SOUTH BRUCE – The question of who and what determines the term “willingness” as it pertains to the deep geological repository (DGR), will be discussed with residents and ratepayers over the next few months.
The township hired GHD Limited to consult with the community about this as an independent party that will only provide input from South Bruce residents.
Katrina McCullough, a community engagement specialist with GHD, outlined the consultation process at the May South Bruce Community Liaison Committee meeting.
Starting in June, residents will have access to multiple opportunities to express their views on the concept of willingness and what it means to them.
The consultation will include virtual community workshops, an online survey, monthly drop-in Zoom calls, and one-on-one discussions with GHD consultants.
Residents of South Bruce called for an independent process on how willingness is determined for the multi-billion-dollar project.
“The community provided their feedback last fall, and we listened. Council values the input of our residents, and we revised the Guiding Principles to reflect what was shared with us,” Mayor Robert Buckle said.
Principle No. 9 says, “The municipality will, in collaboration with community members, develop and establish an open and transparent process that will allow the community to express its level of willingness to host the project.”
The GHD described its role as an independent facilitator retained by the municipality. They are going to consult with the community on how South Bruce will determine the term ‘willingness.’
“We commit to providing a safe space for the community to provide meaningful input on what willingness looks like and how its defined,” said the company.
There will be three phases to the consultation process, with Phase 1 running from May to June.
The GHD consultants will be asking the following questions:
1. What is important to you when the municipality measures the community's willingness to host the project?
2. What information do you need to participate meaningfully?
3. There are a variety of ways the municipality can measure willingness. What do you like/dislike about each and why?
4. Are there other ways of measuring willingness that you would like the municipality to consider?
Phase 2 will be held from July – August, when GHD will report back to the community on their results, with a final presentation of the results to council in November 2021.
Council will then determine the measurements of willingness considering what the community expressed.
The municipality says participation is a crucial component of working towards an informed decision on this significant project, as council will not consider participation as support for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization project.
Later in May, the municipality will mail information to all South Bruce residents on participating in this essential consultation.
Information will also be regularly updated on the municipality’s Switchboard page at www.southbruceswitchboard.ca.
The community is encouraged to reach out to GHD and the South Bruce Exploration Team with their feedback and suggestions. They can be reached by phone at 519-340-3973 or toll-free at 1-833-583-2613, or by email at email@example.com.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times