The following Letter to the Editor was sent to local media outlets by VDLC President Stephen von Sychowski today, in support of the motion "Water and Washrooms as a Human Right" which is on the agenda for the Vancouver City Council meeting on March 10.
On March 10, Vancouver City Council will consider a motion brought forward by Councillors Boyle and Wiebe to make Vancouver a Blue Community.
The Blue Communities initiative was launched by the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees and is supported by a broad array of organizations including the Vancouver and District Labour Council.
Major cities around the world have become Blue Communities, committing to recognize water and sanitation as human rights, ban or phase-out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events, and promote publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
These are meaningful steps toward protecting our water resources for the needs of the public. Faced with increased extreme weather brought on by climate change, and for-profit incursions on our water resources, we need a plan to ensure that access to clean water is a right and a reality for all today and for generations to come.
The results of corporate, for-profit interests becoming involved in our water resources to date has been damaging both to access to clean drinking water as well as to the climate. For-profit companies harvest our water resources at a negligible cost, only to place it in environmentally damaging bottles and re-sell it to us at a large markup.
The long-term consequence of the proliferation of bottled water has been the elimination of much of the previously existing free drinking water access such as public fountains. The switch from free fountains to bottles means that in many locations access to clean drinking water now comes at a cost and is accessible only to those with the means. Moving back to public fountains and fill stations will improve access for all, while supporting good public workers jobs.
With World Water Day approaching on March 22, what better time than now to take this important step.
This letter was published in the Vancouver Sun.
The Council meeting agenda, motions, and speaker sign-up are available HERE.