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Dryden eyes perks of Ignace nuclear waste site candidacy

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Containers full of used nuclear fuel have been accumulating for decades in this storage facility adjacent to Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington Nuclear Facility in Southern Ontario. File photo

By Lindsay Briscoe and Jon Thompson

Ignace has advanced with a group of four communities who are under evaluation for burying Ontario’s nuclear waste and development spinoffs could impact Dryden.

Mayor Craig Nuttall is looking forward to increased traffic at the Dryden Regional Airport along with the potential for commercial and industrial economic injections, as Dryden is Ignace’s neighbouring commercial centre.

“There’s great potential for our community because if they do get the waste site, there’s going to be oodles of jobs and people will be staying in Dryden. There are a lot of benefits,” Nuttal said. “I talked to the mayor of Pickering and he told me his community tripled in size because of the nuclear plant. He said, ‘you guys are sitting on a gold mine.’”

Ignace joins Northern Ontario communities Schreiber and Hornepayne as well as Creighton, Saskatchewan.

Ignace Mayor Lee Kennard said a sizeable core group of people in his community favour the project and a small group are against it. He says Ignace won’t have a good handle on the general feelings of the community until further along in the process.

He added it should be “obvious” why a community like Ignace would be interested in hosting the project.

“We have been suffering from slow yet steady economic decline for decades. The natural resource industries upon which we depend have not provided stability and from what I see I do not believe that in the foreseeable future natural resources industries will provide Ignace with a stable economy. A project like the deep geologic repository, which is forecast to cost between $16 and $24 billion, will provide long-term economic prosperity for not only Ignace but also many communities in the region.”

Ear Falls, English River First Nation and Wawa, along with Pinehouse in Saskatchewan were rejected from further study.

“I wasn’t surprised but I wouldn’t have been surprised either way. Let’s put it that way,” said Ear Falls Mayor, Kevin Kahoot. “Never, at any time, did council commit to the project and never, at any time, did council say ‘no’ to the project. We all went in with the same understanding that it was an opportunity for us to not only learn more about the whole nuclear waste project but also to gain insight into our community and the geology of the area. It was more about seeing where it took us.”

Kahoot was surprised to receive $400,000 NWMO recognition of the community’s contribution, to be spent on a community development project. Ear Falls Town Council intends to establish a Community Well-Being Reserve Fund.

All 21 communities who put their names forward, regardless of what stage they reach, will receive the same contribution. Thirteen remain in Stage 1 of the NWMO’s “Learn More Process.”

According to Communications Manager for the NWMO, Mike Krizanc, Ear Falls did show potential as an appropriate site for the project. Communities advance mainly based on the geology of the site as well as what the NWMO sees as the project’s ability to increase the wellbeing of the community.

 

“In some communities, there were diverse views as to what the community’s future ought to look like. The idea is that this should not be imposed upon any community and, at the end of the day, a community is going to have to identify its willingness to host the project in a compelling way,” he explained

“All of the communities had potential to host the project…but at some point you have to begin to make decisions to narrow it down.”

The selection process could take until 2035.

 

One thought on “Dryden eyes perks of Ignace nuclear waste site candidacy

  1. And Dryden didn’t submit a proposal or make application because…? Or did it?

    Surely there’s a good reason for the mayor’s huffing and puffing and tagging onto Ignace’s skirts, but where is Dryden’s explanation for not being in the group so far? Given the huge amount of granite that surrounds the place, I’d say it too is ideal for nuclear storage – especially in light of the paper mill’s demise.

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