Why is SOS holding on to the idea of Free Access to the Ancaster Well?

SOS is a website and Facebook page and has come to represent continued free access to the Ancaster Well in the digital community. This website continues to get 100’s of hits a day and the SOS Facebook page continues to receive likes as more people have become more engaged in the well debate.

The SOS website has hosted multiple surveys, and the overwhelming majority of people that drink the water from the Ancaster Well are healthy and active and believe the water poses no health risk.  The majority of people also believe that the land transfer deed should be honoured.

Please have your say by using the link here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RS25JXV

SOS started as a small group of people but we splintered, we started on the premise of protecting free access, and then so it goes, half of the group was content to fall in step with the fence plan, and others not.  SOS was supposed to be the voice of the community, and the community was saying, leave our water alone, and waving a land deed that needs to have its day in court, BEFORE any changes can be made to the property.

So does that make SOS supporters “tin hatters”?  Web comments and messages come in good and bad.  There are some that believe that SOS is embroiled in believing in some Nestle conspiracy theory, this could not be further from the truth.  SOS has never accused Councillor Ferguson of trying to Privatize the water in the concept of water bottling, what SOS stands firm on is that the land deed clearly states Public access, and the Fencing/Swipe Card system makes the water the Private Property of the HCA.

During the months of active research prior to the SOS groups splinter, we found a bevy of inconsistencies in the HCA’s claim that they were under a “Health Order” to shut the well.  In a nut shell we felt that we had complied good evidence that supported the well staying open with only a change of signage necessary.  We penned a letter to the HCA with our findings on Sept 5th, and never received a response.

We found that the classification of “Small Drinking Water System” is a voluntary classification.  The HCA needs only to send a letter to the Health Dept. stating that the Ancaster Well does not comply with the description of a small drinking water system, cause it doesn’t, it really doesn’t, the rules don’t apply.  All that is needed is a sign saying use at your own risk. The health dept is not going to shut down the well.

We suggested that to the HCA in our letter of Sept 5th, and further suggested that if they did not have an appetite to continue to support the land deed that they consider selling the Ancaster Well to a reputable community group.

So that’s how stuff got controversial, our Councillor decided that all suggestions for the Ancaster Well should go through him, he invited the SOS group and the PAWs group to his office and announced he had found a solution, a fence, security system, swipe card, and stopping testing the well.  He moved the vote for the well’s “solution” from the November HCA board meeting to Oct, he made a motion for the fence, it passed, he then told the community at the next SOS Community meeting that it was done solved please go home, no further discussions, he was pleased, he saved the well from imminent closure.

Not so fast……….

The fence is not necessary, they did what was suggested, they sent a letter to the Health Dept., saying hey we switched it up, the Ancaster Well is no longer a small drinking water system, we are putting up a fence and making it private.  Health Dept says OK, they are not concerned it is a voluntary classification.  The HCA could as easily said the same without a fence and swipe card, the fence and swipe card are not a requirement of the Health Dept. it is again a voluntary action of the HCA.  The HCA could of and should of stayed within the restrictive covenants of the land deed, they should of told the Health Dept. that they were legally bound by a land transfer document, and that the Well did not meet the requirements of a small drinking water system, installed a voluntary donation box to help cover costs, and sucked up the liability and public access as they agreed.

But instead on recommendation from Councillor Ferguson, they built a chain link fence around the well, and installed a swipe card and surveillance system on the well, and all within about 30 days of the motion at the HCA board meeting.

Does the fence and swipe card add value to the community or the HCA? Many SOS supporters feel that the fence and swipe card are not necessary and should be removed as they are in violation of the land deed.

A new group of active Water Warriors formed out of this community exercise, called PAWS, Protecting Ancaster Well’s, they have backed free access to the Ancaster Well from the start, and their dedicated group of volunteers continue to research and write letters to Politicians, to reverse the fencing decision, they have started crowd funding for legal defence of the Ancaster Well.

PAWS, also has it’s own FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE to facilitate on going disucussions.

To find out more about PAWS – and to donate to their legal fund click here.

And now we should all go back to minding our own business right?  Wait! There are still unanswered questions regarding the Ancaster Well – this is a serious enough issue that asking for a public debate and investigation into what happens to the land deed, or asking for a second opinion as to whether the HCA has the right to nullify the land deed should not be met with threats of slander and law suits from the man who championed the fence.

If you think the community has the right to challenge the decision of the HCA to fence in the Ancaster Well, you can show your support in a couple of ways.

We could all donate 10.00 to the PAWS fund and ensure that the Ancaster Well has its day in court.

You can also show the HCA that you care about the Ancaster Well this season by leaving them a lock of love on their Chain Link fence.

Your lock of love does not have to be a brand new 20$ lock, this should be a symbolic gesture of love and kindness to the Ancaster Well, it can be whatever you like.  Hang a note – tie a ribbon – hang a lock – show you care this holiday season – Dec 22- Jan 2nd the HCA will be on holiday and when they return the swipe card system will be in place and there will be no more free access to the Ancaster Well.

If you have never visited the Ancaster Well, perhaps over this festive season you might want to go and check it out before the idea of free water is but a distant memory in our collective psyche.