Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott is continuing to highlight the importance of protecting our groundwater.
On June 1, Mr. Arnott rose in Question Period to challenge the Minister to ensure the long-term sustainability of Ontario’s water supply.
“New regulations governing water-taking permits for water bottling companies were recently posted on the Environmental Registry,” Mr. Arnott observed. “For years I have maintained that any decisions regarding large-scale water-taking permit applications should be science-based, to ensure that our groundwater is preserved and protected for future generations. I also believe that communities should be consulted, that their long-term growth plans should be taken into consideration and that hydrogeological studies should be peer reviewed.”
Mr. Arnott has closely monitored the situation surrounding Nestlé Waters’ applications for water taking permits in the Township of Puslinch, the Township of Centre Wellington, and the Town of Erin over the past few years. He has actively raised the issue in the Legislature numerous times and in September 2016, tabled a resolution calling on the Minister of the Environment to ensure the long-term protection of groundwater resources.
“Can the Minister assure this House that his new regulations will ensure the long-term sustainability of our groundwater resources?” he asked.
In his response, Environment Minister Glen Murray complimented Mr. Arnott for his persistent efforts to bring attention to the issue.
“I want to thank the member for a very thoughtful question. From our ongoing conversations, I know he has a very sincere concern about this,” the Minister told the House.
In his follow up question, Mr. Arnott focused on the need for greater efforts to promote the recycling of used plastic water bottles.
“Each year, an untold number of plastic water bottles are thrown away, ending up in landfills or littering our countryside. I’ve said for years that the government needs to provide the necessary leadership and policies to encourage the recycling of more plastic water bottles,” Mr. Arnott said.
He pointed out that Ontario is one of the few Canadian provinces that do not have a deposit program in place to encourage the recycling of plastic water bottles and asked the Minister to commit to doing more to promote recycling.
“Most Canadian provinces have a deposit or refund program that covers plastic water bottles to encourage recycling,” Mr. Arnott noted. “I’ve been told that Manitoba will be launching a deposit system soon. The government recently raised the fees charged to water bottling companies by $500 for every million litres of water drawn. I maintain that some of that money should be shared with host municipalities, and not just be a cash grab for the Government. Will the minister commit to sharing some of that money with municipalities, and also put some of it towards improved efforts to recycle all plastic water bottles in the Province of Ontario?”
Mr. Arnott serves as the Ontario PC Critic to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.