Erin town council accepts voluntary levy from Nestlé Waters Canada
Hayden Phillips, CTV Kitchener
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:04PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 19, 2017 1:21PM EDT
A council meeting in Erin Tuesday night was standing room only after residents packed the chambers to voice their opinions on whether or not the town should accept a levy from Nestlé Waters Canada.
"Water is essential for life. It is a sacred trust. It’s something we elected council to protect and honour, and they are behaving in the way of a corporation who only looks at the fiscal bottom line." Said Heidi Matthews, a concerned resident.
Nestlé was given approval from the Province of Ontario to draw water from the Hillsburg well which is located in Erin, and say they have been operating in the area for the past 17 years. The well is supplied by the Guelph aquifer.
A voluntary levy estimated at $41,000 from Nestlé was presented to the town for councilors to vote on, the offer was accepted by council in a four to one vote.
"We clearly want to work with the community. We're extremely happy of the outcome and we'll keep doing these things." Said Andreanne Smart the Natural Resource Manager, at Nestle Waters Canada.
The $41,000 dollar estimate comes from consumption levels in 2016. The money would go to community projects.
Future amounts payed would also be based on consumption levels with a guaranteed minimum of $25,000 intended to be used towards community projects.
In the past Erin has accepted voluntary funds. $160,000 of contributions was accepted between 2001 and 2009, as well as $30,000 for specific projects in 2010 and 2012.
The provincial government remains as the only legislative body with authority to prevent Nestlé from continuing operations in Erin.