HURON-KINLOSS – Michelle Stein and Bill Noll of the Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste group addressed Huron-Kinloss council June 21 on the matter of misinformation vs facts with the proposed deep geological repository (DGR).
The focus of their presentation was the need for a referendum – the sooner, the better – to determine the willingness of the community to host the repository.
They told council that the source of much of their information is the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) itself.
For example, there’s a misconception the DGR would remove nuclear waste from the lakeshore. It won’t. This waste must be cooled above ground for at least 30 years before it can be moved.
There’s also the misconception DGRs are the internationally-accepted best practice, when in fact, there are no operating DGRs for spent nuclear fuel in the world right now. The WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) in New Mexico is the only DGR in the world.
The DGR is being presented by NWMO as Canada’s plan, when, according to Stein and Noll, it is the nuclear industry’s plan, and they haven’t invested in other options.
“The NWMO urges everyone to ‘learn more,’ but only their information,” said the two presenters. They described the NWMO as “a sales team.”
As for the stipulation that the DGR will be hosted by “an informed and willing community, when to they decide we’ve learned enough?” Stein and Noll asked. “The people are asking for a referendum.”
Coun. Ed McGugan thanked them for “speaking up,” saying, “When someone comes into your backyard, you have a right to ask why they’re there.”
Deputy Mayor Don Murray had a different view. “Let’s see this through,” he said.
Coun. Jim Hanna, who described himself as a “big proponent of the NWMO project,” spoke of continuing to ask questions.
It was Coun. Lillian Abbott who asked Stein and Noll where they got their information. She was told much of it comes “right off the NWMO website,” while other information comes from various organizations and scientists around the world.
When asked what they would do to safely store Canada’s nuclear waste, Stein and Noll would prefer to leave it where it is for the time being.
“It can stay where it is for another two decades … let other people figure it out. There is no rush, except from the nuclear industry. They want to get this out of the way. Let someone else experiment.”
Abbott said that we’re happy enough to use nuclear energy; we have a responsibility to solve the waste storage problem.”
Noll said it’s going to have to be stored aboveground for 30 years anyway; at least aboveground, if anything goes wrong, it can be fixed.
Huron-Kinloss was the last municipality to be eliminated from the running to become the host community for the DGR. The two remaining municipalities are South Bruce and Ignace.
Point Clark Museum
Council approved a report recommending the hiring of Blue Rhino Designs to develop an implementation plan for the Point Clark Lighthouse Museum.
The original idea had been to apply for a Trillium Foundation grant, but the application was unsuccessful. However, the NWMO provided $30,000 for a redesign plan.
The purpose of the project is to bring in a consultant to review the museum exhibits and make recommendations to revitalize the lightkeeper’s house. The report stated Blue Rhino Designs has done projects in Bruce and Grey counties and has revitalized many small museums around the world.
Council updated on golf cart pilot
In March, the Ministry of Transportation announced a pilot program that would permit on-road use of golf carts on Pelee Island and in Huron-Kinloss.
In May, council approved participating in the project.
The MTO has informed council the regulation permitting “golf cars” has been passed. The framework sets out operator and vehicle requirements. The pilot project will assess use of the vehicles for 10 years to determine safety, and whether existing rules of the road are adequate.
Municipal bylaws will need to be passed to allow “golf cars” to be used on municipal roads.
Staff are reviewing regulations and formulating procedures to ensure the township can meet the requirements of the pilot. Staff are also collaborating with the OPP on enforcement.
There will be costs incurred for signage, registration and reporting tools.
COVID emergency update
Mayor Mitch Twolan commented that the number of new cases of COVID-19 is coming down, and “they’re talking about opening the borders a bit.” He correctly predicted the province would enter stage two earlier than planned.
Clerk Emily Dance thanked members of the public for the way they have handled the municipal office being closed, and related matters.
Congratulations to MPP Lisa Thompson
Deputy Mayor Don Murray congratulated MPP Lisa Thompson on her appointment as the new minister of agriculture.
“It’s great for our local riding,” he said.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times