Province puts temporary ban on bottling Island water
Government reverses decision, and introduces moratorium stopping Brookvale bottled water plant
The provincial government says it will now prohibit companies from bottling Island water until the Water Act has been introduced.
The ministerial order would affect companies such as Pure Island Waters Ltd., which had planned to set up a water bottling plant in Brookvale, P.E.I.
Opposition parties had asked the government to put the company's plan on hold. Some Islanders, including members of the P.E.I. Wildlife Federation, raised concerns over the project's impact on P.E.I.'s water supply.
We want to hear from Islanders on the topic of bottling Island water and this ministerial order will allow this to happen.– Robert Mitchell
Last month, the government said it would not be placing a moratorium on the bottled water plant proposal
But on Wednesday, the province changed its position, saying it is "committed to the protection of our water for future generations."
'Stops us in our tracks'
The president of Pure Island Waters Ltd, Jim Wood, told CBC News he understands the minister's decision — citing political pressure over the plan.
"This stops us in our tracks for a while," said Wood. But he added the company hopes to proceed with the plan for the business after the Water Act is introduced, and if it gets the needed approvals.
Wood said he agrees there should be restrictions on export of water to keep the big players out, but said those restrictions have to be reasonable.
Draft Water Act nearing completion
"We want to hear from Islanders on the topic of bottling Island water and this ministerial order will allow this to happen," Robert Mitchell, minister for Communities, Land and Environment, said in a statement.
The draft Water Act is nearing completion, with the second round of in-person consultations planned for early 2017.
The act will provide a regulatory framework for all water use on P.E.I., including the bottling of water, Mitchell said.
"We want to ensure public confidence in government's ability to protect and preserve our Island groundwater. This temporary measure will allow both the opportunity for the public to participate in a second round of consultations to communicate their thoughts on this issue, as well as the time needed to complete the new Act."
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