Nestlé did not outbid the Centre Wellington township
The former Middlebrook Water Bottling Co. was a permitted water bottling facility that had been on the market for approximately 10 years. In 2015, Nestlé Waters Canada began evaluating the Middlebrook spring water source for potential acquisition, subject to confirmation that the groundwater onsite meets its quality and quantity requirements. The Middlebrook site is intended to serve as a supplementary well to our Aberfoyle site, as we currently we do not have a back up in place.
Prior to our initial offer, we reached out to the Centre Wellington Township to determine their interest in the property and at the time, they were not interested in it. In March 2015, Nestlé Waters Canada put an offer on the property subject to a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change permit and pump test, which would scientifically test the water quantity and quality.
During this process, Nestlé Waters Canada fully engaged with the community: hosting over 120 office hours in 2015 & 2016, and community open houses with Nestlé Waters Canada staff and third party experts who answered questions on the data they collected.
In July 2016, an anonymous party made a counter-offer to purchase this property, and under the terms of our original purchase agreement, Nestlé Waters Canada exercised our first right of refusal, and purchased the property according to the March 2015 original agreement. Shortly after, Nestlé Waters Canada learned that anonymous counter offer was from Centre Wellington.
Throughout this period, Nestlé Waters Canada engaged the Township of Centre Wellington to identify concrete proposals to help the Township address the long-term quality and quantity of groundwater. This included a letter on September 30, 2016 and a presentation to Township Council on December 12, 2016. Nestlé Waters Canada offered to donate the Middlebrook property to the Township and proposed to further discussions on collaborating with the Town on the future of the Middlebrook property.
In October 2016, the Ontario government announced a moratorium on all new and expanded water bottling permits. The moratorium means that there will not be a pump test on the Middlebrook water source during this period.
In response to our proposal for collaboration on the Middlebrook property, Centre Wellington stated that they would not engage with Nestlé Waters on the potential for a partnership given the moratorium.
While we respect the moratorium and the position of the Township, we continue to be open to working with Centre Wellington and residents to explore opportunities for partnership.