SRA president calls for new host agreement, more money for Saugeen Shores, at DGR hearing
By Liz Dadson
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Ken Robertson says the host agreement between Kincardine and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is fundamentally flawed, and that Saugeen Shores should have received more money due to its proximity to the proposed site.
The president of the Saugeen Residents' Association (SRA) gave his presentation Saturday (Oct. 5), Day 17 of the Joint Review Panel hearing into OPG's proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) for low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste at the Bruce Nuclear site in the Municipality of Kincardine.
Representing more than 750 members of the SRA, Robertson said the majority are property owners in Southampton, located on the shores of Lake Huron, just 20 miles north of the proposed DGR.
The SRA and its predecessors, the Southampton Beach Association and the Southampton Property Owners Association, have been representing the interests of Southampton residents in many ways, said Robertson, focusing on protecting the unique nature of Southampton, promoting appropriate planning and development, assisting citizens in voicing concerns with the appropriate level of government, and. supporting and promoting local businesses.
"We are not anti-nuclear," said Robertson. "In fact, we appreciate the many contributions made in our community by Bruce Power and OPG and their employees, and acknowledge the significant positive economic impact they have on our municipality.
"We are anti-DGR. We believe there must be a better way - whether by recycling or a better place to put all of Canada's nuclear waste rather than burying it on the shores of Lake Huron."
He said the SRA strongly disagrees with the processes and tactics used by OPG and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) which is assisting on the regulatory approvals portion of this project."The host agreement, negotiated by the Municipality of Kincardine, is grossly unfair," said Robertson. "This is a clear example of powerful industry money overwhelming small-town Ontario."
A review of the agreement details payments to Kincardine and adjacent communities that total about $40-million over 30 years.
"That's to bury 200,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste," said Robertson, adding there are strings attached to these payments in that the community must do its best to support the project.He questioned why Kincardine and adjacent municipalities were receiving only $200/cubic metre, while other areas, such as Carlsbad, New Mexico, were receiving $1,600/cubic metre to store the nuclear waste, and that's above-ground.
Robertson asked who is accountable for this agreement and the financial mismanagement?
He also questioned the property value protection plan negotiated by Kincardine and OPG, saying it does not adequately protect property values in the municipalities included in the agreement.
"One of our biggest risks is losses based on the stigma
associated to nuclear waste sites and the inherent risk in operations on those sites," he said,"not only on property values but on the tourist industry.
The DGR, he said, is being proposed in a growing community, with a strong economy and a thriving tourist industry, in close proximity to Lake Huron and the large communities of Kincardine and Saugeen Shores.
Robertson said there was a complete lack of adequate consultation by OPG, with adjacent communities, which are impacted by this project. There was also no consideration of alternate sites.
During questions, Robertson was asked if the SRA has an alternative solution for the low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste.
"First of all, I apologize for putting forward too much emotion during my presentation," Robertson said. "There are too many problem-finders and not enough problem-solvers."
He said if the proposed DGR were not to proceed, Plan B would be to negotiate a new host agreement , re-engage the public and bring in a new consultant.
"That way you could rebuild public trust which has been badly damaged," he said.
While he said those who defend the proposal are not all bad, there is one fundamental flaw in that OPG and NWMO are intertwined in the process.
As for a new host agreement, he said Saugeen Shores would "expect to be paid $30-million for our community interest.
"The problem with the current agreement is it was poorly negotiated. Adjacent municipalities should be receiving more money."
To read Robertson's entire presentation, click here.
The DGR hearing has moved to Saugeen Shores where the final day of presentations will be held today (Friday, Oct. 11), at The Plex in Port Elgin.
The hearing has been extended for three additional days, Oct. 28-30, at The Plex, for further discussion on licensing, permits and authorizations.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013