Environmental group Northwatch wants people to have more opportunity to speak out

CBC News Posted: Apr 01, 2014 11:14 AM ETLast Updated: Apr 01, 2014 11:14 AM ET

A North Bay-based environmental group holds meetings in the northwest this week, to talk about nuclear waste disposal.

Six communities in the region are among the 15 under consideration for long-term storage by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

Northwatch project co-ordinator Brennain Lloyd said the group will hold meetings in Nipigon today and in Schreiber and White River on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
Brennain Lloyd

Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch says the NWMO’s meetings provide an opportunity to hear the organization’s message, but not enough open dialogue. (Supplied)

"Our objective is to be … sharing information and networking across the different communities who are being studied by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and creating an opportunity for people to have the conversation, Lloyd said.

Meanwhile, the NWMO has two open houses of its own planned for Nipigon today and Wednesday.

Lloyd said the NWMO’s community consultations don’t go far enough, however.

"Those [meetings] provide a certain opportunity for people to find out what [the NWMO’s] message is, [but] it doesn’t provide an opportunity for people to really have around-the-room discussions.

Community must be ‘informed’

But NWMO regional communications manager Patrick Dolcetti said town hall-style debates don’t always have the best results.
Patrick Dolcetti

NWMO communications manager Patrick Dolcetti says the organization has found the open-house meeting format ensures "respectful conversations." (Supplied)

"We’ve found that meaningful dialogue occurs best when our specialists are able to have respectful conversations, one-on-one, with small groups, at events such as open houses, he said.

Dolcetti noted it is still early in a years-long site selection process, and communities under consideration can withdraw at any time.

"This project will not come to a community that does not demonstrate they want to be an informed and willing partner," he said.

Nipigon, Schreiber and White River are three of the communities under consideration in the northwest. The others are Ignace, Hornepayne and Manitouwadge.

The Northwatch meetings take place at 7 p.m. today at the Nipigon Community Centre, 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Schreiber Municipal Office and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Harmony Seniors’ Centre in White River.

The NWMO open houses take place today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nipigon Legion.


Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org