City committee to look at phasing out the sale of bottled water at civic facilities

News source from CTV News

Published Friday, February 8, 2019 10:31PM CST

Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2019 10:47PM CST

A City of Saskatoon committee is looking at the possibility of phasing out the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

A report from city administration shows methods the city could undertake to eliminate the sale of bottled water, as well as several challenges.

“Banning bottled water sales at civic facilities supports the strategic goal of Environmental Leadership by supporting initiatives that reduce the effects of climate change on civic services and maximizes solid waste diversion,” the report reads.

Public facilities where bottled water could be phased out would include leisure centres, arenas, office spaces, parks and golf courses.

The report was done in response to a request from the Environment Committee to look at the options of phasing out the sale of bottled water, including the time frame and staffing needed.

However, administration says banning the sale of bottled water is not recommended at this point, due to lack of resources and strategies to ensure water infrastructure is in place for people to remain healthy and hydrated at civic facilities.

The report notes the city has several contracts with third-party vendors who sell bottled water at civic facilities. It says phasing out bottled water could happen as those contracts expire. However, administration does not recommend going that route until those facilities have other water stations, fountains or infrastructure in place.

The city estimates the cost for installing water stations to address the needs within civic facilities is between $90,000 and $450,000, not including staffing and financing costs.

Administration says specifications, timing and a funding strategy would have to be worked out before proceeding.

The report lists other Canadian cities, eight in Ontario and one in Quebec and British Columbia, that have either phased out or banned bottled water at public facilities.

City administration estimates the yearly carbon load for plastic water bottles sold from civic facilities is equal to one regular-sized passenger vehicle driving 51,200 kms.

The report is on the agenda for the next Environment Committee meeting on Monday at City Hall.

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