After reading the desire of Ward 2 Councilor James Gordon to “kick the asses” of a provincially regulated, private employer of more than 300 people, out of our region this week, I felt the need to state unequivocally that Councilor Gordon does not speak for me on this issue.
It’s one thing to relay our community’s concerns regarding the conservation of water and the current Permit to Take Water process, but it’s another thing entirely to create (as some have described) “hyper-rhetoric and division” around the issue. Division that (as Gordon suggests) could lead to hundreds of Guelph residents, neighbors and friends, losing their jobs. My thoughts on this file are as follows.
On Monday September 26th a motion related to the sustainability of regional drinking water resources (I.e. The Nestle motion) was brought before City Council for a referral vote. See my thoughts attached on the original motion (as stated), and my caution against the divisive narratives some seem to be employing, in order to drive political division in our City.
As stated many times, my desire is to build a consensus Guelph position on this issue. It’s an issue that Guelph has been unified on for many years and an issue that we should continue seeking staff, council and community alignment on. For these reasons, on Monday night I brought forward the following amended motion and was pleased to eventually have it endorsed by all of council.
Moved by Councillor Gibson
Seconded by Councillor van Hellemond
1. That Council, with administrative assistance from Intergovernmental Relations, Policy and Open Government staff, submit comments through the Ontario Environmental Registry Process expressing Guelph’s concern about the future sustainability of water-taking from the watershed shared by the City of Guelph.
2. That this motion be referred to the November 7, 2016 Committee of the Whole meeting.
VOTING IN FAVOUR: Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Allt, Bell, Billings, Downer, Gibson, Gordon, Hofland, MacKinnon, Piper, Salisbury, Van Hellemond and Wettstein (13)
VOTING AGAINST: (0)
Moving forward we will now have this file brought to the Committee of the Whole meeting on November 7th where the public will have their opportunity to delegate.
In closing however, I think it’s very important for us to continually be mindful of the Council endorsed, staff recomendation to the Provincial government back in 2007 (below). I believe it was (and still is) a great recomendation and one that should continue forming the basis of our City’s position moving forward.
“Waterworks recognizes that the Permit to Take Water process is intended to allow for the beneficial use of waters while ensuring the fair sharing, conservation and sustainable use of water of Ontario. However, Waterworks would prefer that no new water takings be permitted in the City and surrounding area, other than for municipal, domestic and agricultural use. It is important that the MOE recognizes that there are limits to the local drinking water supply and controls must be placed on local water use to accommodate future municipal growth.”