Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 8, 2015
MPP Arnott asks for assurance that Centre Wellington’s
groundwater will be protected
(Queen’s Park) – With Nestlé Waters evaluating the purchase of property in Centre Wellington with
a plan to apply for a Permit to Take Water, Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott has asked the
Minister of the Environment for assurances that the quality and quantity of groundwater in Centre
Wellington will be protected.
Mr. Arnott raised the issue with Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray in Question
Period on October 7.
“Nestlé Waters, a water-bottling company, says it’s considering the purchase of a property in the
Township of Centre Wellington, with a plan to draw large quantities of water as a backup to its
existing wells near Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh,” Mr. Arnott told the Legislature. “The Township Council
and local residents have expressed interest and concern, and Township representatives and I met
with the Minister last week to discuss the relevant issues.”
“Will the Minister assure my constituents that any permit to take water applications by Nestlé Waters
will be subject to a thorough scientific, hydrogeological review, with an open process for public
comment by interested residents, taking into account the planned population growth in Centre
Wellington because of the government’s Places to Grow policy, recognizing the water needs of
agriculture, and guaranteeing the protection and preservation of the quality and quantity of
groundwater in our communities for present and future generations?” he asked.
Since the issue has emerged, Mr. Arnott has worked closely with Township of Centre Wellington
Council and staff to ensure that the concerns of local residents are heard and that proper
safeguards are put in place should the purchase move forward.
“The Township is responding to this issue in the appropriate way. And, to the best of my knowledge,
Nestlé Waters has been a good corporate citizen in our communities,” Mr. Arnott said afterwards.
“But we all have an interest in our groundwater. Our groundwater belongs to everybody, and we
have a responsibility to protect it for today and for future generations.”
(Attached: Hansard record of Mr. Arnott’s questions, October 7, 2015)
– 30 –
Ontario Hansard – 07-October2015
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Will the
minister explain the process that the ministry uses to consider applications for permits to take water on a
large scale? What assurances can he offer this House that the process adequately ensures the long-term
protection of the quality and quantity of the groundwater in adjacent areas?
Hon. Glen R. Murray: First of all, I do want to recognize the member for Wellington-Halton Hills
because we’ve been working very closely together on some matters that are not just particular to his
constituents and some municipalities but concerns across that. I do say that he has taken such a very non-
partisan and statesman-like role in this, and I greatly respect the honourable member.
As the member knows and I think members in this House know, we have some constitutional differences
in Canada. In western Canada, provinces own the water, which allows them to manage and control and
price water, unlike Ontario and the eastern provinces, where the water is held and lent by people on the
land, which means that protecting municipal water supplies is much more complex here. Our water-
permitting process works on the volume of water being extracted, which provides some protection but not
sufficient. That’s the limitation we’re working on and trying to find better solutions to.
In the supplementary, I’ll continue the conversation with the honourable member.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?
Mr. Ted Arnott: Mr. Speaker, Nestlé Waters, a water-bottling company, says it’s considering the
purchase of a property in the township of Centre Wellington, with a plan to draw large quantities of water
as a backup to its existing wells near Aberfoyle and Hillsburgh. The township council and local residents
have expressed interest and concern, and township representatives and I met with the minister last week to
discuss the relevant issues.
Will the minister assure my constituents that any permit to take water applications by Nestlé Waters will
be subject to a thorough scientific, hydrogeological review, with an open process for public comment by
interested residents, taking into account the planned population growth in Centre Wellington because of
the government’s Places to Grow policy, recognizing the water needs of agriculture, and guaranteeing the
protection and preservation of the quality and quantity of groundwater in our communities for present and
Hon. Glen R. Murray: We share, I know, with the honourable member some serious concerns,
particularly in Aberfoyle, where we have 27 monitored wells. When water tables have dropped, when the
water levels have dropped, we’ve actually had to shut some of them down. So we’re being particularly
mindful about the Nestlé situation, as to what it would mean to the protection of local water supply. I
want to thank the member opposite.
I also want to thank the Minister of Education, the member for Guelph, who keeps me abreast of these as
well as you do.
We have been meeting, and we met together with the honourable member and municipal leaders, and I
think we’ve crafted a reasonable plan going forward, which I know the member has been supportive of,
and I will be accountable to him and to the community to ensure that that is fully realized. We want to
protect jobs in the community, but not at the expense of our environment, and in this case, with the
honourable member’s leadership and the co-operation and support of, I also want to recognize, the
member for Guelph, I think we’re going to do this and get an economic win and an environmental win,
which I think is the desire of the honourable member.