FOI reveals City of Vancouver still purchasing bottled water

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

10 comments

moving-bottled-water
Water delivery continues into the Mayor of Vancouver's office

During the last term of council, Tim Stevenson, a senior member of Vision’s caucus, put forward a motion to ban bottled water at Vancouver City Hall. As the head of Metro Vancouver’s Water Committee, Stevenson got religion when it came to the quality of the region’s water. He was encouraging everyone within earshot to dump bottled water and drink from the tap instead.

When Stevenson and his Vision caucus gained power in 2008, he knew this was his opportunity to take action against everyone drinking bottled water. So once again, with the backing of his majority caucus, he introduced a motion to ban bottled water from City Hall and its facilities. After setting aside about $50,000 to implement the motion (not accounting for potential lost sales in city-owned facilities) the motion was approved unanimously.

A couple months back CityCaucus.com got a tip that despite the ban on "single serve" bottled water, the Mayor’s office continued to quietly order bottled water for its staff and guests. After a freedom of information request, we can confirm that Robertson is indeed continuing to purchase bottled water (for electric water coolers) out of his office budget. In fact, it would appears from the invoices we've reviewed he is purchasing at least 20L of bottled water per month.

So if the region's tap water is so good and bottled water is bad for the environment, why is the Mayor still having it trucked to his office every month? We understand Stevenon's ban only applies to "single serve" bottles, but we have to ask why? If Stevenson and countless environmentalists are right, then why is the Mayor not serving his guests water from the tap?

Here is what the website treehugger.com has to say about the environmental impact of bottled water:

All bottled waters are problematic and unnecessary, and obviously the further it travels the worse it is, but what really matters is how things travel. As you can see from the chart, listing the distance a gallon of fuel will move a ton of goods, a ship (we could not find the exact number for a modern container ship but suspect that it is even better than a barge) goes almost seven and a half times as far on a gallon of fuel than a truck.

A ton of Tasmanian rainwater travelling 7938 miles by ship uses 15.44 gallons of fuel and emits 342.77 pounds of CO2;

A ton of Poland Springs going by truck traveling 1141 miles from Maine to Chicago uses 16.54 gallons and emits 367.19 pounds of CO2.;

A ton of Evian going from Lake Geneva to Edinburgh by truck uses 15.77 gallons and emits 350.09 pounds of CO2.

This is is a simplistic view and does not take into account the energy used in pumping or making the bottles or getting around in the cities, but it it is probably a good rough guide. In the end they all suck about equally- drink tap or if you must, buy local. Chicago loses doubly, because it has good tap water from the Great Lakes.

We're not sure where the Mayor's bottled water originated from, but this does appear to be a clear cut case of do as I say, not as I do.

- post by Daniel

10 Comments

What????? Mayor "MOONBEAM" is buying bottled water (well all the little people are paying for it). Sure hope he won't be using it on the carrot patch.


Interesting... this week a statement was made public by Sean Holman that effective April 1 2010 changes are coming to provincial disability benefits.
Presently a person with an auto immune disease(Aids,Hep C ect.) receives a 20.00 monthly supplement for bottled water with medical report from a doctor. It has been rescinded.
The provincial government stated that the reason for this was that British Columbia has the best quality tap water, and it is deemed an unnecessary expense, with great cost savings!
IMO, we seem to have an interesting problem, on several levels. The Mayor has been very clear about his feelings on bottled water, so I for one, find this very disturbing. We voted based on his word, his principles.
Doesn't matter that it isn't single serving bottles, fact is it comes in a big bottle and not from the tap. Hummm, good enough for the minions...the weak and sick. Shame.

Where is Tim Stevenson? Why isn't he shouting from the rooftops? Oh I guess bottled water for the mayor is okay, but the little people must drink from the tap. What sheer hypocrisy from this Vision government. I notice you didn't give us a copy of the actual FOI response. Any chance you could do that? As for George's comments, you're bang on.

I generally agree with your unconditional opposition to Gregor and the Vision regime. But in this case, I think you're comparing apples and oranges. The case against bottled water--the kind you use once and throw away--is that the discarded bottles clog up landfills. But water coolers are a different matter entirely because the tanks are reuseable.

Still, I don't mean to quibble. If you throw enough muck at the Vision Council, some of it's bound to stick. Seems to be working for the Republicans!

@ Keith. I too don't want to quibble, however, I have heard Stevenson preach about how our tap water is great, and nobody needs to purchase bottled water. That presumably includes the larger bottles.

You're right the bottles are reused...however, they are made of plastic, they are trucked to each of the locations, and have a high carbon footprint. I personally don't purchase bottle water as I am quite happy with what comes out of the tap, but I posted this to help raise awareness of the double standard being applied at City Hall.

PS Having been on the receiving end of Vision's mud slinging over the years, I know what you mean :-)

In October 2006, UsedVancouver.com supplied city hall with 500 reusable water bottles to support Tim Stevenson.

See report on CityTV:

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=3284249029621891297&hl=en-CA#

So the guy whose Happy Planet Health Shot range of "organic" style miracle cures sell in miniature 75ml plastic bottles is against plastic bottled water.

Well, at $2.50 a "shot" that's a mere $33 (and 13.3 bottles in the landfill) per litre so a little inconsistency is understandable.

David you hit the nail on the head. If companies can't sell bottled water, consumers will be forced to buy things like Happy Planet Juice in plastic bottles instead. I trust the mayor didn't vote on this motion as he's likely in a conflict of interest? More hypocrisy from this Vision crew.

Go to any CUPE website, and you will se the long list of ideological diatribes against bottled water. What is clear from all of the rhetoric, is that the real issue for CUPE is the fight against the privitization of water. Why would this be? Why, to protect CUPE jobs of course!! Guess who works in treatment plants, cities that provide and maintain water systems, public institutions that handle tap water, drinking fountains etc. etc. Couldn't be CUPE workers could it? Well holy smokes, Reverend Tim, it is.
All of those CUPE backed, suppported and financed candidates are expected to support the party line, and the organization leading the charge is Maude Barlow's Council of Canadians, the research and propoganda arm of the NDP.
This is not as much about health and the environment as it is about protecting CUPE jobs.

I can't believe how many people have been completely fooled by the anti-bottled-water movement. The public have been tricked into believing that banning bottled water is all about being green and reducing waste. What a load of crap!

Bottled water bans have nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with the power of the public sector unions. Just Google "CUPE bottled water" and the lights should start to go on about what's really going on maybe some people will finally wake up.

There's no shortage of factual information to be found out there that counters the misinformation being spread by CUPE and their agents (e.g., the majority of Vancouver City Council) about bottled water.

Dig deeper on this and the waters of truth will flow.

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