Nestle Abandons McCloud Water Bottling Project

by Shasta Cascade on September 11, 2009

McCloud, CA – Nestle Waters USA announced Friday that it has withdrawn its proposal to build a water bottling plant in McCloud. Nestle will also sell the old lumber mill in town, which was the proposed site of the water plant.

Nestle’s decision ends a long and contentious approval process that divided the town and pitted neighbors against each other.  Many in the community recognized the need for jobs and economic development, but others were outraged at the terms of the 100 year contract that the McCloud Community Services District signed with the Swiss food giant.  Others were concerned about the impact on the McCloud river, a pristine watershed known for its fishing.

Nestle’s decision ends one uncertainty, but creates another for McCloud: what does the town do now?  For now, there are few options.  McCloud’s economic base has suffered with the recession, and took another hit earlier this year when Terra-Mai, a local reclaimed wood company announced it was shuttering its McCloud operations and moving to Mt. Shasta.

Increasingly,  McCloud is becoming more of a bedroom community: a great place to spend the night on the way to something located elsewhere.

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On September 10th, the McCloud Service District received the following letter:

McCloud Community Services District & McCloud Community
P.O. Box 640
McCloud, CA 96057

Dear McCloud Community Services District & McCloud Community,

For the past several years we have worked together to develop a project proposal to build a water bottling facility in McCloud that we believe would be of benefit both to your community and our company. We have sincerely appreciated the time, input and patience both supporters and opponents have shown as all stakeholders considered our evolving project proposal in McCloud. We know that this dialogue has not been an easy process and we are grateful for your willingness to stay engaged and provide us with feedback every step of the way.

The nature and economics of our business require us to continuously evaluate new spring sources and potential project sites. As most of you know, this summer we were able to secure a site for a new bottling facility in the Sacramento area to help supply our customers in Northern California, the bulk of which reside in the Bay Area and Sacramento. The Sacramento plant will allow us to serve our Northern California customers with lower distribution costs and a reduced environmental footprint. As a result, and after conducting a thorough analysis, we have concluded that we no longer have a business need to build a new facility in McCloud and we are withdrawing our proposal to build a bottling facility in your community.

Protecting and sustainably managing the sources for our product has always been part of the mission for Nestlé Waters, and we are continually striving to improve our siting process. Thanks in large part to your input, we have learned a great deal since the time we first submitted our initial project proposal in McCloud. We have solicited and listened to feedback, refined and re-refined our project proposal, and undertaken new scientific studies that will provide important baseline information on the Squaw Creek watershed. The data produced by these ongoing studies can be used by the District and the McCloud community as you make water management decisions and consider other economic development opportunities in the future. Nestlé Waters plans to complete these two-years of baseline studies, and will ensure this information is made available to the District and community.

The importance of the Mill property to McCloud’s history and culture is a theme that we have heard from you since we began this project. At this time we are beginning the process of obtaining a current appraisal of the Mill property. Once that appraisal is completed, we will consider offers on the property from potential buyers.

Once again, let me thank you all for your engagement, consideration, and patience over the past six years.

Sincerely,

Kim Jeffery
CEO, Nestlé Waters North America

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