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South Bruce council says no to immediate vote on nuclear waste plan
TEESWATER, ONT. -- South Bruce Mayor Robert Buckle says now is not the time to have a community vote on the possibility of burying nuclear waste near Teeswater.
“Due to the medical crisis we have right now, we cannot have a referendum. Furthermore, we have to make sure that people in South Bruce are familiar with all the pros and cons, because this project is going to have a tremendous effect on our community, not only now but for generations,” he says.
The decision on where to bury Canada’s high-level nuclear waste is down to the Municipality of South Bruce, near Teeswater, and Ignace, in Northern Ontario.
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is looking for a home for 5.2 million used nuclear fuel bundles, that remain dangerously radioactive for centuries.
About 1,300 acres of land north of Teeswater has been optioned by the NWMO, as a potential site to bury the waste, forever.
Michelle Stein is a local farmer who lives directly beside the proposed site. She is leading a local group opposed to the plan.
Protect our Waterways - No Nuclear Waste presented a petition to South Bruce council with 1,500 local signatures against the project Tuesday night. They’re asking council for a community vote on the nuclear waste plan as soon as possible.
“We’re trying to let them know that it’s time for them to listen to their constituents. There’s a lot of us who are not willing to host the nuclear dump. And it’s time the community gets a vote to decide what’s going on,” Stein says.
Hundreds took part in a rolling protest of the nuclear waste plan after presenting the petition Tuesday night.
Emily Clark and Audrey Bross were a part of that protest.
“If the community votes for this, then that’s what the community votes and we’ll have to take our signs down, but before that happens, I think this should be a democratic process and the people of South Bruce should have a say,” says Clark.
“I’m not against nuclear energy. I have tons of friends and family who work at the (Bruce Power) nuclear plant. That’s not what this is about. It’s about throwing waste in the ground when it could leak into the Great Lakes,” says Bross.
But another group called Willing to Listen has also come forward, asking South Bruce council to continue in the process.
In a statement to council, the group says, “We are submitting this letter to council in support of continuing forward in this process, so we can gather more information on the site, environment evaluations, and the potential opportunities that this project bring to the area.”
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization wants to have a site picked for the underground nuclear waste facility by 2023. South Bruce Mayor, Bob Buckle says that leaves the community plenty of time to make a decision whether they’re in support of the plan or not.
“I am not in favour of the council deciding whether it comes or not, it has to come from the public. But the public has to be well informed first,” Buckle says.
Stein says an online petition in opposition of the project. has garnered over 10,000 signatures from across Canada.