Open Letter to Mayor Smith and Town Council
April 2, 2012
To Comment on this article Click Here
We are Save Our Saugeen Shores (SOS) – a voluntary group of informed and concerned citizens who oppose the plan to construct a deep geological repository (DGR) for storing high-level radioactive waste from Canada’s nuclear reactors within Saugeen Shores.
SOS was established February 11th, 2012 to ensure that everyone in our community understands completely and accurately the potential dangers
posed by the proposed DGR. We believe risks will exist during its construction, the transportation of
the waste, its handling on site, and its storage near Lake Huron until such time as it is no longer radioactive.
We believe you and the council have neglected thus far to assure the availability of unbiased information to the public or put in place a democratic process for consideration of this difficult issue. We remain vigilant and concerned because your actions and those of the
Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), an industry agency, have thus far had the effect of:
1. Excluding seasonal residents
You admit to receiving hundreds of letters from residents opposing your plan and demanding delay until at least Fall 2012 to allow careful consideration of the issue by everyone who’ll be affected. Yet you and
Council continue to insist on making a decision on or before May 14th, 2012 to advance our community toward the realization of hosting all of Canada’s high-level nuclear waste.
Effectively, this early date excludes seasonal residents from being informed or involved in the decision-making process, even though they represent 30 % of our population.
Further evidence of the dismissive attitude of Council towards seasonal residents is a statement one councillor made to a resident at the March 27th, 2012 NWMO Open House: "I've received 200 e-mails on this and 190 of them are from people who never earned a dime in this community."
What matters is not whether you've EARNED a dime in this community, but whether you've SPENT a dime on property taxes, charitable organizations, and at local businesses which seasonal residents and others not employed in Saugeen Shores patronize.
2. Shutting out people who work
You’ve said there will be significant consultation before May 14th. Yet you
and Council had scheduled just two pre-decision NWMO “open houses” –
between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27th, and Monday, April
30th. At the urging of SOS, Larry Allison (Chief Administrative Officer of
Saugeen Shores), and Jamie Robinson (NWMO Director of Communications) have conceded to let the April 30th Open House remain open until 9pm or later if needed. Seasonal residents and the many people who work during these limited weekdays are being shut out of this source of information, as one-sided
as it is.
3. Curbing opposition
You and Council have repeatedly made it difficult for people to publicly express views that do not support your plan.
In minutes for your regular Council meeting of January 9th, 2012, you dismiss opposition to your plan as “primarily based on inaccurate information.” You add that “this is an important project and we need to look into its feasibility, potential employment, etc.” Nowhere do you address the possible risks the DGR may pose to the health, safety, environment, tourist appeal and agricultural industry in this community. Council plainly reveals its bias by repeatedly referring to the plan as an “opportunity,” rather than simply an “option”.
Cheryl Grace, spokesperson for Save Our Saugeen Shores (SOS), was able to make a public presentation of the group’s concern at the March 12 Council meeting only over the resistance of Town Clerk, Linda White. Despite her later denial, Ms. White suggested such a presentation would be more appropriate at an “open house” (where no public platform exists), or the May 14th Council meeting (when it would be too late to influence Council’s decision).
When Council did finally allow the presentation on March 12, SOS members left information about the group’s concerns next to the NWMO kiosk. They returned to find the information removed without
Again and again, Council members have dismissed any view contrary to their agenda as ill-informed, uneducated and unscientific. Mr. Robinson and two other NWMO spokesmen at the NWMO Open House on March 27th, 2012 were adamant in their refusal to sponsor or participate in a public town hall meeting, one even calling such forums “undemocratic.” Such responses should make every citizen ask: “What is the NWMO afraid of?”
SOS believes our community’s diversity is our strength and everyone deserves to be heard, especially in the absence of any real consensus among experts on this difficult issue. We are the only local organization that has taken on the critical task of independently checking the facts put out by the NWMO and ensuring the site selection process remains unbiased.
If the NWMO and Council muffle opposition to the plan, the public will only hear a one-sided account of what’s at stake. Instead of welcoming opportunities to provide the public with complete and accurate information on high-level nuclear waste storage in Saugeen Shores, you’ve failed the people who elected you by working with the NWMO to discourage public participation that does not fall in line with your agenda.
