrorist attack

About 60 people gathered at the corner of 49 Ave. and 50… Continue reading

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Multivitamins are shown on the packaging line at the Pfizer plant in Montreal, Thursday, July 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian drug companies want new pricing regs delayed again until after pandemic

OTTAWA — Almost three dozen Canadian pharmaceutical companies made a direct appeal… Continue reading

Most Read