Council group to examine Nestlé proposal

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008 2:27pm
  • News

By Kevin Hanson-The Courier-Herald

The first meeting of an ad hoc committee assigned to examine Nestlé's Enumclaw proposal is planned for Thursday.

The session gets under way at 6 p.m. in council chambers of Enumclaw City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave.

The committee consists of Mike Ennis, Jeff Beckwith and Kevin Mahelona, the three longest-serving members of the Enumclaw City Council. Ennis has been named chairman.

Nestlé, an international giant responsible for products ranging from candy bars to pet food, recently announced its desire to open a water bottling plant in Enumclaw. Through its Nestlé Waters North America division, the company hopes to draw from the city's Boise Springs water supply and bottle the water in a plant in town.

Preliminary plans indicate Nestlé would pull about 274,000 gallons of water daily from the spring, operate its bottling plant around the clock and account for perhaps 100 truck trips (on average) through Enumclaw daily. Nestlé wants to dip directly into the spring, rather than pulling water from the city's established water system.

Nestlé operates such facilities throughout the United States and has been looking at adding a location in the Pacific Northwest. Regionally, Nestlé bottles its water primarily under the Arrowhead label.

The city hosted a June 2 workshop on the proposal and, at that time, it was determined that an ad hoc committee would be formed to handle much of the information-gathering process. The committee will eventually report its findings to the full seven-person council.

Ennis said Thursday's meeting will likely be devoted to mundane issues like determining how often the committee will meet, rather than diving into the heart of the Nestlé proposal. But that's not for certain, he said, noting that an agenda for the evening has not been set.

All meetings of council committees are open to the public.

Being “open,” however, does not mean the public gets to participate.

“Generally, at committee meetings, we don't take formal comments from the audience,” Ennis said. A committee can open the floor to public comment if it chooses, and that's something that will likely be addressed Thursday, he added.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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