Blue Communities are municipalities, Indigenous communities, and organizations that have adopted policies that recognize human and ecosystem rights to water and sanitation.
These communities, through resolutions, have committed to protecting water sources and systems as well as resisting the takeover of water sources and systems by private corporations.
Becoming a Blue Community creates an opportunity for community residents, any unionized and/or municipal workers, Indigenous peoples, environmentalists, and students to come together to protect water sources and systems for future generations.
A Blue Community ensures that current and future governments are accountable for providing publicly owned safe, clean drinking water for the future with no risk of ownership transfer to private corporations.
The North Grenville Environmental Action and Advisory Committee (NGEAAC) received a request from a local resident asking that NGEAAC look at this initiative to see how it could be implemented in North Grenville.
The Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) initiated the Blue Communities Project in 2009 to support the idea of a water commons framework, recognizing that water is a shared resource for all.
Responsibility for water protection is shared by all levels of government. This responsibility requires that all levels of government protect water sources and ensure safe operating systems ensure the right to clean and safe water for everyone.
It is important that municipalities adopt a framework that recognizes the right to clean, safe water and sanitation for community residents and businesses in order to:
• Protect against pricing methodology that would reduce access to wastewater and drinking water services.
•Ensure community residents have access to safe, clean water supplies and sanitation systems.
•Provide the public with information on the water services operations and water supply.
•Promote water source protection, treatment systems, re-use methodology and conservation recommendations to ensure water quality and continued quantities.
•Provide information and education regarding the ecological effects of human activity on water and land.
Municipalities are responsible for water quality, supply, treatment, and conservation. The adoption of a water commons framework to address pollution, eutrophication, degradation, depletion, and privatization at the community level is crucial in the battle to preserve water and ensure fair access to all water and land.
Most municipalities in Ontario already have a framework in place that recognizes the right to clean, safe water and sanitation for all community residents and businesses. However, to ensure the right to clean, safe water and sanitation at the municipal level, there is a need to pass local legislation that protects these rights for future generations.
Many municipalities have established Water Source Protection plans which include changes to the land use zoning by passing Bylaws to deal with these risks and to restrict or prohibit a water source contamination.
Thunder Bay, Kingston, Ajax and Welland are all examples of municipalities in Ontario who have secured the Blue Communities designation.
The proposal for North Grenville to secure this designation has been proposed to Mayor and Council by the NGEAAC. The NGEAAC passed a resolution recommending to council that NG become a Blue Community.
The resolution was presented to Council via the committee minutes on Tuesday June 22, 2021. Upon review of the recommendation, Council directed NG staff to review and provide input for them to review before considering moving forward with this designation.