TEESWATER – The tension level near the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) in South Bruce reached a new height on Oct. 30 when some residents found damaged road signs in Teeswater, one allegedly cut in half by a chainsaw.
Somebody targeted three private properties sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
According to Ron Groen, Protect Our Waterways-No Nuclear Dump (POW-NNW) board member who inspected the damage, all properties reported ruined No Nuclear Dump signs.
“This is a planned act of property destruction,” he said in a Oct. 30 press release, “this was not a spur of the moment thing.”
It said damage to signs and private property only strengthens our resolve to resist the establishment of a nuclear dump in South Bruce.
“Residents have a democratic right to express their opinions. If Mayor Buckle and members of South Bruce council say the community should be willing to listen – then they must protect the rights of residents to put up lawn signs that express their opinion.”
POW-NNW is calling on Mayor Buckle and councillors to condemn these acts of vandalism on ratepayer properties.
POW-NNW says they will continue to be a supportive voice for the growing opposition of residents in South Bruce.
“With every intimidation and every act of damage, our resolve is strengthened,” the release stated.
This incident is not the first time that community members who choose to display signs on their property have had problems.
In May, some of the signs were removed under the county’s order, citing by-laws regarding proximity to the road. The signs were put back up, but they were placed on private property, at least 50 feet from the roadway.
“This is an emotional issue, but damaging the property of residents and landowners in close proximity to the optioned and purchased NWMO land would appear counterproductive to winning the favour of those people who directly surround the proposed dump site,” said Michelle Stein, chair person of POW-NNW.
She said, “This isn’t the best way to win people to your cause and these types of actions are exactly why Protect Our Waterways is needed in the community. Signs can be replaced, and we will continue to resist through peaceful, yet assertive dialogue.”
The group is requesting that NWMO and council members of South Bruce answer the calls of a large and growing segment of the community for a referendum on the issue.
Bill Noll, Vice President of POW-NNW said, “We will not relent, and our organization will seek all available avenues to bring a democratic vote on this project to the people of South Bruce.”
The NWMO responded to the Advance Times for comment on the damaged signs.
“Any act of vandalism is inappropriate, we do not condone this behaviour and encourage residents to report any concerns to the appropriate authorities,” said Becky Smith, regional communications manager for the NWMO.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times