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Bruce County Mayors express positions at hearing on proposed DGR

 

 by Sandy Lindsay

 

October 10, 2013

DGR

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Mayors throughout Bruce County had the opportunity today (Oct. 10/13) in Port Elgin to express their position at the on-going hearings surrounding the proposed deep geologic repository (DGR) at the Bruce Nuclear site.

Mayor Larry Kraemer (Kincardine)

"The DGR was one of my key platforms at election and I felt it was very important and I spoke very openly about it and felt everyone knew of my position.

I have listened to the suggestion that this (waste) should be left as is (status quo on the surface).  The waste is actually the property of the people of Ontario and our people (residents) have said, we have stepped forward for a permanent highest standard solution and we believe this (DGR) is the highest standard.

I have traveled all over the world to make sure I was on the right track for this.  From 2000 to 2003, we had already given thought to how we should ensure and justify the acceptance of our people by how to communicate the highest standard with them.

We believe we have done the best job with our people and I wanted to see this through and the standard being characterized by others opens a lot of questions by those who don't have to answer to constituents.

It also opens all kinds of consequences, i.e., how would you get the depth of education and knowledge that we have given to our community; what responsibility should they (residents) accepts; what are the geographic considerations?

We are now at the end of the 4th term of office and it is a remarkable example of democracy and that we have been able to see it through.  Under the duties of the Mayor is to give advice to Council but it's their duty to accept it; as mayors we have to give advice to council; to represent a Council and the people at all kinds of events, including this (hearing), to have faith in how democracy works and to use our best judgment.  Councils have ssen a

Today, (Oct.10/13) there was a submission by Liz Dadson of the Kincardine Times who has been following this in Kincardine from the beginning.  She is a member of the press and said that, 'anyone who wants to know about this can' ... and I believe that is true.

This process has been very fulsom. Communication has been beyond anything I have experienced in my life and I have done everything in my power to ensure people understand and I trust my colleagues who have answered questions brought forward to them in the full eye of the media."

Mayor Mike Smith (Saugeen Shores)

"I am going to go back.  I have been a member on council for more than 20 years and was there when the discussions when Kincardine asked for a long-term solution that lead to the DGR. 

As an elected official, you go out to all kinds of events for service clubs, meetings relevant to this and are talking all the time to your residents and, if you don't do that, I can assure you ... you won't be on council.

Knowing that this was a Kincardine project that they had set up the process and hosting agreement  specific to Kincardine ... the people thought this was going to happen, they were comfortable with what was happening at the Bruce site and that they would be able to express their opinions in a forum such as this but we weren't as intimately involved as was Kincardine.

Regarding the hosting agreement, I can assure you there were some lengthy discussions at our council about the project and it was just after re-structuring in 1999 that the old Ontario Hydro MPAC grants terminated. 

When the Bruce announced the refurbishment of Bruce B and the heavy water plant, approximately 8,000 workers were brought it.  It was the largest construction site in North America and it overwhelmed these communities.  There weren't enough schools or hospitals and we struggled. We made Ontario Hydro aware of the problems and they established a temporary camp at the site but most wanted to live in  the communities.  So, those MPAC grants were a big socio-economic impact on the communities.

The town of Southampton, for instance, still has debentures incurred for improvements to water and sewage treatment plants in 1975.   MPAC grants were a way to address these issues and when they stopped I and the mayor at the time lobbied the Minister that we had taken a loss of funding and were struggling.

That's where the hosting agreement comes in but, Saugeen Shores had no part in it, did not negotiate it, did not sign it or to pass a motion in support of it.

The discussions were at times heated but we felt no obligation as we did not sign it.  Any questions we might have heard or why we did not have input into it ... it was all in the framework of the lost MPAC grants."

Warden David Inglis (aka Mayor of Brockton)

'I was not asked to come here but came of my own accord to clarify this information that prevails around a host agreement with Bruce County and Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

This is a chronological  testimony as to what happened since late 2004.

Sept. 16, 2004:  Bruce County staff received notice that a low level waste facility was being considered for the Bruce Power site.  Bruce County staff requested OPG make a presentation to County Council

Sept. 30, 2004:  A staff report was delivered to Corporate Services Committee regarding a summary of the project and possible taxation impact where it was said that the taxation element was well underway with some local municipalities.  County was informed OPG used the formula originally designed for the MPAC grants that had included the County.  The formula was also based on 'payment in lieu of non-taxable properties' and when lower tier municipalities amalgamated, the benchmark was exceeded and the grants were decreased.

The County has not received MPAC grants since 1998 when it was $234,845 (Sept 24/04).

Bruce County had not been included in any discussions up to that point and was not engaged in the hosting agreement.

 

 

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We were further advised that OPG was to attend County Council in November, 2004.  It was then that Mr.Terry Squire of OPG presented council with a DGR report for low and intermediate waste for the Kincardine site which was referred to the Corporate Services Committee and Finance Division .  A resolution was passed in a recorded vote supporting in principle setting out two stipulations:

  • OPG, Kincardine and the Province [MPAC] determine a method of taxation and ..

  • OPG level a guarantee of taxation

Bruce County advised Terry Squire that the "County requires a minimum of $250,000 in taxation for the site" and then County staff discovered that OPG had agreed to a MOU that Kincardine Council would agree to no less than $250,000 for the site

Staff recommended County endorse the project .... however, no agreement had been defined outlining the terms of taxation.

OPG was provided with a copy of the report.

In summary, no agreement came forward to County Council surrounding taxation.  In 2004, the media reported an agreement had been reached between Bruce County and OPG ... this was not the case.

The public record should clearly show that Bruce County does not have a hosting agreement with OPG.  It is important that no agreement has been written or approved by Bruce County or for taxation or compensation."

Glen Sutton (former Mayor, Kincardine)

"I believe that the Municipality of Kincardine (MOK) and OPG worked together to create an agreement that reflects 'best practices' in the international community for long term storage of Low Level Waste (LLW) and Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) at the Bruce Site underground in a deep geologic repository (DGR).

A detailed communications plan was prepared by OPG and MOK that consisted of eight steps:

  • updates of the council (routinely televised)

  • regular mail-outs of brochures and newsletters

  • newspaper ads

  • OPG trailer at public events

  • regular open houses

  • a Community Consultation Office on Kincardine main street staff by MOK council member and OPG staff

  • OPG meetings with resident associations

  • hard copies of reports and studies at local libraries

During 2002 and 2003, MOK Council members went on field trips to Europe and the USA to tour different facilities built to store LLW and ILW.

Based on the tips, we determined international 'best practices' and studied community consultation methods, compensation practices, actual storage methods and technologies, lessons learned and what constituted a 'willing host community.

From these we discovered that a 'willing host community' is an informed community ready to accept new business or technology and where public engagement is a major part of the process.

Following the trips and an independent assessment study (IAS), we arrived at three options:

  • enhanced processing, treatment and long-term storage

  • covered above-ground concrete vault

  • deep geologic repository (DGR)

We felt that DGR option was the best recommendation.

After extensive community consultation and engagement, MOK Council developed a preamble and question to be submitted to ratepayers for consideration and, so, went ahead with a telephone poll that obtained a majority ratepayer support.  It was following this that the MOK agreed to become a Willing Host Community for both Low Level and Intermediate Level Waste but excluded High Level Waste (HLW).

We consider the agreement as a partnership and I firmly believe the process used by the MOK and OPG has met or exceeded the above principles to determined that our Municipality of Kincardine is, in fact, a Willing Host Community for both Low Level Waste and Intermediate Level Waste."


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Thursday, October 10, 2013