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Nanaimo becomes newest “Blue Community”

Nanaimo becomes newest “Blue Community”

NANAIMO—Nanaimo City Council on Monday made Nanaimo the fourth “Blue Community” in BC by approving three key resolutions.

“CUPE BC would like to congratulate the Mayor and Council in Nanaimo for making the important decision to support public water by becoming a Blue Community,” said CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “As a long-time resident of this area I am proud that Nanaimo’s elected officials are striving to make positive change in our community.”

To be recognized as a Blue Community, a municipality must meet three conditions. First they must recognize water as a human right. Second, they must ban the sales of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events. And third, municipalities must commit to promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.

Councillors received a staff report at Monday’s council meeting which dealt with questions that councillors previously had about the resolution.

The report dealt with the legal implications of declaring water as a human right and the logistics of banning bottled water and included a plan to phase out the selling of bottled water. The phase out plan satisfied concerns Council had about contracts currently in place with vendors.

Blaine Gurrie, CUPE 401 president and a member of the Vancouver Island Water Watch Coalition, says that this initiative is about local governments supporting positive changes in their communities.

“Being only the fourth city in BC to pass this resolution means that Nanaimo is once again leading the way. This council is showing that local governments have a role to play in promoting and advocating for progressive policies at all levels of government. When you look at the stance they have taken on human rights issues they have proven that they are willing to take a stand on key issues that affect peoples’ lives in positive ways.”

The Blue Communities initiative is a joint venture between the Council of Canadians and CUPE. Other BC Blue Communities include Burnaby (the first ever Blue Community), Victoria and North Vancouver.

If you think your community should be a “Blue Community” or for more information on the initiative visit http://canadians.org/water/issues/Blue_Communities/.

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