NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release August 12, 2002 Contacts: Terry Swier 231-972-8856
Jim Olson Olson & Bzdok, P.C.: 231-946-0044 Jim Samuels 231-796-8858
Voters say NO to Perrier/Ice Mountain in Mecosta County and Osceola Township
The voters of Mecosta County turned out in record numbers during the primary to vote on the Ice Mountain (owned by Nestles Waters of America, Inc., formerly Perrier/Great Spring Waters of America, Inc.) water controversy. The question "Shall Amendment #248 to the Mecosta County Zoning Ordinance to rezone certain property in Mecosta Township from AG, Agricultural, to C-2 Commercial as requested in rezoning request 20-0317 be approved?" Perrier requested the rezoning of property located at 8 Mile and US 131 in Stanwood. The zoning ordinance amendment was rejected by a 3 to 2 margin. Terry Swier, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and resident of Mecosta County said, "The no vote made clear that Mecosta County’s citizens do not support Perrier/Great Spring Waters of America, Inc./Nestle Waters of America, Inc./Ice Mountain’s bottling plant nor its bottling of our water for its profit."
The total votes cast were NO 3,123 and YES 1,521. It was defeated in both Morton and Mecosta Townships. The number of votes cast in Mecosta Township were 330 with 200 voting no. In Morton Township 1,034 ballots were cast with 772 voting no. The rezoning was vetoed in all of the Mecosta County townships.
In January 2001, residents of Mecosta County circulated petitions to obtain enough signatures to force an election on zoning changes in Mecosta Township and Morton Township requested by Perrier/Great Spring Waters of America, Inc./Nestle Waters of America, Inc./Ice Mountain. More than the required signatures were obtained for both petitions drives.
In Osceola Township opponents obtained 145 signatures, four times the number needed for an election on the rezoning of property from Open to Industrial as requested by Perrier/Great Spring Waters of America, Inc./Nestle Waters of America, Inc. The rezoning was defeated by 83 votes and the amendment to article 2 to add section 2.18 to add water wells and pipelines was defeated by 91 votes. Rhonda Huff, vice president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and resident of Osceola Township said, "I think the outcome of the vote should send a clear message to our township officials and state elected officials that the Perrier project is not wanted."
Jim Olson, attorney for Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, said "This vote demonstrates that Michigan citizens do not want water sold out from under them for the sake of private gain, at least not without their consent through a law passed by the legislature that protects the public trust and the water needed for existing and future farming, recreation, and business."
Terry Swier President
Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation
231-972-8856 phone and fax