Nestle Waters North America made the pitch for a $50 million, 50 job, 150 million gallon, bottled water plant to support Nestle’s Arrowhead Spring Water and Pure Life brands. We have heard this before where a bottled water plant was proposed at Cascade Locks, Oregon (except there the target volume was 100 million gallons). The folks in Hood River County voted to keep bottled water in Hood River County as discussed at length by the Rainbow Water Coalition here. Here is the Waitsburg "media advisory". Waitsburg is about a three to four hour drive (about 220 miles east) via I-84 from Cascade Locks, Oregon.
Then came the recent public City Council meeting, and what the Union - Bulletin referred to as "bristling" in this article. "It came as a surprise to nearly everyone in the room during a heated Council meeting Wednesday night that explorations had already begun...and...Grounds for beginning what might be a months-long study of the city water supplies were based on a handshake between Mayor Walt Goble, City Administrator Randy Hinchliffe and Nestle’s Lauerman, discussions at the meeting revealed."
Nestle's natural resources manager Bruce Lauerman is not new to these "bristly" situations. A quick search reveals he works on the front lines for Nestle from coast to coast, including the Nestle plant in Hope, British Columbia.
Did Hood River, Oregon come up in at the City Council meeting?
"The discussion included recent events in Cascade Locks, Ore., where a vote by residents of Hood River County has now blocked the development of any large bottling operations. Lauerman stated many of these reports are inaccurate and taken out of context. In fact, the leaders and many of the citizens in Cascade Locks want Nestle to build there, he said."
Update - Mayor Walt Gobel resigns over Nestle situation. Letter of resignation can be read in this article published by the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.
Update - GuelphToday.com reports University of Guelph gets $460,000 from Nestlé Waters to study groundwater. Robert Case, a University of Waterloo professor, "...doesn't question the validity of the research to be done, more the timing and optics of the donation given that Nestlé is currently looking to increase limits at wells in Aberfoyle and Elora."
Update - No thanks, Nestle.
Let the international video wars begin.
“Nestlé strives to add value to the community, not only through its operations. Water sustainability is Nestlé’s NO. 1 priority and we are proud to support this research program that will contribute to the protection of this vital resource.”
~Nestlé Waters Canada natural resources manager
Andreanne Simard, PhD