By Rebecca Martin
Vote YES on the Water Sales Referendum on Tuesday, November 3rd by TURNING OVER THE BALLOT where you will find the referendum.
The Niagara Bottling proposal came out of the blue for Kingston citizens (VIEW the timeline). After extensive work by a growing coalition of residents and stakeholders to bring as much information to the public forward as possible, Niagara abandoned their proposal on February 15, 2015. Elected officials acted quickly afterwards, and the City of Kingston’s Common Council unanimously voted (twice), with the Mayor’s approval, to support a Water Sales Referendum that would give the public a say in municipal water sales outside of Kingston’s corporate boundaries to be placed on the ballot this fall. It’s an unprecedented and critical opportunity.
Some have asked, will this impact agreements already set in place? The answer, is no. This referendum impacts any contracts moving forward. The process will have to be determined, but it will allow the council to collaborate with the Water Department to set some real criteria to its decision making as should be the case.
Here are four important points made by KingstonCitizens.org’s Jennifer Schwartz Berky in our piece “In Their Own Words“.
During the Niagara Bottling proposal last year:
You had no say about whether to sell our limited supply of safe, high quality drinking water to a billion-dollar corporation for a fraction of the rate that you pay.
You had no say about the use of your tax dollars going toward the attraction of a polluting industry.
You had no say about how this would limit further residential and commercial development in Kingston.
You had no say regarding whether this was environmentally detrimental to our community.
If you vote “YES” for the Water Referendum, you will for evermore have a say. Say “YES” to include Kingston’s Common Council – and the public – to the Water Board’s decision making process in the sale of our precious municipal water.
The referendum will appear on the back of your ballot. Make sure you TURN IT OVER when you vote on Tuesday.
* Kingston Water Department issued a ‘Will Serve’ Letter to Niagara Bottling, welcoming them to Kingston before the public had any knowledge of the proposed deal on 9/15/14. Lets make sure that doesn’t ever happen again. READ
* In Their Own Words. Citizens, elected officials and stakeholders share their views on why citizens should vote YES on the Water Sales Referendum. READ
* The Mayor of Kingston appoints Water Board Commissioners solely. Who are they, and what experience do they have to help steward our municipal water source? What is the selection process? It has all been handled out of the public eye until we started watching last year, and we will continue – as the Water Department, though currently independent, is still a part of Kingston City Government. The Charter states that Water Board Commissioner’s terms are five years, though there are still members who have served since 1981. Why? READ