Golden council voted to delay adopting a corporate policy to bottle water for commercial purposes at a Feb. 18 meeting.
Council decided to put the policy on hold until it receives a rezoning application from GoldenKey Investment Group, which purchased a 20-acre parcel of land last summer to create a commercial water bottling facility in Golden.
GoldenKey drilled a test well on July 31, 2019, and is working towards securing provincial permits to open the facility.
“The adoption of a policy will be revisited should we receive a rezoning application from the proponent,” said Jon Wilsgard, the chief administrative officer for the Town of Golden.
“We’re expecting that will happen, it’s just a question of when.”
In September, council passed a resolution to develop a corporate policy about bottling water for commercial purposes that would be similar to a policy adopted by the Sunshine Coast Regional District.
Despite spending the past five months developing the policy, council voted 5-1 to delay its adoption.
Coun. Leslie Adams was the lone councillor to vote against shelving it.
Similar to the Sunshine Coast policy, it explicitly states the Town of Golden does not support the extraction of fresh water from either surface or ground sources within its jurisdictional boundary for the purpose of commercial bottled water sales.
The policy can be publicly reviewed on the town’s website.
“There’s been a lot of community sentiment around this, but we’ve decided to wait for an application for rezoning,” said Wilsgard.
Once the town receives a rezoning application, the process can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to reopen the issue, according to Wilsgard.
“There’s an application period and a negotiation period and an assessment by staff,” said Wilsgard.
“After that, it goes to council for determination in which direction it goes and then the ensuing public process, which can take upwards of a month or so.”
While the town has very little power to legislate the use of its water resources because it is a provincial matter, a corporate policy would spell out the town’s official stance on the issue.
It would also help guide the town when it creates bylaws to minimize the impact bottling water could have on the community.
According to Wilsgard, the proponent’s application to the province for the extraction of water has been submitted to the province and the town will be kept informed throughout the process.