Aug 242019
Richard Belanger and Sara Ward presented their plans for a new water bottling facility to Canal Flats residents on Thursday August 15th. Photo by Lizzie Midyette

Water bottling facility proposed in Canal Flats

Source of the Columbia Beverages Inc. promises jobs and financial investment into community

By Dean Midyette

Special to the Pioneer

At an open house held on Thursday August 15th, it was clear that the proponents of the new water bottling plant in Canal Flats are focused on realizing an aggressive timeline and are driven to success. CEO Richard Belanger and Director of Sales and Marketing Sara Ward met with residents, presented their plans to the community and answered questions about their new business venture.

The Source of The Columbia Beverages Inc. plans to construct a 7,000 square foot, $3 million water bottling facility that will be situated on the south side of Highway 95 in the northwest corner of The Flats RV Campground and will have the capacity to fill 6,000 500 ml bottles per hour*.

Mr. Belanger is a professional engineer whose resume includes international work with Bombardier and General Electric while Ms. Ward comes from a real estate background as well as having owned and operated an 18 hole executive golf course outside of Edmonton. The bottling plant will create 14 full time jobs initially, increasing to 22 full time positions when the facility reaches full capacity. New wells will be drilled near the facility to supply the plant and the village’s existing water supply will not be accessed.

Production is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and securing a water license is the primary focus for the project.

During the presentation, Mr. Belanger and Ms. Ward were very clear that they were committed to developing a business that is respectful to their employees, promising well paying full time employment, respect for environmental considerations and committing to supporting the community through infrastructure investments and programs like the food bank.

Mayor Karl Sterzer commented, “We were pleased to hear of the proposal by Mr. Belanger and his partner Sarah Ward regarding the water bottling facility proposed for Canal Flats. As we receive applications from their group we will proceed accordingly. In addition to The Source of The Columbia Beverages Inc,. the Village is currently engaged with several suitors for new businesses in Canal Flats and remain committed to engaging with the investors as they work through the approvals process.”

“We are not trying to be a large conglomerate”, noted Mr Belanger, adding that the type of aquifer upon which Canal Flats sits does not lend itself to large commercial extraction. What it does offer, he emphasized, is some of the purest water in North America.

To find out more about the project, visit their Facebook page at The Source of the Columbia Beverages.

Adolfo Hungrywolf

Smooth talking outsiders have been the curse of countless communities throughout the world!
Water and air—what would we do without them?
Stop this!!
Neil Hudson

Another company trying the same thing in Golden–I realize Canal Flats is suffering right now but I hope you don’t allow this industry to set up shop–plastics are an ecological disaster
Patricia Schwartz

They will have an unlimited supply of cheap water which will be a precious resource in future years. Is this really what we want?
Debbie Kilroe Tross

The people in the Valley needs to stop this asap!
Kim Hutton

I sincerly hope it is not going to be plastic bottles…….
Maye Afonso Hollick

Was it not said at the meeting that they would be taking 6000 bottles worth of water every HOUR 24/7 ??
Albert Bond

that is also what I heard.
Kim Hutton

6000 bottles per day…’initially” that leaves the door pretty wide open for much more….
Lorene Keitch

Hi Maye and Albert, thank you for raising this question. We talked to the proponent today, who confirmed they could produce 6,000 bottles per hour, not per day as our story initiallly stated. The Pioneer apologizes for this error.
Maye Afonso Hollick

Lorene Keitch Thank you for calling me back about this.. and for correcting it, the amount of water, as they mentioned at the meeting, of taking 6000 bottles worth of water per hour, is a very major part of the concern I have for our ecosystem.
Craig Johnson

Maye Afonso Hollick you also realize that most of the farms in the Vally far exceed this amount of consumption…. I’m just saying.
Carl Murphy

Craig Johnson hopefully they will be paying more than $2.25 per million litres
Let’s not forget the exploiting #nestlecanada has done for years

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