Our risk, our choice

To the editor,

With the draft of the willingness study done, the Municipality of South Bruce is out to pretend that the residents of South Bruce have a voice.

Sifting through the many comments of this study, the South Bruce Community and Business Association (SBCBA) is mentioned several times in the willingness report.

Looking through the previous minutes from the SBCBA brings an interesting view of how this organization plays a part in the nuke dump (deep geological repository, or DGR) and repackaging plant decision.

The following is a paraphrasing of the minutes from SBCBA meetings:

Dec. 12, 2016

Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has to approve request to have Jim Gowland to give presentation on DGR project at February 2017 meeting.

Dec. 4, 2017

Adam Ireland suggested an advocacy group regarding the DGR in our community, “promotion rather than information now” according to the minutes. Mark Goetz, currently a councillor in South Bruce, suggested a subgroup of people that would include people from the chamber, business association and municipality.

Jim Gowland, who today is chair of the South Bruce Community Liaison Committee, said the (2018) municipal election is coming up, “it’s up to the community leaders to give recognition and they should make an electorate mandate to make decisions,” states the minutes.

“Jim said the process is established, that the elected should move things from there, with dialogue,” states the minutes. Gowland later added, “we have to have confidence in the system.”

Leanne Martin, CAO of the municipality of South Bruce, agreed that advocacy is good and this group is great to promote and share information.

Dave Ireland wondered “how to convince people?” Gowland replied, “it was up to the NWMO to convince people.”

I believe the SBCBA, CAO, municipality staff and councillors are busy planning how to position the lobster trap, with bait, for the NWMO, so the residents of South Bruce willingly walk into the cage.

“Advocacy.” “Promote.” “Convince.” “Electorate mandate.” Is this an open and transparent group of people? Are these our community leaders?

These minutes from Dec. 4, 2017 clearly show how a small group of people are busy trying to push the DGR issue to be located in South Bruce. Why was the DGR not an election issue in 2018? Clearly, enough candidates were aware of the topic. Were they trying to get all their ducks in a row with elected councillors who are in favour of a DGR?

I asked Saugeen Ojibway Nation for information and they could not share information because they signed a communication agreement with the NWMO. The multi-year funding agreement between South Bruce and the NWMO also mentions communications with media must be NWMO approved. The NWMO is in the driver’s seat and has all the control. The NWMO must approve how the funds are spent – effectively they control the purse strings. All the funds spent by South Bruce benefit the NWMO, either directly or indirectly.

The number one way to influence people is to give them something. There is no free money! So far, council has achieved a deeply-divided community with your actions.

After speaking with both Huron Bruce MP Ben Lobb and Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, they agree we have the right to a referendum. Mayor Robert Buckle and Coun. Mark Goetz know the position from Mr. Lobb and Ms. Thompson. The residents of South Bruce have the right to have a referendum, a right to have their voice be heard and counted. A right to make their decision on a ballot, so that their true choice can be counted and not swayed by anyone or misconstrued.

Our risk, our choice.

Rita Groen

South Bruce