City hall may be bottle-free zone

A limited ban on bottled water could bubble to the surface in Vernon.

The environmental advisory committee revisited the issue of bottled water last week, and it’s proposing restrictions in city-owned buildings like city hall and the public works yard.

“Any meetings with  staff or the public in these facilities wouldn’t use bottled water,” said Coun. Buffy Baumbrough, who is committee chairperson.

“It sends the message that tap water is safe and that we’re reducing the amount of energy needed to produce bottles.”

The concept of a ban must still be considered by council, and there is the possibility that the city may ask the North Okanagan Regional District to pursue such action for public recreational facilities.

On Monday, council was urged by Kalamalka Secondary School’s social/political awareness movement group to restrict use of bottled water.

“Water is becoming a commodity and it is only available to people who can afford it,” said student Justine Correia.

Correia added that residents and farmers in some Third World nations are losing access to water because large corporations are directing the resource towards bottling for western consumers.

It was also pointed out that energy is required to make the bottles and transport them to market.

“A majority of plastic bottles are not being recycled,” said student Lauren Dixon.

“We need to be able to provide people with  free sources of water and that can come in the form of fountains.”

During their presentation, the students indicated that bottle water bans have occurred across Canada in cities, schools and universities.

“We need to take back the tap,” said Correia.

“Water is a basic human right and it needs to be valued.”

Earlier this  year, a delegation from Nestle Waters Canada opposed the concept of a bottled water ban in city facilities.