SOUTHAMPTON, ONT. -- A day after members of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) pulled the plug on plans to bury nuclear waste along the shores of Lake Huron, there’s relief and disappointment.

"No" was marked on the ballot of 80 per cent of the votes and only 170 of 1,232 votes cast by members of SON were in favour of the plan by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury 200,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste under part of the Bruce Power site, north of Kincardine.

Kim George, a SON member cast one of the no votes. “I’m so happy. Our people spoke loud and clear for humanity and our Great Mother and her beautiful waters,” she says.

Lester Anoquot is chief of the Saugeen First Nation, one half of the bands that make up the SON, who voted down the planned waste project.

“As Anishinaabe, we didn’t ask for this waste to be created and stored in our territory, but it is here. We have a responsibility to our Mother Earth to protect both her and our lands and waters. Today, our people have voted against the DGR. (It) tells us that we must work diligently to find a new solution for the waste,” he says.

For Ontario Power Generation, which spent three decades working on the Deep Geological Repository (DGR) plan, it’s back to the drawing board.

“We respect the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s decision, and we will uphold our commitment not to proceed with the project at the Bruce site,” says OPG’s Fred Kuntz.

In 2013, the Crown corporation said they would not proceed with their underground waste repository without support of the local native bands.

OPG does however remain committed to burying the waste, somewhere else in Ontario.

OPG’s CEO Ken Hartwick says, “To enjoy the benefits of this low carbon, low-cost, and reliable source of energy with peace of mind, we must manage the waste responsibly. Permanent and safe disposal is the right thing to do for future generations.”