Monthly Archives: March 2015

Thunder Bay Canada’s 17th Blue Community!

The Thunder Bay Council of Canadians is proud to announce that Thunder Bay is Canada’s 17th Blue Community.

On Monday, March 23, Thunder Bay City Council unanimously adopted three resolutions that recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and commit to banning bottled water at municipal events by March, 2016. The ban would only apply where there is easy access to tap water providing a healthy, free alternative.  Council of Canadians Chair Maude Barlow offers her congratulations and looks forward to coming to Thunder Bay to present Mayor Hobbs with our Blue Community Certificate as soon as her busy schedule allows.

The Thunder Bay Chapter of the Council Canadians would like to thank  and acknowledge the leadership of Mayor Hobbs and City Council for confirming Thunder Bay as a leader in the preservation and protection of our shared water resources.  We would also like to thank all the citizens and organizations who supported Thunder Bay becoming a Blue Community.

Mayor Hobbs, a former Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) said he will be putting the Blue Community Project on the next GLSCI meeting agenda and encourage members to become Blue Communities. Our Chapter will continue to work with our national office and supporters to promote the Blue Community Project in our region and around the Great Lakes.

Wby Thunder Bay is a Blue Community

  • Blue Communities recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and ban (phase out) bottled water in municipal facilities and at municipal events where tap water is easily available.
  • Blue Communities in Canada include Ajax, Amqui, Burnaby, Comox, Cumberland, Mississippi Mills, Nanaimo, Niagara Falls, North Vancouver, St. Catharines, Thorold, Tay Township, Tiny Township, Victoria, Welland. Tsal’alhmec in BC is the first Indigenous Blue Community.
  • 750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, most of them children; 126 First Nation communities in Canada lack access to clean drinking water .
  • Looming water crisis; demand for water is rising while the supply diminishes.
  • In 2010, the United Nations adopted a resolution recognizing the human right to water.
  • The $178 billion bottled water industry views water as a commodity to be sold to those who can afford it; this is in direct conflict with the human right to water.
  • Canada recognized the human right to water in 2012.
  • Blue Communities are calling on the federal and provincial governments to enshrine the human right to water into law and a national action plan to ensure everyone in Canada enjoys this right.
  • The federal government is aggressively pushing privatization as a prerequisite for funding for major water and waste water infrastructure (P3’s) rather than providing public funding for a national water infrastructure fund.
  • This, despite the evidence that P3’s are more expensive, risky, less effective and not accountable to the public.
  • Fortunately for us, Thunder Bay has already invested in high quality public water and state-of- the- art public water and waste water services.
  • Thunder is a recognized leader in providing safe, clean, affordable tap water.
  • Our tap water is highly regulated, constantly monitored and tested thousands of times a year; the results are made public.
  • The bottled water industry is largely self-regulated and test results are not made public.
  • Bottled water factories are supposed to be inspected every 1-3 years;  only 6% were inspected between April 2008 and March 2009.
  • There is no green way to bottle water; bottling water devastates watersheds when water is removed from its source.
  • Bottling water consumes massive amounts of groundwater at a time when 20% of Canadian communities have experienced water shortages.
  • It takes 3-5 bottles of water to make a bottle of water; 25% of bottled water is tap water.
  • It costs $2.00 for 591 ml bottle of water from a vending machine compared to less than a cent for the same amount of tap water.
  • The private water industry pays less than $4.00 for a million litres of water in Ontario and sells it for up 2 million dollars.
  • Bottled water is 2000 times more energy intensive than tap water; more than 100 million barrels of oil is consumed annually to produce, transport and dispose of bottled water.
  • Less than 50% of plastic water bottles are recycled; 10%  end up in our waterways.
  • There are health concerns about chemical additives in plastics, especially for children.
  • In 2009, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities urged its members to phase out the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities.
  • 84 Canadian Municipalities, 2 Territories, 7 School Boards and 66 Post Secondary Educational Institutions have banned/restricted bottled water.
  • In 2010, the City of Thunder Bay banned the distribution of bottled water in its facilities where tap water is easily accessible. The sale of water was to be discouraged.
  • Over the past 5 years, the City has made tap water  more easily accessible in existing municipal facilities; new buildings have water fountains and some have refillable water bottled stations.
  • The City has an ongoing tap water awareness program and provides water bars at public events.
  • Becoming a Blue Community supports water justice by resisting the corporate takeover of our shared water resources and helps to create a more healthy, clean and green community and planet.
  • “Say NO to Bottled Water – YES to Superior!

Council to Vote on Thunder Bay Becoming a Blue Community March 23

Last March, the Thunder Bay Council of Canadians asked City Council to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community. Council directed Administration to provide a report on the implications of becoming a Blue Community. The report will be presented on Monday, March 23rd at 6:30 pm at City Hall. (Council chambers, 3rd Floor) Our chapter will ask City Council to adopt the Blue Community Resolutions to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community.

