Vancouver Park Board rejects bottled water ban

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Image: Bottled Water via Shutterstock

The Vancouver Park Board rejected a motion on Monday night to explore a new policy that would phase out the retail of bottled water at all city parks, beaches and recreational facilities.

Park Board commissioners defeated the plan in a 4-3 vote, with the Green and Vision Vancouver parties supporting the motion and the NPA majority going against.

The motion was forwarded by Green Party commissioner Michael Wiebe, who proposed the plan as part of Vancouver City Council’s initiative to become the greenest city in 2020.

Some commissioners were concerned that the ban would limit the healthy choice option at concession areas while others were concerned about the current availability of water fountains.

There is no question that the water that comes out of the public fountains are clean, but there are public concerns over the hygienic condition of the facilities. Fountains are also scarce, including at Stanley Park – where just one fountain is operational on a year-round basis.

Another obstacle with the bottled water ban is the Park Board’s contract with Coca-Cola to supply park spaces and facilities with bottled water. The contract does not expire until November 2016 and it also provides the Park Board with about $250,000 in revenues on an annual basis.

However, the commissioners did unanimously approve a plan to examine the possibility of installing more water fountains and fill stations at Park Board-operated spaces and facilities.

The bottled water ban idea could reemerge in the Park Board again in the future. Park Board commissioners defeated a similar motion in 2009 over the same concerns.

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