Banning Bottled Water

In March 2019, Petra Hartwig and Gigi Ludorf-Weaver (see photo below) made a presentation to Council expressing concerns about the environmental impact of the sale of bottled water. Their concerns seemed to include the exorbitant profits made from corporations selling Municipal water, the quality of the water being sold and the environmental impact. However, there was little mention of the proliferation of empty plastic water bottles. (See the report below on their presentation in March for more on their concerns).  Staff was asked to report back and they came up with some recommendations which council endorsed.  Basically, it was decided that subject to input from the public, the Town will phase out the sale of bottled water at Municipal facilities and events and instead provide for outdoor bottle filling stations.

Staff recommendations

Petra Hartwig and Gigi Ludorf-Weaver
Petra Hartwig and Gigi Ludorf-Weaver

That staff be authorized to begin the process of reducing reliance on bottled water at Municipal facilities and events by undertaking the following activities:

  1. Engage the public to determine the current level of support for the banning of the sale of bottled water at Municipal Facilities and Events.
  2. Continue to work with Lakefront Utility Services Inc. to raise the awareness of the importance of our municipal drinking water.
  3. Review all contracts with suppliers of vending machines to eliminate the sale of bottled water where it currently exists.
  4. Phase out the sale of bottled water as quickly as possible in all Municipal facilities and events but in no case later than December 31, 2020.
  5. Continue with the direction provided by Council by Resolution 280 — 19 dated July 22, 2019 to work with Lakefront Utility Services Inc. to find locations for two outside water bottle filling stations in the Town of Cobourg per year for the duration of the current term of Council. (This project has been included in the 2020 capital budget for consideration by Council).

Apart from the cost of installing the water bottle filling stations, the CCC currently sells between 3,500 and 4,000 water bottles per year making between $6,500 and $7,000 gross profit so this would be lost.

Council discussion resulted in an expanded resolution that made it clear that vendors at events on Town property (like the Waterfront Festival and Rib Fest) would not be permitted to sell water bottles. There was no discussion on enforcement or what level of public “support” would be required to proceed. There was also no discussion about people bringing bottles purchased elsewhere to Municipal events.

This resolution would be confirmed at the Regular Council meeting on Monday December 2.

Links

Addendum 5 December 2019

Complete list of actions from Motion passed by Council at regular meeting on 2 December 2019

  1. Engage the public to determine the current level of support for the banning of the sale of bottled water at Municipal Facilities and Events.
  2. Continue to work with Lakefront Utility Services Inc. to raise the awareness of the importance of our municipal drinking water.
  3. Review all contracts with suppliers of vending machines to eliminate the sale of bottled water where in currently exists.
  4. Phase out the sale of bottled water as quickly as possible in all Municipal facilities and events but in no case later than December 31, 2020.
  5. Continue with the direction provided by Council by Resolution 280-19 dated July 22, 2019 to work with Lakefront Utility Services Inc. to find locations for two outside water bottle filling stations in the Town of Cobourg per year for the duration of the current term of Council. (This project has been included in the 2020 capital budget for consideration by Council).
  6. To update the Municipal Event Application Guide to not allow Event Managers and Special Event Permit Holders to have, use, or sell Bottled Water at Municipal Facilities and Municipal Parks to be implemented no later than December 31, 2020

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Kay Guernsey

I agree with decreasing the supply of bottled water but since I prefer water to pop I would like to have that option at events if town water is not available.

Gerinator

In reading all of the comments below I find I agree with: >Profit is not an issue. If Munis want to give over a fabulous resource for peanuts thats up to them and yes Corps should take advantage of this. I don’t agree with: >Gov shouldn’t be involved: Anyone remember the imposition of seatbelts and the outraged libertarians. This imposition on our rights has saved many lives. It made sense then and makes sense now. >Patronizing youth: Damned time that young people get involved and stir up the staid-old-comfortable-pot we apparently want to reside in. >Need solutions: Our slobery is hurting us all. Check the gutters and sidewalks – Timmys cups, plastic bottles, etc from lazy sods that cant store their crap for proper disposal. I know that documentaries can be doctored but come on, that floating sea of crud is a global disgrace and that makes us part of the problem. Yes and I think its high time we stop saying ‘its only a few ruining it for the many’. Thats a cop out and I think the hour is well passed that we get called on it. Apparently the Youth are doing just that! So ya lets try… Read more »

George Taylor

water bottles are recyclable? by far the BIGGEST PROLIFERATION of non recyclable products are single use coffee pods?

Pass the Valium

I, for one, am tired of being told by the so-called busy bodies of this world how I may live my life.

