Written by Wawa Community Advisory Committee for Council and NWMO
Monday, 24 March 2014 07:59
The Municipality of Wawa Community Advisory Committee (Wawa CAC) has now finished its tasks. It was formed to liaise with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) and Council through an investigation into the possibility that Wawa could become the site for a future deep geological repository (DGR) for the long term storage of the spent fuel from the Canadian nuclear energy industry. The community received word late last year that despite the fact that we were a potential site for this repository, overall, due to a number of factors with respect to the geology and location surrounded by special ecological and recreation areas, we did not have "high potential" for moving forward in the process. We were notified that we would no longer be considered as a site for the DGR
NWMO is an organization created by federal law to identify a future site for a DGR. It brought to its task a slate of highly skilled and responsible professionals who used their knowledge and sensitivity to evaluate a large number of communities for the potential future site. Not only do they need to find a geologically acceptable site but of primary importance are the concerns, safety, health, and economic impacts on the local communities in their studies. It was also their mandate to ensure that the community was fully engaged in the process through their Adaptive Phased Management of their Learn More Program. Representatives from NWMO have visited Wawa on a monthly basis. They have sponsored events in Wawa and participated in some of the recreational opportunities of the North. They led open houses and brought a mobile transport exhibit for the community to study. They spoke with hundreds of members of our community and became friends with many.
The members of the Wawa CAC know that the process for our community was thorough, and fair. NWMO came to the best conclusion for our community. We can all feel satisfied the process worked. We should also be content that whichever community is selected in the end, it will have been selected on merit and shall be the safest and best site for the DGR.
Our council made a decision back in 2012 to invite the NWMO to look at our community. It is their responsibility to investigate any and all potential economic possibilities that will increase the economic diversity of our community. Their decisions to investigate with NWMO should be lauded. We should thank them for fulfilling their duties in a commendable manner and despite the initial spot of dissension, they took a decision that our community would become part of the process and we benefitted.
So what have we gained? Knowledge and learning is our first big win. Then we have numerous studies about our community with respect to geology, economy and social well-being. And we have a new strategic plan in its draft form. Finally, we have been given some monetary resources that we can use to fund some of the ideas generated during that strategic planning process.
The Wawa CAC would like to thank the NWMO, our municipal Council and all of the members of our community who learned more about the industry and the social responsibility we all have as Canadians to safely deal with the spent fuel that is currently being stored in numerous sites, above ground, throughout Canada.
The final meeting of the Wawa CAC was held on March 20, 2014 where the members recommended to council that the committee be disbanded.
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