Bottled water will soon be unavailable at city-owned recreational facilities in an effort to promote the use of municipal water.
In June, Nanaimo city council voted to become a Blue Community after being approached by the Council of Canadians Mid-Island Chapter, Vancouver Island Water Watch and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Being a Blue Community includes recognizing water as a human right; promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and waste water services, and banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities.
“The transition from selling bottled water at city facilities helps promote the quality and availability of municipal tap water,” said Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan in a release. “The use of city water also improves sustainability and reduces greenhouse gas emissions because city water is gravity fed to the tap.”
Phasing out bottled water has been a gradual process as the parks, recreation and culture department has worked with contractors and vendors to clear out existing inventory. Currently, all plastic water bottles have been removed from vending machines and concessions will no longer sell bottled water.
Other beverages, such as sodas and sports drinks, will continue to be sold in city vending machines.
According to the city, community groups hosting events in city facilities or parks are still allowed to provide or sell bottled water but will be encouraged to explore alternatives.
At city facilities, users will find clearly marked water fountains and will also be able to purchase reusable water bottles from the front counters of major recreation facilities in the city. Recyclable paper cups will also be available from dispensers located near most fountains.
The city will also install signage to remind visitors to bring their own water bottles with them when attending events or programs at city facilities.