In many countries tap water is unsafe to drink and bottled water is a necessity.

We’re being told there’s a climate crisis. We can’t drink from plastic bottles, we can’t drive gas powered automobiles (which for many of us is not an option), we should no longer fly or for that matter vacation, we must reduce our electricity usage, turn down the heat and not use air conditioners. Our country, which once prided itself with the richness of our natural resources and the well paying jobs they provided, is now being patronized by 16 year olds condemning our jobs and way of life.

Sorry but I refuse to bow to this new religion and the erosion of our democracy. To all the doomsayers out there, the solution is simple. Go take a valium, calm down and stop telling everyone how your way of life is perfect and we must conform.

The earth will be just fine if you stop nagging.

Miriam Mutton
Keith Oliver

Thanks Miriam. The web-site you’ve provided is the only source of any relevant and authentic information that could inform the discussion that might have taken place here if it had not been for the usual tribe of individuals that deny the existence of any problem to do with the status quo. They seem not to understand the difference between junk science and real science. Just more “fake news” as far as they’re concerned. Being aware that the following may unduly provoke them into a state of apoplectic rage I give Greta Thunberg my full respect and admiration for what she has accomplished and the discussions she has caused us to have no matter how chaotic. I also want to thank Minnie and Gigi and the groups they are associated with for their çommittment and energy despite the fact I sometimes disagree with them. Keep it up. In my experience the vast majority of the population is intelligent, as concerned about the future as you two are, is looking for leadership, and supports and appreciates what you are doing.

Ken Strauss

Keith, perhaps I have missed it but there have not been any discussions of science, junk or otherwise. The discussions have been almost entirely philosophical, economic and silly arguments regarding: Should anyone be allowed to profit from the sale of water? Should water bottles be banned while the sale of Gatarade in plastic bottles continues? Should adults who are old enough to vote for our Councillors be told by Council that they cannot purchase legal products? Should the town forego thousands of dollars in profits solely to signal virtue? Should Cobourg make mistakes simply because other towns are making the same mistake? Should people litter? Is carrying a water bottle a nuisance? Should Cobourgians be allowed to drink bottled water since doing so somehow reduces availability in France?

Did I miss something?

Wellington Rae Waring

Currently in USA where town fitness centre has carboys of fresh water flavored daily with mint etc . No plastic litter!

Anna

Isn’t it up to an individual to decide how they choose to drink water? I wouldn’t drink municipal water as it smells and tastes highly of chlorine. Is this yet another decision removed from our right of choice?

MCGA

Anna, the answers to your two questions are: yes and quite apparently yes. If the presumption of the Council and those advocating this ban is that they know more than the consuming public and with that superior knowledge can mandate virtuous living they are seriouly misinformed. That is the same type of arrogance that produced the alcohol prohibition of the early 20th century; and how well did that work out? I lived in what was voted the “Greenest Town in Canada.” They accomplished that by actively providing and promoting a superb recycling program. They recycled almost everything the community bought or produced. A far more effective and personal rights focused approach than writing another by-law.

Keith Oliver

MCGA … Please identify the Town, any sources of information on their recycling system and how the public bought in to it. Closed systems are what we should be striving for in this highly technical world we’ve created along with its’ economic success based on unlimited growth.

MCGA

Keith, reference the Town of Caledon as a subset of the Region of Peel. Over 25 years of evolving efforts that garnered the awards. Caledon was also the first town in Ontario to discontinue the use of weed herbicides on both public and private properties. Made sense to the locals as their water source was underground wells.

Elaine

Never heard of Brita? Cheaper than bottled water.

MCGA

Exactly how many rules and prohibitions can we possibly write? If the mission is to reduce plastic waste than first encourage and make available full recycling. Not just prohibiting plastic water bottles. If the issue is water consumption, allow the individual consumer to manage that. They have the capacity to decide what they will drink, how it will be packaged and what they will pay for it. Plastic bottles, filled with water, did not always exist. They exist today because people elect to consume from them and to pay for the convience and/or perceived benefit. Let us assume that the consumer is smart enough to understand what is in their personal interest rather than tell them.

Ken Strauss

Exactly, MCGA! If the issue is the availability of affordable water in town facilities why don’t we bring back fountains? Until recently most public places — parks, schools, theatres and stores — had convenient drinking fountains. Why not provide traditional and inexpensive drinking fountains rather than “filling stations” that require one to carry a water bottle? Why impose meaningless and inconvenient virtue signaling gestures on everyone? Must everyone be concerned with water in France as demanded by Ms. Ludorf-Weaver?

