A Comox Valley resident has asked Qualicum Beach town council to support a resolution from the Strathcona Regional District asking the provincial government to cease approval of licences for bottling groundwater for commercial sale or bulk export. The resolution will be presented at an upcoming Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) meeting in April and at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) meeting in September.
At a March 18 Qualicum Beach council meeting, Bruce Gibbons made a presentation on the importance of protecting groundwater on Vancouver Island and all across British Columbia.
“Today, if you’re seeing the news that I’m seeing many communities are reporting disturbingly low water levels especially for this time of year,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons fight to protect the Island’s groundwater began when a resident of his community was approved a licence by the provincial government to bottle and sell water from the Comox Valley aquifer.
“We successfully campaigned for the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) to deny the rezoning that was necessary for him to utilize his licence and bottle water on that property. However, his water licence is still valid, so I’ve been campaigning to prevent him from trucking the water to another site that would allow bottling of groundwater,” Gibbons said. “I have approached all the member communities of the AVICC asking them to revise their bylaws to prevent bottling of groundwater by any water licence holder.”
“We have approximately 1,200 signatures to date on a petition to the provincial government asking them to stop approving licences to bottle and sell groundwater and that petition will be presented in the legislature on March 27 by our MLA,” Gibbons said. “If B.C.’s aquifers are depleted than the thousands of residents and farmers who rely on them will not be able to look after their personal needs for drinking water, sanitation, growing their backyard gardens, or growing their crops and raising their livestocks. That would put our food security at risk.”
Qualicum Beach mayor Brian Wiese told Gibbons that Qualicum Beach doesn’t allow bottling of groundwater and that he’d definitely be voting in favour of the resolution at the ACICC meeting in April.