Prince Albert came close to declaring itself a 'blue' community, but couldn't agree on one major sticking point.
Nancy Carswell, with the P.A. chapter of the Council of Canadians, challenged city council Monday night to take three actions to protect water: recognize water as a human right, promote publically owned and financed water, and ban the sale of bottled water at city run events.
Carswell praised the city for being positive stewards of water, including its response during last year’s Husky Oil spill. She acknowledged the ban could be seen as an obstacle, but believed it instead an opportunity.
“Banning bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events is a big opportunity to educate,” she said. “If you invest in water fountains and refillable stations, you are teaching all citizens that water is a human right and not a commodity.”
Carswell argued the city could sell refillable water bottles to help offset the cost of installing water fountains. She pointed to Peterborough, Ont. who was able to raise money for these through sponsorship.
Although council supported two of the actions, there was hesitation surrounding banning water bottles. Mayor Greg Dionne stopped short at a ban.
“What if we didn’t have bottled water,” he said. “You would be here saying 'stop using water to make bottled pop, which has sugar and is killing our kids with diabetes?' I don’t know why you are just focused on bottled water.”
Carswell said, by comparison, pop is value added while bottle water is as good as from the tap. She argued bottling water, which is often from municipal taps, is made into a commodity and that shouldn't be the case.
Council later supported a motion put forward by Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp to officially recognize water as a human right and support publically owned water and waste-water services, but omitted the ban on water bottles.
Instead, Lennox-Zepp tried to put forward a motion to ban soda pop at city run events but the idea was tabled for another day.
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