Apr 12, 2012
Canada’s Saugeen Shores the first underground nuclear waste storage?
Concerned citizens hold meeting to look at DGR selection process
By TRACEY RICHARDSON , SUN TIME STAFF
Posted 3 days ago
More than 200 people turned out for a public meeting Saturday in Southampton to hear more about Saugeen Shores possibly vying to become the site of Canada’s first underground repository for high-level nuclear waste.
The meeting was organized by Save Our Saugeen Shores and the Southampton Residents Association. It was in response to the lack of public consultation in the process so far, said SOS’s Cheryl Grace. The Easter weekend was chosen to try and get seasonal residents to attend, she said.
“Our goal was to try to set up a town hall public meeting, because the town and the public nuclear waste management organization weren’t providing that type of forum.”
The featured speaker Saturday was John Jackson of Great Lakes United, a non-profit advocacy group for a healthy and sustain-a ble Great Lakes. Saugeen Shores councillors Taun Frosst and Gary Brown were also in attendance, Grace said.
The meeting was mostly an informational one. “We invited everybody,” she said. “I think one of the issues is a lot of people don’t really know about this, so one of our goals is to give people information about exactly what this proposal is and how it could affect our community.”
Saugeen Shores is one of about 10 communities in the country, including at least two other municipalities in Bruce County, which have asked to be considered as a host site. On May 14, Saugeen Shores council is set to decide whether to pro-c eed to the second step of a multi-step selection process.
If council gives its nod, then a screening process would be launched to determine whether there are obvious conditions — such as native land claims or geological factors — that would exclude Saugeen Shores.
“There’s no project like this that has ever been completed and operating anywhere in the world,” said Grace. “And a lot of the science that’s being discussed by the nuclear waste management organization is based on computer modeling.”
Grace said her group is concerned about the health and safety of future generations. It’s also concerned about what it might do to property values in the area. She added that any job creation from a successful proposal would probably be 20 years away.
If council decides not to proceed further in the repository process, Grace said it likely wouldn’t be the end of her group.
“I know that for me, I really feel strongly that it would be a mistake to place this anywhere near the Great Lakes, so I would like to stay engaged in the process.”