Local News News Wingham Advance Times

Lawyer formally requests South Bruce council to commit to determining willingness, questions bylaws

Cory Bilyea Photo

SOUTH BRUCE – The lawyer who represents Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste (POW-NNW) submitted a letter to South Bruce council on Feb. 4, formally requesting them to “confirm a compelling demonstration of willingness to host a DGR as a binding referendum, requiring a two-thirds majority.”

Attorney David Donnelly also said in the letter, obtained by the Wingham Advance Times, that the “NWMO should apply under the Planning Act for amendments to the South Bruce Zoning Bylaw.”

Both the Bruce Nuclear Power Development and Darlington Nuclear Power Plant are governed in part by the Planning Act.

The South Bruce Zoning Bylaw, 2011-63, does not authorize a nuclear waste repository in the municipality. A nuclear waste repository is not a service or utility referenced in subsection 3.1.1 (i) or (ii), nor is the NWMO considered an agency or department of the federal government.

South Bruce’s Zoning Bylaw also includes the following an additional provision for public uses, buildings, and/or structures.

Section 3.2 states that, “despite Section 3.1.1, the erection of any building or structure designed for use as an office, storage or other uses, and the use of land for outside storage, by the corporation; any telephone, cable or communications utility company; any agency or department of the federal, provincial or county government; any company holding a provincial license to transport or distribute natural gas; an electric service provider; a railway company and any local or county board or commission must conform to the provisions of this bylaw.”

The public uses provision bylaw 2011-63 does not authorize a nuclear waste repository in the municipality, says Donnelly, but rather this section requires any use, building, or structure to conform to the zoning bylaw.

Donnelly is also requesting that an application be made for funding to obtain independent peer reviews that are not chosen by the NWMO.

“The Municipality of South Bruce does not have the staff or financial resources to undertake peer reviews of the NWMO reports. Nor does the municipality have the financial resources to retain experts to conduct peer reviews,” wrote Donnelly in the letter.

“Residents have lost confidence in the Municipality of South Bruce to remain detached from the DGR promotion campaign and to remain neutral. It is essential that independent peer review be conducted by experts chosen by Protect Our Waterways, free from close associations with the nuclear industry.”

The letter concluded with what Donnelly calls a respectful submission that “South Bruce must require certain DGR facilities to comply with the provisions of the South Bruce Zoning Bylaws and Planning Act.

“In addition, the site selection process does not currently enjoy public confidence. For this reason, Protect Our Waterways is seeking an immediate commitment to Participant Funding for the purpose of completing a peer review of select technical studies,” he wrote.

“Finally, Protect Our Waterways requests an immediate answer from Council: will it commit to a binding referendum, a ‘compelling’ willingness to host a DGR to be set at two-thirds (66 per cent) majority vote?”

Donnelly expects to see the matter before South Bruce council at the next regular meeting on Feb. 9.

Cory Bilyea is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Wingham Advance Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.