8 September 2016

For immediate release

Bevan-Baker calls for halt to water export project

Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker is calling for a halt to a proposed water bottling project in his district until Islanders can have a full and informed debate on the implications of water exports on PEI.

The business, calling itself “Pure Island Waters”, is proposing to bottle Island water from the Brookvale area and to sell it as a high end product to markets in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Officials from the Department of Communities, Land and Environment have determined that the current proposal would have little impact on the environment, though other experts and members of the community have expressed grave concerns.

Pure Island Waters proposes to drill three separate wells on a single property, which individually are not classified as high capacity wells and do not require any permits. However, their total capacity would be well above that threshold. “We need to close these kinds of loopholes,” said Bevan-Baker. “Any company that wants to export water from PEI should be required to get a permit so that they can be properly monitored.” Bevan-Baker also notes that monitoring of extraction permits is currently voluntary, which is problematic.

“The possibility that this business model could be replicated in other locations across the province really concerns me,” continued Bevan-Baker. “Water is a common good and an invaluable resource. When a group of investors is allowed to extract that common resource purely for their own profit, and we have no way to control the overall size of the industry, I think it shows how unprotected Island water currently is.” Bevan-Baker notes that because this is a novel use of Island water, it was never even discussed during the recent Water Act consultations.

This development also raises concerns about uncontrolled development in unincorporated areas. “Given that most communities on PEI have almost no ability to control development, it should be incumbent on the Province to provide ways to empower local residents to have control over the future of their communities.” Bevan-Baker notes that in this case not even the local watershed group was consulted.

Bevan-Baker concludes: “We have to ask ourselves how this project meets the priorities of the local community and the province as a whole.”

This morning the Standing Committee on Community, Land and Environment agreed, at Bevan-Baker’s request, to hold hearings on whether or not we should export bottled water from Prince Edward Island.

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Media contact:

Peter Bevan-Baker
902-368-4339 (office), 902-388-8171 (cell)
psbevanbaker@assembly.pe.ca

 

Background:

A summary of the Pure Island Waters business plan was submitted to the Department of Communities, Land and Environment for environmental review, where it was screened out. More information can be found on here.

A community meeting was held on Monday, September 5th, in Brookvale to discuss the project. The meeting was organized by residents in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site who received letters advising them that a change of use application had been filed by the proponent. The proponent, and about 50 people from Brookvale and the wider community attended, with MLA Peter Bevan-Baker serving as moderator. An overwhelming majority of those in attendance were opposed to the development, as was determined by a written secret ballot.

 

Relevant Legislation and Regulations:

In the Environmental Protection Act, bulk water removal is specifically exempted from the definition of “undertaking”, and thus exempt from the usual Environmental Impact Assessment process under section 9. It is covered instead under section 12.1, which states that water exports are only allowed if done in containers under 25L.

Section 7 of the Water Well Regulations outlines the requirements for Groundwater Extraction Permits. The Pure Island Waters proposal does not meet the minimum extraction rate of 4 L/s, and thus does not require a permit.

Section 29 of the Subdivision and Development Regulations (under the Planning Act), requires the developer to submit a Change of Use application and also allows for the Minister to consider feedback from nearby residents. According to the Department, two residents within 100m of the proposed development were contacted. Section 11 of these regulations allow the Minister to hold a public meeting on any development.

 

27 Comments

  1. Walter Wilkins 8 September 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Twelve words that should terrify every conscious Islander: “This is not a moral or ethical decision. It’s a business decision.” – Pure Island Waters Ltd. proponent Scott Dawson.

     
    • Marie Nantes 19 September 2016 at 5:15 pm

      That’s the attitude that shocked me, Walter.

       
  2. Bill Kays 8 September 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Pure Island waters can go straight to you know where. If they want to sell bottled water, move.

     
  3. david weale 8 September 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Excellent…and I think we need to be concerned about who the unknown partners might be…someone who would be able to penetrate the global market for bottled water is playing on a field with very big corporate players…the last thing we need is for one of them to get their hooks into this place.

     
  4. Mike Martin 8 September 2016 at 6:47 pm

    How can we support such business to take place. Bottling and exporting our “high end” water to other countries is disgraceful. Water is water, as long as it is free from pollutants. How can we morally support businesses that charge 2 and 3 times as much for water as milk. I would think it costs thousands of times more to raise cattle and produce milk than to filter a liter of water.
    Instead of allowing business to exploit Island resources lets focus on improving our infrastructure to support farmers…you know ….the people who feed us.

     
  5. Di Hill 8 September 2016 at 7:45 pm

    The water on PEI is very high quality and I suppose it’s amazing that this kind of application hasn’t happened before now. Like the high capacity wells for potato irrigation, it will involve drawing large volumes of water but unlike them it will operate all year round with the potential to lower the water table at the end of Winter (before it can be replenished with Spring melt water & rain). The aquifer on the Island is not well understood – nobody really knows what the result will be from either type of high volume extraction.
    There is also a rumour that the idea of bottled water from PEI has already been floated in China – and that the proponents are fully expecting that this application will be approved …….

     
  6. Evelyn MacKay 8 September 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Pray God you can stop this project! In our area there is HUGE concern that Nestles is doing the same. This whole country, towns and cities alike, have excellent and drinkable water. How indulgent that we allow plastic bottles to fill landfill sites ….. we need only turn on our taps and if we need to drink when we are not near a water source, just purchase a metal bottle, fill it and use it, over and over.

