In a report prepared for the October 5th meeting of the Council for the Municipality of South Bruce, the Chief Administrator described the recent International Conference on Geological Repositories which the NWMO had hosted in Toronto October 1st and 2nd, and a meeting held the day after – October 3rd – of the NWMO and representatives of the five municipalities in Bruce County who have signed up to be studied as part of the NWMO’s site selection process.
As described by the CAO, the NWMO used the October 3rd gathering to outline Step 3 of their siting process and to introduce and/or promote the idea of a “regional” approach in Bruce County to the NWMO site selection process, as follows:
NWMO Meeting – Regional Collaboration
On October 3rd, following the ICGR, NWMO staff met with representatives of five Bruce County Municipalities who were in attendance at the conference. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of regional collaboration for certain activities as Bruce County communities move forward in the site selection process. Currently, Arran- Elderslile is in Step 1, Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and Saugeen Shores are in Step 2, and Brockton as passed a resolution to enter into Step 3 of the site selection process.
At the meeting, NWMO provided a brief overview of the Feasibility Study process which would be undertaken in Step 3. The Feasibility Study is broken into two phases. Phase I of the Feasibility Study involves a desktop study to determine whether a site in the community has the potential to meet the detailed requirements for the project. This includes a technical evaluation as well as a social, economic and cultural assessment of the community. There may be some opportunity for regional collaboration when conducting the preliminary assessment desktiop studies, as some of the technical information in Phase 2, detailed field investations would be undertaken at one or two sites to continue to assess technical, social, economic and cultural suitability. A regional study is also included in Phase 2.
Establishing Community Liaison Committees (CLC) was also discussed as a positive step for communities to take after entering into Step 3. NWMO funding is available to assist in some CLC expenses, and to provide administrative support to the CLC and to assist municipal staff with the additional workload associated with the community’s participation in the site selection process. It was concluded that each community would be best served by establishing their own CLC because they would be more in tune with the needs of the local people. It was acknowledged that there may be some benefit to establishing a larger regional committee that would consist of one or two members of the local committees. The Regional CLC would provide an opportunity to share information and to collaborate on large events such as public information meetings, open houses and hiring of independent consultants to conduct peer reviews of technical information and to provide unbiased information to the public.
There are many benefits to adoption a regional approach as Bruce counties move forward in the site election process. One such benefit is that it acknowledges that this project will impact not only the host community, but the broader region, and as such, engagement of communities within the region is vital from the outset. Council support for regional co-operation and co-ordination could be stated in the Step 3 resolution, if the Bruce County municipalities decide to continue on in the process.
Further information on Step 3 activities will be provided by NWMO at an upcoming meeting of South Bruce Council, date to be confirmed.