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Oshawa considering bottled water ban in city facilities

Looking to buy a bottle of water at city hall or another city run facility? You may need to bring a refillable water bottle instead. City of Oshawa staff are investigating the possibility of eliminating bottled water in city facilities and at municipal events. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Orth/Flickr).

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Bottled water may become a thing of the past in city facilities.

At a recent meeting of the Corporate Services committee, councillors asked staff to look into their options for eliminating bottled water in city facilities and from municipal events.

The motion, brought forward by Councillor Amy McQuaid-England, would complete a trio of criteria in order for Oshawa to be considered for designation as a Blue Community.

The Blue Communities Project, an joint initiative by the Council of Canadians, CUPE and the Blue Planet Project, aims to create a global movement for water security. In order to be designated as such a community, municipalities must recognize water as a human right, something Oshawa has done, as well as promote publicly financed, owned and operated water services – something else Oshawa can also check off its list. The final criterium is for municipalities to ban or phase out the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events.

“It allows us to talk about a very serious issue as it relates to water being a human right and access to water,” McQuaid-England says. “I think it’s important for us to at least have the discussion and get the community involved in the importance of recognizing water as a human right and making it available in publicly accessible ways that you don’t have to pay for.”

As part of a future report, Councillor Dan Carter suggested the city must also look into water fountains along city streets.

“That should be part of an equation that is brought forward,” he said.

There is no indication as to when staff would be reporting back to city council on this matter.