We move on; the ground beneath us doesn’t – Saugeen Shores (October 2012)

By Neil Menage


Tuesday, October 9, 2012 10:26:07 EDT AM

There was a quiet stunned kind of hush over the audience as each NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) speaker in turn spoke to the selection criteria for an APM (Adaptive Phased Management) program. Their information, the way they delivered the message and the answers to all of the questions were captivating to say the least.

As a community we are regionally famous for our warm waters, sandy beaches and Provincial Park. Many in Ontario remember us for Jack Stafford’s farms and how he credited the lush and verdant grasses of Saugeen Township for his thoroughbred racehorse Royal Chocolate winning the 1973 running of the Queen’s Plate.


We are known in Canada for our whiteouts and snow squalls. We are almost world famous for our sunsets and pumpkins. We will once again be next to the world’s largest operating nuclear power plant.

We are at least well meaning, humble, charitable and respectful of each other’s rights and opinions. Change continues around us, from windmills, to solar panels to success with grapes that we may soon discover will produce a new world order of famous wines. 

No surprise then when Bob Leech Senior Hydrogeologist for Aecom spoke at length about the formation of the local ground below us and how in his words the rocks haven’t moved in hundreds of millions of years. The short version is they are the most stable rock formation in North America (he said) and likely the world (my non-professional guess). There you have it folks and yes (I told you so!) We meet all of this step’s criteria to locate a DGR (Deep Geologic Repository) or Nuclear fuel dump in our Saugeen Shores, well at least out there somewhere away from most of the people.

It remains to be seen and I’m willing to place a small wager that none of the other interested communities will be as perfect a location! You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, “never look a gift horse in the mouth” and “make hay while the sun is shining” are a few proverbs and cliche’s that come to mind.

And so it goes that a problem’s solution becomes an opportunity. Everything has intrinsic value, even waste nuclear fuel. NWMO has rules and I was wrong to think this would ultimately be resolved by council. NWMO Director of Social Research and Dialogue (imagine that!) Jo-Ann Facella said ultimately Council will be required to produce results from a referendum showing a super majority in favour. A super majority is usually considered at 60 per cent and some require a minimum voter turn out of at least 40 per cent. This should work as we are usually between 50 and 55 per cent interested with government elections. Jo-Ann says don’t expect this to happen for at least seven years.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation provide communities with as much as $4 million dollars per year where casinos are built. Before we find out that we are the community of choice and the other horses have been eliminated or drop out I think we should be working on our yes answer too. We should be hiring (with NWMO money) consultants to perform due diligence on their science reports.

We might want to strike a committee and hire others to craft our agreement contract including world famous “NUKE-DUMP” name branding and signing bonus!

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