Doug Weldon

There are 2 fountains in Vic Hall and I believe one in Vic Park! more would be great.

Linda

I had two different bottles of water in my car in the winter.
One bottle froze and the other didn’t!! What’s with that?

Peter Ridout

Take a look at the label on any bottled water. There is no indication that the water has been tested by an indepentent body for safety to drink. Our municipal water is tested several times each day. Simply put bottled water is a huge rip off.

Ken Strauss

Take a look at the label on any bottled water. There is no indication that the water has been tested by an indepentent body for safety to drink. Simply put bottled water is a huge rip off.

There is no indication on the label that ANY beverage — water, Gatorade, milk, beer, wine, vodka, Coke — has been tested by an independent body for safety to drink. Why pick on water? Why not ban them all?

George Taylor

tested several times each day, Pardon me!

Lyle

Think their presentation is working, seen a lineup of people carrying pails at NoFrills getting their milk

Elaine

Here’s a thought. TURN ON YOUR TAP! We pay for water in Cobourg so drink it. There is no guarantee that bottled water is any cleaner or safer. Buy refillable bottle , preferably not plastic, and carry it with you. Man, some solutions are just so easy 🙄

Not convinced

Have at least some of you, turned on your tap at home and smelled
bleach. If they test the water several times a day, it must be to change the condition of the water?

Drinking out of a metal container spoils the taste of cold, clean water..
I have yet to find a plastic reusable bottle that I would use on a daily basis. Gail G

Doug Weldon

Fill a container and put it in your fridge – Brita – let it stand for a while. Then no clorine and also nice and cold!

Ken

I’m sure that Cobourg does not use chlorine in it’s water?

John Draper

I understand that Cobourg now uses Ozone to sterilize the waste water but still uses Chlorine for water supply. See this document dated 2018: https://www.lakefrontutilities.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/Operational-Plan-Cobourg.pdf

Elaine

Stainless steel. There you go.

cornbread

A total waste of time…your council & staff working for you. Hey “Folks” get serious on the real issues of life in Cobourg.

JimT

In their presentation in March 2019 these women state that “The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, accessible water for personal and household use..” and then try to tell us that it must not be made available in convenient plastic bottles, apparently because someone, somewhere, is actually making a profit out of providing “safe, accessible water” to us. Well, why shouldn’t these suppliers make a profit? That’s their incentive to do so.

When I go for groceries on my mountain bike, I often find the need for a bottle of cold water, and it’s right there in the refrigerated case at the pharmacy, at a cost of only 49¢. Are these women trying to tell me I can no longer have this “safe, accessible” water just because someone might be making a bit of profit off it?

Their whole presentation comes across as so much petty nonsense to me.

Elaine

You can use a refillable water bottle. I have one on my bike. It works!

Gigi Ludorf-Weaver

We were representing our concerns about the crisis in plastic waste and that it is an unnecessary burden for our planet with regards to water as our water is available from our taps and reusable bottles are available everywhere and create no waste. The second reason for the delegation was to stop having water extracted by companies unconcerned about what the extraction from springs does to the ecological balance that creates those springs. The Wellington Water Watchers have a great deal of information on that subject. Many believe that Water is a right to all citizens but companies like Nestle have stated that they don’t agree. It has created a global problem in parts of the world like India and France.
I hope this has provided some insight into why Petra and I are committed to this issue.

Ken Strauss

And how, exactly, does bottled water in Cobourg affect the availability of water in France? In my experience bottled water is readily available in France but their beer and wine is often cheaper than bottled water. Perhaps advocating for cheaper wine here rather than making water purchases less convenient would make everyone happy.

Pass the Valium

It provided an explanation but not a convincing argument.

Doug Weldon

Remember when we were kids and there were no water bottles? I remember that many times I almost died from thirst. I would fall down from dehydration on my way to school. NOT! ha
No water bottles, how will we live?

Paul Pagnuelo

Back then I remember there were drinking fountains (not overly sanitary) in our parks and many stores. As a kid I also used an army surplus canteen to keep me hydrated during the hot summer months of the 50s.

Ken

and do not forget the water fountains at school!

Ken Strauss

Why not ban all bottled beverages? Why only water?

JimT

It’s a thinly-disguised vendetta against “Corporations [who] take free-flowing water from its natural state…and sell it at exorbitant rates…The word “profit” occurs twice in their presentation.
It’s obvious that they are driven by the thought of someone earning a profit by providing clean water to willing buyers where it would otherwise not be available.

perplexed

IN PLASTIC wright ?