Fern Avenue elementary won’t be getting a water vending machine after all, and now parents – with the help of the Council of Canadians – say they’ll fight to stop the Toronto board from putting any more in its schools.
Right now, the only water refill vending machine – which charges 50 cents for water and $1 for watered-down juice – is at Parkdale Collegiate. It was installed last week as part of a pilot project that was to include Fern Ave., and meant to help eliminate the use of plastic water bottles and encourage the use of reusable water bottles, as well as generate revenue.
However, a handful of Fern parents were up in arms about the move, saying the board has no business introducing a vending machine to their school to sell chilled, filtered tap water or any sugary drink, even if it is naturally flavoured.
At a school council meeting Thursday night, parents voted down the move. Some 94 have also signed a petition opposing the vending machine.
“The bottled water industry and the water privatization industry have been looking at other ways to sell water” now that school boards and municipalities are looking to be environmentally responsible, said Mark Calzavara, the Council of Canadians’ organizer for Ontario, who attended the meeting.