Two takes on water plant

The continuing controversy over the Nestlé Corp.’s proposal to build a huge water bottling plant in the historic town of McCloud, near Mount Shasta, now has entered the “dueling reports” stage.

Both Nestlé and project opponents have produced economic and environmental analyses of the proposed project, and to nobody’s surprise, they disagree totally.

The McCloud Watershed Council’s report—prepared by Eugene, Ore.-based ECONorthwest—says the plant would be buying its spring water from the local community services district at a price far below market value and would be unlikely to create a significant net gain of long-term, permanent jobs. It also would have a negative impact on tourism, the base of the local economy.

The pro report—prepared for the Siskiyou County Economic Development Council by Dr. David Gallo of the Center for Economic Development at Chico State University—calculates that the plant will provide more than 477 full- and part-time jobs and as much as $23 million in income for local residents.

The plant, which would be built on the site of the town’s former mill, is now undergoing a second environmental review.