Recap of #Guelph Council Meeting On Nestle Water Taking & Next Steps…
A few weeks ago Councillor Gordon brought forward to council what’s called a “notice of motion” regarding Nestle Waters, asking council to consider the following:
The only change made before last night by Councillor Gordon from what was above was the removal of the September 30th, 2016 deadline.
After discussing the motion with Councillor Gordon, city staff, fellow councillors and others I came to the conclusion that I just could not support it as it was currently written. I had suggested that the current motion could be withdrawn so that council could instead discuss it (along with any other issue surrounding this item) when the staff report on this very matter was earmarked to come to council in November. I wrote about that HERE.
So what happened last night at council?
After some back & forth, Councillor Gordon’s motion got amended by Councilor Gibson. His amendment removed reference to Nestle and with help from Councilor Wettstein softened the involvement of our city staff at this stage.
When that amendment came to a vote, only Councillors Allt & Piper voted against it with all others (including myself) voting in favour.
The resulting main motion as amended was:
Moved by Councillor Gibson, Seconded by Councillor Van Hellemond
1. That Council, with administrative assistance from Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government staff, submit comments through the Ontario Environmental Registry Process expressing Guelph’s concern about the future sustainability of water-taking from the watershed shared by the City of Guelph.
2. That this motion be referred to the November 7, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting.
VOTING IN FAVOUR: Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Allt, Bell, Billings, Downer, Gibson, Gordon, Hofland, MacKinnon, Piper, Salisbury, Van Hellemond and Wettstein (13)
VOTING AGAINST: (0) CARRIED
So the end result was basically what I had hoped for from the outset. That council have this issue come to the November meeting when a staff report on this matter was planned for, and with hopes that the Nestle Waters application for water taking is made public by the Provincial EBR (environmental registry) where comments are officially accepted. We could then form our best response that included public feedback (delegations), city staff input and council discussion. I still believe these three elements are important on this matter. Especially when it’s about our natural resources, in or surrounding our city.
If however the Province hasn’t made the water taking application public, we’ll move ahead with hearing delegations at that time as our procedural bylaw allows for that – (unlike last night where they are not allowed on notices of motion.)
This is a good outcome from my perspective.
I’d like to thank all members of council for working together on this and getting behind a referral motion we all endorsed.
I have heard from many citizens today so very pleased of how it came together.
Lastly, I’d also like to thank the public who came out and made their support towards this issue known to council and the community at large.