The much-anticipated January 12 McCloud Services District (MCSD) meeting – where Nestle Waters wanted the board to enter into new negotiations with the company – found Nestle receiving a tepid welcome from the board, and a largely negative response from residents.
Ultimately, the MCSD board decided to put off making any decisions for two weeks, and many residents (and board member Brian Stewart) even questioned the need to deal with this issue within two weeks (a commenter on the Siskiyou Daily Web site asked why the MCSD was once again letting Nestle set the agenda).
After the directors had their say, many members of the audience stood up to speak. The first speaker began by saying that the MCSD should “think about what is best for McCloud, not just the MCSD.” She went on to say that she believes that there are other economic opportunities in McCloud’s future, adding that she believes that the people of McCloud don’t have enough information to make an informed decision on the issue.
The speaker said that she ultimately wants the MCSD to tell Nestlé, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” which met with applause from one half of the room.
After many speakers in opposition to moving forward with negotiations or simply opposition to having a bottling plant, some stood up to speak either in favor of the project, or at least keep it as a viable option.
Brought up at the meeting was a recent California Supreme Court Decision which mandates an Environmental Impact Review before a contract is signed on any project having an appreciable impact on ecosystems, watersheds or other environmental systems.
While the MCSD could certainly negotiate a contract with Nestle without signing it until the EIR was complete, because Nestle did zero flow monitoring and environmental review prior to this year, the EIR won’t be complete for some time.
This leaves us asking the MCSD – what’s the rush? Why decide to enter into negotiations in two weeks when there simply won’t be any clear idea how much water is available?