Thursday, May 26, 2011

Green Matters, Safety and Coffee

Watchers to Nestle: This Ain’t Over

After a disappointing permit renewal that will see Nestle Waters draw precious H20 from the aquifer in Aberfoyle for another five years, many observers expected the Wellington Water Watchers, at least, to keep up the fight. But a short deadline on the appeal, as it turns out, is only one of the reasons why the WWW opted out of further action.

“The Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) system is flawed, and we have decided there is no point in participating in a process that appears to be a window-dressing exercise,” explains Mike Nagy, a WWW Board member in a press release. Nagy cites the fact that his organization was excluded from a March 24th technical meeting as an example. “The MOE should have been leading these meetings and ensuring that all stakeholders were invited and able to attend,” Nagy adds. “It’s obvious to us that ‘the proponent’ has a vested interest in keeping specific parties – particularly those seeking restrictions – from participating.”

In it’s response to Nestle’s permit renewal, the Watchers were pushing for the Ministry of Environment to deny their request, or at the very least set in place measures through which the amount of water Nestle is allowed to draw, 3.6 million litres daily, to be rolled back on an annual basis. The only concession the Ministry made in the end was to only renew the permit for five years rather than Nestle’s request for 10. Regardless of the defeat Nagy says that he, and the other Watchers, will indeed be watching Nestle for those five years.

“We’re not going away,” he adds. “We’ll continue to do everything we can to protect our watershed, and to properly regulate this wasteful, unnecessary industry.”

Meet Greens

Having trouble deciding between who would best represent the local Green Party in this fall’s provincial election, then maybe getting up close and informal with them will change your mind. Both Mike Salisbury and Steve Dyck will available live and in person at the Hallman Room in Dublin Street United Church from 7 till 9 pm tonight. The setting is informal, and you don’t already have to be coloured Green to enter. “We are very excited to have a contested candidacy, a sign of our strength and momentum toward electing a Guelph Green MPP,” says a post on the Guelph Green website. “The next Provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 6, 2011 so we have 6 months to learn from past election campaigns and move The Greens forward in Ontario.” The Green candidate will be selected at the party’s AGM on June 7th.

Everything Falls Apart

In a rare and almost improbable move, the city closed seven "high risk" structures last Friday out of safety concerns. They include the standalone washroom buildings at Silvercreek Park, Margaret Greene Park, Hanlon Creek Park and Norm Jary Park, as well as the combination washroom/concession buildings at Exhibition Park and Riverside Park and the Riverside Bandshell. This is after the grandstand at Hastings Stadium was closed for safety concerns as well. What's the problem? Mario Petricevic, the city’s general manager of corporate building maintenance, says that the issue is the buildings' roofs, or rather the anchors that keep those roofs fastened to the walls of the buildings in sever wind. There are 34 buildings in the City that are deemed "high risk" and although the engineer didn't order the closure of those seven facilities, the City felt it necessary to act with an abundance of caution. In this year's budget, the City put aside $1.3 million for building repair. Some of the buildings will be able to be fixed right away, others have such extensive damage they'll need to be sent out for tenure.

Bean Lands at a New Location

It might be a Planet Bean before too long at this rate as a third Planet Bean location is set to open in the city’s south end. The new Bean will be based out of 1467 Gordon St., on the west side of Gordon halfway between Arkell and Clair roads, and according to the now-minted coffee chain’s co-founder, co-owner and head of marketing, Bill Bennett, expansion into the southside was a no-brainer. “We’re like coffee missionaries,” he told the Guelph Mercury. “We feel like south Guelph is devoid of excellent coffee, so we have to bring flavour to the people of south Guelph,” The original Bean opened in downtown Guelph in 1998, and its second location opened on Grange Road in 2006. So congratulations to the Planet Bean team on their continued success. Good to the last drop, I should say.

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