The regional recreation commission is looking at banning the sale of bottled water in its facilities, including the Nelson and District Community Complex and the Civic Centre.
The discussion originated with a letter to the commission from Nelson resident Sandra Hartline of the group KAIROS, a national peace and justice organization consisting of eight Canadian Christian churches.
The letter outlines the major reasons behind the worldwide movement to ban bottled water, including:
• Water bottles are a major source of plastic in the environment. “The prediction is that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, assuming fish stocks remain constant,” Hartline wrote.
• In the last 15 years over half of 47 bottled water products have been recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
• Globally only 15 per cent of plastic bottles are recycled and plastic bottles take 700 years to decompose.
• In a place like Nelson there is no need for bottled water because our tap water is healthy and those who object to drinking chlorine can get a carbon activated filter or fill a glass jug of tap water and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
The international movement to ban bottled water often also cites the carbon footprint of transporting water around the world.
The City of Nelson banned sales of bottled water in city facilities over 10 years ago.
“The discussion (at the recreation commission) is good timing,” said Nelson city councillor Valerie Warmington, who sits on the commission, “because the Nelson and District Community Complex is just renewing its spending contracts.”
She said there are water fountains in the community complex where people can fill up their water bottles.
She said one objection she has heard to the ban is that it would take away a healthy choice from someone standing in front of a vending machine, leaving them with unhealthy choices like soft drinks. She said this question is still up for discussion and that the commission is considering using more cans and fewer bottles for soft drinks, but that would require further research and discussion.
Warmington said she is not sure if a bottled water ban could be worked out with food vendors who have contracts to sell food at hockey games, or with the lease-holders in the Civic Centre including the Civic Theatre.
She said these are logistical issues and that regional district staff will be looking into them.