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CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill addressed Nanaimo City Council Monday, June 11 to encourage councillors to support a “Blue Community Resolution”.

This is a chance for Nanaimo to show leadership and pave the way for other communities,” said O’Neill. “This city could have a big influence in the rest of the province and country by becoming a Blue Community.”

A municipality must do three things to be recognized as a Blue Community.

First it must recognize water as a human right.

Second, it must ban the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events.

And third, the municipality must commit to promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.

O’Neill stressed the importance of keeping water, one of our most precious resources, in public hands as he tried to put to rest some questions that councillors previously had about the “Blue Community Resolution”.

In March a motion for Nanaimo to become the Island’s second Blue Community was brought forth, while city council initially adopted this resolution, it later instead asked for staff to prepare a report detailing the “implications of the three resolutions required to become a “Blue Community” and the full cost of banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at public events, and upgrading facilities to provide drinking water stations.”

Councillors are expecting the staff report to be ready within the next few weeks and the Blue Community Resolution will likely be back on the City’s agenda next month.

We’ve seen elsewhere that the benefits of becoming a Blue Community, and I’m confident both that city staff will report back positively, and that Council will approve the motion to join other communities on the leading edge of the campaign to support public water,” said O’Neill.

The Blue Communities initiative is a joint venture between the Council of Canadians and CUPE.