Guelph Water Walk celebrates water, opposes Nestlé

On Sunday May 29 the Wellington Water Watchers plan a Water Walk to show their opposition to Nestlé's renewal bid in Aberfoyle.
Some Guelph citizens aren't happy with Nestle's plan to continue bottling water in Aberfoyle. (CBC)

The Wellington Water Watchers don't want Nestlé to be able to continue bottling water at the plant in Aberfoyle, so they're walking en masse to demonstrate.

On Sunday, May 29 the group plans a Water Walk in Guelph to show their opposition to Nestlé's renewal bid in Aberfoyle. 

Robert Case, a group board member, said Nestlé is looking for a 10 year renewal to take water at a rate of up to 3.6 million litres per day to bottle in their Aberfoyle plant.

"We think it's an unsustainable industry that needs to be phased out. So we're calling for the government to reject the application and work with Nestlé to phase out operations in Aberfoyle over the next two years or so," Case said.

Andreanne Simard, natural resource manager at Nestlé, said the company welcomes the Water Walk participants.

"I think for us it's a fantastic opportunity to have an open dialogue with the participants and share information about our scientific monitoring program that we have here," she said.

"As a local resident and as a natural resource manager for the company here in Ontario, we share the same passion," Simard said.

Valuing water

To demonstrate their passion for water, Case said that there will be water songs, a toast to water, as well as a water blessing at the event.

Case said the blessing is partially coming from their First Nations partners who want to recognise water as a sacred thing.

But he said it's also about asserting some of the broad values and philosophies around water.

"I think one of the things that irks people around different uses of water is how it gets sort of separated from its natural functions in the world," Case said.

He said bottled water is a good example of this, as it gets extracted from the ground, where it has many functions, and put in plastic bottles to be sold as a commodity.

Simard said Nestlé also recognizes the importance of water.

"We value just as much as the participants do, just as much as the local community does. We want the resource to be there forever, we want to protect it," she said.