There are 16 Blue Communities in Canada. Blue Communities adopt a water commons framework that treats water as belonging to no one and the responsibility of all. They adopt three resolutions that recognize the human right to water, promote public water and waste water services and ban (phase out) the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities where tap water is easily accessible.

The United Nations has recognized water as a human right. Water is a shared public resource, not a commodity to be bought and sold for huge profits. We need to resist the corporate takeover of water and celebrate our Superior water!

Help to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community.

Contact Mayor Hobbs and City Councillors and ask them to make Thunder Bay a Blue Community. (sample wording below) Pass the word to family and friends and plan to attend the Council meeting.

Thank you.

Administration`s Blue Community Report is available at


Councillors e-mail addresses

Sample Wording 

Mayor Hobbs and Council Members:

Our lakes and waterways are threatened by climate change, pollution, over-extraction and privatization. Water is essential to life and needs our urgent protection. Blue Communities confirm their leadership in the reasonable use, responsible treatment and fair distribution of water. Please confirm Thunder Bay as a leader in preserving and protecting the Great Lakes Watershed by making us a Blue Community.



Blue Community info available at (see Blue Planet) 

March 21 Rally to Protest Lack of Protection for our Lakes and Rivers

In 2012 the federal government removed environmental protection from almost all the lakes and rivers in Northwestern Ontario.  Water is essential to life – it must be protected.

The Thunder Bay Chapter is holding a rally to demand environmental protection for our lakes and rivers.

Date and Time:  Saturday, March 21 at 2pm                                                                             Location:  Neebing Floodway across from Intercity Shopping Mall

Homemade signs are welcome!

Canada Water Week Upcoming Events – March 16 to 22, 2015

Canada Water Week Upcoming Events – March 16 to 22, 2015

The Thunder Bay Environmental Film Network Presents: Divide in Concord
Wednesday March 18 at 7:30 PM at the Finlandia Club above the Hoito, 314 Bay Street
Ready, aim, revolution of an environmental kind heard round the world! Join Thoreau and the Thunder Bay Environmental Film Network for the screening of “DIVIDE IN CONCORD”. Divide in Concord is a feature-length documentary that follows the entertaining tale of the battle of banning bottled water in small town America. Admission is free, donations are appreciated and the post-film discussion won’t be watery. This is a scent free event. Bring everyone and see you at the movies! For more information visit

Know Your H20 Public Event
Thursday March 19 from 7 – 9 PM at Mariner’s Hall, Prince Arthur’s Landing (Marina Park)
Want to find out how water gets from Lake Superior to your home? Do you think microplastics are a problem in Lake Superior? Get to know your H 2 O! Join the City of Thunder Bay and EcoSuperior on March 19th from 7 – 9 pm at Mariner’s Hall for a free evening of presentations by local water experts. Enjoy the displays, light refreshments, and door prizes, in celebration of Canada Water Week. Get to know your H 2 O is presented by EcoSuperior and the City of Thunder Bay. For more information visit

Go Behind the Scenes at the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant
Friday March 20 from 10:30 AM – 12 PM at the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant
Ever wondered how Thunder Bay’s water is treated or how often our water gets tested each year? Find out how water gets from Lake Superior to your home on Friday, March 20th, and celebrate Canada Water Week with a tour of the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant. Transportation is provided so call EcoSuperior at 624-2140 for the pickup location and to reserve your seat on the bus. Tour presented by the City of Thunder Bay and EcoSuperior. For more information visit

Council of Canadians Rally for the Protection of our Lakes and Waterways
Saturday, March 21st at 2pm at the Neebing Floodway across from the Intercity Shopping Centre

Due to recent Federal Government legislation, most of  our northern lakes and waterways have lost their environmental protection. The Lake Superior Watershed is facing threats from climate change, pollution and toxic spills, over-extraction, privatization and invasive species. Water is life! We’re asking elected officials to stand up for our water. Home made signs are welcome!

Celebrate Canada Water Week – Free Children’s Event
Sunday March 22 from 12 – 4 PM a the Baggage Building Arts Centre at Prince Arthur’s Landing (Marina Park)
Join us on Sunday, March 22, in the Baggage Building Arts Centre, Prince Arthur’s Landing to celebrate Canada Water Week from 12 – 4 pm. This event includes free celebratory cake, face painting, a treasure hunt, movies, popcorn and more. Build a water turbine to make electricity, discover Lake Superior on a giant floor map, test your knowledge of water conservation. Join us for native crafts and stories about water, learn and see water bugs and reptiles that live in our waters. Learn where your drinking water comes from and take the ‘Back to the Tap’ pledge and receive a free water bottle (while supplies last). Activities are family oriented so come discover, learn and play together! For more information visit