RDN votes to look into a bottled water ban

Blue community request would see bottled water nixed at RDN facilities and events

Water, water might be everywhere, but there soon might not be a drop to drink at Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) facilities and events — at least, if it’s the bottled variety.

That’s the hope of a delegation from Vancouver Island Waterwatch and the Council of Canadians, who urged the RDN to ban bottled water from their facilities and events.

Paul Manley, from the mid-Island chapter of the Council of Canadians, urged directors to throw their weight behind a three-part proposal that would see the regional district commit to retaining publicly-owned water and sewage utilities, ban bottled water and recognize access to clean water as a human right.

The move, he said, would make the regional district a so-called blue community, joining others such as Burnaby, Victoria and North Vancouver.

“Water is  central to human life and must be governed by the principles of equal use,” he said.

“Government must play a role to ensure water is used responsibly and is allocated fairly.”

In response to a question from directors, he stressed he isn’t asking for a blanket ban on bottled water in the district — something he conceded the RDN would not have the mandate to do — but only in RDN facilities and at RDN-sponsored events.

And even though water is essential to human life, he said the federal government has refused to define access to clean water as a human right.

In response, deputy RDN chair Diane Brennan Brenton asked staff about the implications to previously-negotiated contracts with vending machine suppliers.

She was informed that the RDN is about to enter into new vending contracts at both Oceanside Place and the Ravensong Aquatic Centre.

Directors voted unanimously to pass the recommendation to staff for a full report on the implications of such a move.


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