There has been an exciting sequel to the article “Grey County Citizens Fight Habitat-Destroying Plans for Bottled Water” by the Water Protection Coalition of South Grey, published in the January-February issue of Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat News: The Grey Association for Better Planning (GABP), a sister group helping in the same struggle, has won the right to appeal an unfavourable decision of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) that would have permitted Artemesia Waters Ltd. to store and transport up to 176 million litres (35 million gallons) of groundwater per year taken from near Flesherton in southeastern Grey County (in the Lake Huron Watershed). If it proceeds, the water-taking is expected to suck a wetland dry and destroy fish habitat.
A late-February 2002 court decision will allow GABP to challenge in Ontario’s Divisional Court what it sees as two fundamental errors in the OMB hearing decision: First, the OMB did not treat the taking of groundwater as a land use under Ontario’s Planning Act and thus wrongly failed to consider the land-use plans of both the local municipality and the county. Second, the OMB failed to consider the effect of water-taking on the environment. If GABP wins its appeal, a precedent will be set and the repercussions for commercial water extraction across Ontario will be enormous.
The court struggle against Artemesia Waters Ltd., part of one of Canada’s largest water-bottling conglomerates, will be expensive and will extend at least into late 2002. For information about this important court fight, please contact GABP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (519) 922-2033 or (519) 794-3259.