On April 19, North Grenville achieved the designation of “Blue Community,” after councilors unanimously passed three resolutions to protect water as a human right and public good. The municipality joins 86 other Blue Communities worldwide.
The Blue Communities Project was created by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 2009. It encourages municipalities, universities, faith congregations, and Indigenous communities to support the idea of water as a shared resource for all, by passing resolutions that recognize water and sanitation as human rights; ban or phase out the sale of bottled water; and support publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.
As a Blue Community, the Municipality of North Grenville recognizes water as a fundamental right, which entitles everyone to access to clean and safe water.
“Continuing to invest in our municipally owned and operated water and wastewater systems is a key priority for North Grenville. We are blessed to have a high quality of water throughout the municipality. Ensuring there is sufficient protection of our aquifers which supply well water to rural residents is also critically important,” highlighted Mayor Peckford.
“Council would like to thank local resident Jeanne Lambert and members of the Environmental Action Advisory Committee for their passion in bringing this important issue forward, and persistence in seeing it through, ”stated Councillor Kristin Strackerjan. “Municipal staff representatives provided much-needed expertise and were key in preparing a report for Council that addressed concerns from fiscal and operational perspectives.
Becoming a Blue Community reflects much of what we are already doing and offers an additional means of emphasizing the importance of equitable access to safe, clean drinking water to all within our community. We look forward to using this new designation to promote best practices and good stewardship of our local water resources and facilities.”
“The work that the Council of Canadians and Maude Barlow have done over the years helped me to see the continuing threats to clean water,” said Jeanne Lambert. “I was also personally inspired by my activist mother who, by her example, helped me to believe that I might be the ‘somebody’ to do ‘something’ in my own community. Water is life!”
The Municipality of North Grenville installed water filling stations in the arena lobby in 2016 and will continue to promote local well or municipal tap water. Moving forward, the municipality will remove bottled water from vending machines and when possible, encourage events within the Municipality to use potable water. Events such as Kemptville Live already provide a water filling station for festival participants to use free of charge.
“Becoming a Blue Community is showing that the Municipality of North Grenville is ready to act upon important environmental initiatives. I’ll be forever impressed and thankful to the residents who brought this forward and worked so diligently to see it passed by Council,” said Amie Boudreau Ivany, the Chair of the Environmental Action Advisory Committee.
“As part of the Revitalization of the Riverside Park project, a water filling station will be installed for residents to access for free while recreating at the park,” added Mayor Peckford.
“Every new Blue Community helps reinforce the human right to water and protect it from privatization,” added Mark Calzavara, Council of Canadians National Water Campaigner. “We are thrilled to welcome North Grenville as our 87th Blue Community and we are grateful to see so much support for promoting and protecting public water across the municipality. “
For more information on Blue Communities visit: https://canadians.org/bluecommunities.