"What we see from where we sit"
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For the benefit of the whole community, it is important to get the actual facts so that people can make informed decisions. So, let's start with this in mind.
The community has been a supporter of OPG and Bruce Power for over 50 years. There are five out of eight Bruce County municipalities who have expressed an interest in learning more about the DGR. The process is an approved one that was endorsed by the Federal Government in 2007. It requires compliance with a dozen different pieces of legislation. It has funding available for both proponents and opponents to state their positions and it is overseen and approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It is also endorsed by both MP Ben Lobb and MPP Lisa Thomson. The final location must have the approval of the host community.
SOSSRA have stated in their video that council approved the final location, that there have been secret meetings, hidden agendas, payments to councilors to support the DGR, etc., etc. In fact, it has been quite insulting to us and the whole community. The facts as portrayed are really SRASOS opinions, assumptions and false accusations.
Council members were criticized for making the initial decision to proceed to Step 2 in December, 2011 and when, at the SRA's request, it was delayed until May, the misinformation just continued and still does.
We have watched the videos online of the SOS march and noted the dialogue between a former president and current president with the reporter capturing the event. We can also attest to the countless emails being forwarded to council as a whole and to individual councilors with threats against their businesses. We have been told that we have ignored the 30 per cent of our residents despite newspaper coverage, radio coverage town websites, town newsletters, SRA newsletter and SOS websites. There has been no problem whatsoever getting information out to not only the 30 per cent but the other 70 per cent as well.
What we are really saying is that our tolerance for your (SRASOS) schoolyard bullying has grown thin. The false accusations must end. As some have said, Council should stay on the higher road and do their jobs. We are elected by the whole community to make informed decisions. We make those decisions knowing not all will agree but we make them based on facts and common sense, not on fear and intimidation tactics. To do otherwise would be irresponsible to the whole community.
We have no problem being judged on election day for the decisions we have made on this or any issue.
Now let's get to some interesting numbers.
The SRA represents, according to various presentations made to council and recent letters to the press, anywhere from 300 to 700 people. The SRA newsletter of May states 111 responses from the 700 members, 90 per cent of the 'respondees' saying 'no'. So, what about the other purported 589? The board unanimously concluded that the majority agreed based on a 15 per cent response rate from, according to them, 700 members.
The SRA boards also states "... not in Saugeen Shores but somewhere else ..." How about the folks in the place called 'somehwere else' and their right to be informed? As this material (waste) may be on its way to "somewhere else", shouldn't the community be informed as it travels through Saugeen Shores to its final destination?
The SRA and SOS claim they support Bruce Power and OPG and then condemn their corporate donations to this community - donations to charitable organizations, event and doctor recruitment initiatives, accessible playground projects, etc.,, etc. SRASOS simply can't have it both ways.
The SOS group has stated in its various presentations the results of their petition: on-line reports have stated 500 - 1200; radio ads stated 2,000. The reality is - 809 petitioners presented to the Town Clerk of which only 388 have a Saugeen Shores address.
The SOS and SRA have 14 to 15 members who 'run' their respective organizations. The SRA has its board members posted on-line but the SOS does not however, there are now three new directors reported to be on the SRA board - they are also working directors of the SOS. The claim made by the SRA President is that they are not the same group as the SOS but joint meetings, links to each other's websites and printed literature distributed throughout the town, including signage, would suggest otherwise.
There have been six deputations before council by the SRASOS on moving to Step 2 of the process. The deputations and names of presenters are public knowledge on the town's website.
In 2010, there were 11,480 eligible voters. The breakdown by ward is: Southampton 3711; Port Elgin 5,502 and Saugeen Township 2,267.
Using the SRA stats of 700, it therefore only represents 18 per cent of the Southampton Ward and 6 per cent of the total 11,480 people in Saugeen Shores.
The SRASOS have made their decision and they are entitled to do that. The rest of the 10,780 people are also entitled to get the information , too and they can decide on their own freely. That is our job as elected councilors. We represent the whole community not just parts of it.
So, for those seeking information, just a reminder that the Town DGR information is available on the town website, at the public library or at the town office.
For the information on the SRA and SOS, if you have computer access you can make contact directly at their websites for any questions and clarifications you may have.
If you wish to enquire via Canada Post, you can send mail to Southampton Residents Association (SRA), P.O. Box 1081, Southampton, N0H 2L0 or the SOS at P.O. Box 234, Southampton, N0H 2L0.
Lastly, we would like to thank the majority of this community, who many of us see every day, for supporting us in our efforts to do what we were elected to do. We will follow through with your requests to learn more so that you, too, can get your questions answered.
Gary R. Brown
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Monday, July 23, 2012