COMOX—Last weekend’s Vancouver Island Music Festival (July 11-13) once again highlighted the pivotal role that CUPE can play in promoting sound environmental policy and the importance of keeping public water public.
Since 2009, the VIMF has been working to completely eliminate plastic water bottles from their operations through “Living Green” initiatives including a Water Crew dedicated to bringing Vancouver Island tap water to the people. CUPE BC signed on early as a sponsor and has continued its role in each subsequent year, enabling the festival to purchase water pumps and carts and deliver more than 6,000 litres of tap water to thirsty audiences over the three-day festival.
Three years ago, CUPE 556 (employees of the Town of Comox, Comox Valley Regional District, City of Courtenay and the Village of Cumberland) signed on as a “Living Green” sponsor. The Local took responsibility for the Water Crew last year, partnering with the Vancouver Island District Council. This year, they combined for joint advertising in the festival programme with the message “Take Back The Tap – Say No To Plastic Bottles.”
CUPE 556 president Cindy Major and former vice-president Cheryl Sellers are passionate about raising awareness of the need to protect access to high quality public water in the Comox Valley. Last year they provided subsidized stainless steel water bottles to festival goers; this year, they equipped the Water Crew with CUPE 556 t-shirts and green umbrellas that made it easier for people to locate the mobile water stations.
“Water Crew members ranged from teens to grandparents, with CUPE members, their families and community volunteers coming together to make sure that safe, clean drinking water was available for all,” said Sellers.
CUPE BC regional vice-president Doug Sprenger joined Sellers and the Water Crew throughout the 2014 Festival. See more of his photos in the Gallery.