4. Manipulating the community into acceptance of the plan
According to the NWMO, “the community must clearly demonstrate a willingness to be considered as a potential host” for the high-level radioactive waste repository.
Yet only a few miles down the road in Kincardine, the NWMO and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) used a misleading telephone and mail survey to demonstrate community support for the proposed burial of intermediate and low-level radioactive waste. The survey question formulated by NWMO, OPG, and their consultants read: “Do you support the establishment of a facility for the long-term management of low and intermediate level waste at the Western Waste
Management Facility?” Nowhere here do we see the words, “nuclear”, “radioactive” and “deep geological repository”.
Save Our Saugeen Shores is working to prevent the same manipulative scenario from playing out in our community.
When asked how he measured whether a community was “willing,” NWMO communications director Jamie Robinson didn’t respond. He only confirmed the NWMO wouldn’t assess public willingness until Step 5 of its process. By the time we are at Step 5, Saugeen Shores will already be deep within the folds of the NWMO’s plan to store high-level radioactive waste in our community.
We’d like to remind you that neither you nor the community is bound to the NWMO process. You can drop this plan right now.
We invite you to work with us to create a democratic, fair, open and unbiased process:
This plan to store high-level nuclear waste in our community poses a risk to our health and safety now as well as to future generations. It threatens our land and water and endangers this community’s future as a tourism destination.
This plan is incompatible with Saugeen Shores’ character and reputation as a recreational, retirement and family community. Many nations, far more dependent on nuclear power than Canada, are
hesitating as they struggle to deal with the enormously contentious issues raised by the long-term disposal of high-level radioactive waste.
Save Our Saugeen Shores invites you to join us in the first of our public forums to discuss all of our concerns.
We and the Southampton Residents Association are co-sponsoring an open town hall meeting on this issue Saturday, April 7th from 11 AM to 1PM.
It will be held at the Southampton Town Hall. We are holding this meeting on the Easter weekend to allow as many seasonal residents and visitors to attend as possible.
We invite one representative from Council to sit on our panel and all councillors to attend. We have also invited a representative from the NWMO and Chief Kahgee of Saugeen First Nations to take part in the
Our main guest speaker will be John Jackson, of Great Lakes United. We will encourage all residents of Saugeen Shores and our region to participate. There will be ample opportunity for the audience to ask
questions and make comments.
We invite you to host additional forums that encourage fair and open consultation and allow all sides to take the public platform on this divisive issue.
We invite you to ensure that the public knows where to look outside the NWMO for information on the risks of having nuclear waste in our community forever.
We invite you to inform neighboring communities that could be affected by this project.
We invite you to provide balanced information to the agricultural, clean water, tourism and environmental groups that thrive in our community.
We invite you to ensure that in a sea of NWMO posters and brochures touting the benefits and safety of having high-level nuclear waste in our community, there is equal visibility for information on the risks.
We invite you to explain to the community how money paid by OPG toThe Town of Saugeen Shores through the 2004 Kincardine DGR Hosting Agreement is influencing your choices in this matter.
We invite you to take every opportunity to eliminate bias in this process.
We invite you to join with us and simply tell the NWMO that we are not a willing community.
Pro bono publico, SOS
SOS - Save Our Saugeen Shores
P.O. Box 234, Southampton, ON N0H 2L0
Cc: Ben Lobb, MP
Lisa Thompson, MPP
Dr. Gary Kugler – Chair NWMO
Ken Nash- President and CEO of NWMO
Pierre Charlebois – Director NWMO
Donn Hanbidge – Director NWMO
Ronald (Ron) L. Jamieson – Director NWMO
Darren Murphy – Director NWMO
Josée Pilon – Director NWMO
Dr. Deborah C. Poff – Director NWMO
C.Ian Ross- Director NWMO
Jamie Robinson – Communications Director/NWMO
Port Elgin and Saugeen Township Beachers’ Organization
Southampton Residents Association
Scrolling stops when you move your mouse inside the scroll area. You can click on the ads for more
books, sports, movies ...
Monday, April 02, 2012