Protect Our Waterways to launch petition campaign in South Bruce

Campaign aims to convince South Bruce council to hold referendum on DGR proposal

SOUTH BRUCE – On Oct. 20, Protect Our Waterways (POW) announced the launch of a petition campaign to convince South Bruce council to hold a referendum on the community’s willingness to host the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s (NWMO) deep geological repository (DGR).

The petition campaign, called ‘Our Risk Our Choice – We Deserve a Referendum’ will be launched on Oct. 23 at a public rally in front of the newly renovated Town Hall on Main Street in

Teeswater, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The organizers want council to hold the referendum as part of the October 2022 municipal election process.

“The only people qualified to make the DGR hosting decision are those of us who will have to live with its risks and/or proposed benefits,” said Michelle Stein, Chair of POW. “Therefore, the only legitimate way to determine willingness is for every resident of South Bruce to have the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

In a news release, POW says it is “temporarily suspending its anti-DGR stance to focus on convincing the community and council of the need for the referendum.” The group says ‘Our Risk Our Choice’ signs will be going up across the municipality.

“We recognize that some people in South Bruce support the NWMO’s plan. Many others are undecided,” said Stein. “We invite all of them to support this campaign for a binding referendum by signing the petition. A referendum will ensure their voices are heard and their vote respected.”

POW canvassed will be knocking on doors through the end of November asking residents to sign the petition. Petition forms will also be mailed to each household with a postage-paid return card. Residents and ratepayers can also fill out the petition form online at The group says an independent committee of scrutineers will verify the results.

“Mayor [Robert] Buckle once promised a referendum on the issue. We want to remind him, unequivocally, that this is what the community wants and expects,” said Stein. “With a large enough number of petition signatures, we hope to convince the mayor and council to do the right thing.”

POW says they will be asking for a delegation at a future South Bruce council meeting, with the goal of seeing a motion introduced by council to host a referendum on the DGR proposal as part of the 2022 municipal election.

“The municipal election process is well-run, and the willingness question can easily be added to the ballot,” said Stein. “The municipality-funded Willingness Study confirmed that a binding referendum was the overwhelming choice of community members that participated. NWMO documents confirm that once a final agreement with the host municipality is reached, that agreement cannot be undone.”

To keep to the NWMO’s timelines, the host community decision must be made by 2023.