     
  7. Mary Hughes 8 September 2016 at 9:51 pm

    All Islander must show that they are against this, not just those i9n the area !

     
  8. Heidi Litke 8 September 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I am livid! This is completely irresponsible. We continue to allow the abuse of our natural resources for profit. Drain our aquifer and then sell it back to us. Please stop buying bottled water! It is the only hope. Thank you Peter Bevan Baker. We need more people elected to protect the people.

     
  9. Marcella Bradley Byrne 9 September 2016 at 1:20 am

    The general public is not aware of such things and I for one am relieved that an MLA is concerned and taking this issue to the forefront

     
  10. Clara Jean Howard 9 September 2016 at 6:10 am

    Thank you Peter Bevan Baker, and for the relevant legislation and regulations.

     
  11. Carol Thompson 9 September 2016 at 7:15 am

    PEI already sells cheap water to cruise ships. I understand this reasoning to a degree because if we did not sell the water the cruise ships would not come to PEI and would decimate the tourism industry. Bottling water for sale does nothing for the economy or the benefit of the PEI population.

     
  12. JoshWeale 9 September 2016 at 9:21 am

    Once again PEI is toying with the idea of introducing a business model (that is ecologically irresponsible and not in the public interest) that other jurisdictions are in the process of dismantling. This seems so absurd, that I assumed it was just the first act of a piece of political theatre designed to promote agricultural use of deep-water drilling as a reasonable exception to new, tougher private water extraction regulations. I honestly can’t make sense of it otherwise.

    Also wondering how the annual fish kills will impact our high-end water image?

     
  13. Chris Spenceley 9 September 2016 at 9:32 am

    No to bottling water PERIOD! We can already see in various areas of the island that our water supply runs short at times throughout the year. To introduce a system of removing water all year long is dispicable. One well as the main source and a second as a back-up?? I think the second would go into full production as well – not just sit waiting incase the first went down, or dry for that matter.
    Our island does not have large lakes or aquifers supplying our water – mostly our water comes from the skies where it is then filtered by our soils – OUR island doesn’t have the capacity for such a venture. Leave OUR water here for Islanders

     
  14. Pingback: Are we signing up to throw our Island away, one plastic bottle at a time? – Peter Bevan-Baker

  15. Beth Buchanan 9 September 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Put on hold. Who will benefit the most. Don’t like fighting over water.

     
  16. Paul Smitz 9 September 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Scott Dawson, known for years as a community minded activist blows his reputation and passed good deeds for greed. I am very disappointed in you Scott.This is a project that has to be stopped at ALL costs. This Island has to be protected from people and corporations who don’t reside here and will not feel or experience the impact of their actions. Common sense must rule. An elected government by the people must do as the people it serves directs it PERIOD. Thank you Peter for setting an example that ALL M.L.A.’s will surly follow.

     
  17. Marita Dunning 9 September 2016 at 4:58 pm

    This must not be allowed to happen. Thank you Mr. Bevan-Baker for your leadership. I will write to my MLA. We must not let this happen.

     
  18. Becky mccue 9 September 2016 at 5:30 pm

    We defentialy need to stop the money hungry people from taking our precious water ,,,,,every person on this island need to stand together

     
  19. Jeff Cameron 9 September 2016 at 6:48 pm

    This is a story that would slip by many peoples radar, and I applaud you for pointing out the ridiculousness of this. This is mining–of a resource that is readily available locally (in most places), and unbelievably heavy to ship. In plastic. To Japan.

     
  20. Andrew Lush 9 September 2016 at 7:09 pm

    I wonder if they plan to put Nitrates, Atrazine, and Chlorothalonil on the ingredients list on the water bottles…

     
  21. John Hopkins 10 September 2016 at 9:59 am

    It is a disaster in Ontario now with government trying to stop Nestle from draining water supplies dry in the dry weather they have. Regret pervades that the company was ever issued a permit in the first place.

     
  22. John Hopkins 10 September 2016 at 10:12 am

    Sorry this was about the Ont gov granting this permit to Nestle. It is worse here because of
    the limited and fragile water table that can impact all water supplies to homes for many miles around the well because it is drawing on the same aquifer source. A very bad idea for PEI in particular.

     
  23. Doreen Phillips 10 September 2016 at 6:15 pm

    As far as I’m concerned we should not be able to sell any water from Canada at all,and it should be banned from all work places. I wonder how many bottles end up in the land fill.As climate change continues people in the future on Our Island may wish they had some of the water some Company is so eager to sell now.

     
  24. Craig Phillips 11 September 2016 at 1:32 am

    Very very very bad idea for a small island dependant on ground water to be allowing a corporation to sell this PUBLIC RESOURCE for their own gain to an off-island market.
    Any politician from any party who supports this or allows it to happen will never get a single vote from anyone I know who is discussing this topic!!!
    Bad for PEI and political suicide for anyone foolish enough to not oppose this!!!

     
  25. David Macdonald 16 September 2016 at 1:43 pm

    NO GOOD CAN COME FROM THIS
    by now everyone must know that plastic bottled have a huge negative environmental impact, although I do see a necessity for bottled water during times of disaster relief. I dont see this doing any good for P.E.I. if we allow them to get away with this next thing you know all islanders with have a water tax and then they will make it illegal to collect rain water for your gardens and yard this much is true for several states in the USA and in serveral UK countries. .. on a positive note this may create some jobs for P.E.I its to bad our grandchildren wont have any free fresh water to drink…. so I dont have to keep droning on just google what other people think about companies coming into there province / state and draining there wells lakes rivers and streams

     

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