McCloud hears new water bottling proposal

Shareen Strauss
Vincent Estell of Estellco Holdings, talks of a water bottling proposal to concerned citizens of McCloud that will include McCloud's legacy and story.

McCloud residents heard about a new water bottling proposal last Wednesday during a presentation at Scout Hall by Vincent Estell of Estellco Holdings and members of his team.

After making a secure purchase agreement on 4.5 acres of private property near one of McCloud’s water sources, the group unofficially calling itself McCloud Water is proposing a boutique water bottling plant whose products will feature the town’s name.

“We want to use McCloud in the name and we are looking to the McCloud community for suggestions,” said Estell.

McCloud Community Services District General Manager Wayne Grigsby said the property is not being annexed into the district “because they are not requesting any services like snow removal or sewer hookup.”

He said Siskiyou Local Agency Formation Commission, known as LAFCo, “is allowing us to sell a commodity to generate revenue for our community. This group is using their own funds to put in power, a septic system, and roads that they will maintain themselves.”

The proposed volume of water to be used at the beginning of the operation is 82 gallons per minute for an eight hour shift. McCloud would be paid 2 cents per gallon and one percent of revenue.

“We are limited to 82 gallons per minute vs. Nestle at 1,250 gallons per minute,” said Estell. “We will brand the product based on McCloud, not a large international brand. This will be a higher end product with select distributions. We already have major retail stores we will be providing for. This proposal should prove to have limited impacts on the environment and quality of life based on: limited production, limited truck traffic (3.53 trucks per week to start), no bottle manufacturing on site and no plastic bottle containers.”

Estell said the proposed plan would create 8 to 12 jobs in the local community in the first five years.

“This will also create many indirect jobs in the area,” he added. “This is a significant positive impact for the community with no negative financial liabilities realized.”

Dennis Dalton, a lifelong McCloud resident who was on the board of directors during the Nestle years, said, “82 gallons per minute is not even one block of watering our lawns.”

McCloud resident Barbara Korb, said, “The District created the whole Nestle conflict. There should be a committee from the public to work with this project.”

Resident Joan Dillon, says, “Thank god. We need the revenue. We need to know that people are still interested in our small community and what it has to offer. This will enhance our image.”

Estell described himself as an entrepreneur who listed accomplishments such as developing large industrial parks, shopping centers, commercial trucking and meat processing plants and more.

“Our motto is: ‘Something good for the community to be proud of,’” he said.

Speaking to McCloud Recreation Council President Patty Ballard-Faulkner, Estell, said, “As a team, I am wrapping my arms around you. Are you aware that water is a living thing?”