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"Willing host" label irks councillor

Simcoe Reformer: ASHLEY HOUSE - May 28, 2009

http://www.simcoereformer.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1588344

A Bruce Power publication has one council member scratching his head.

A statement in the nuclear company's first Community Information Session Report, released in January, states, "Both Haldimand County and Norfolk County have indicated they were willing host communities through resolutions to the Minister of Energy favouring proceeding with an environmental assessment at this time."

"I don't know if we are a willing host," said Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg. "I don't know if they have misconstrued our resolutions. To say we are a willing host, I don't know if that's right."

Many residents brought up the nuclear power plant at public meeting last week in Port Dover.

"It was quite evident that a lot of local people are against the nuclear power plant," Sonnenberg said.

There is a difference between being a willing host of the project and endorsing an environmental assessment, he said.

"Maybe we're hair-splitting," he said of the wording, adding other councillors didn't seem to express the same concern.

"But it was brought up by a constituent and I wanted to express my thoughts on it."

But deputy mayor Jim Oliver doesn't see it the same way.

"I'm not offended by any information that's been published," he said. "I don't interpret the material as implying we are willing hosts."

Bruce Power spokesperson Steve Cannon also agrees.

"I think they're reading into it a little bit too much," he said.

"We're still in the process of determining if (Haldimand Norfolk) are willing communities. All the statement is saying is that they expressed strongly they are willing to take a closer look at the project."

Cannon said the resolution to support an environment assessment is just what it is.

"We took from that that you are willing to have a full analysis," he said. "We're still in the process of determining the feeling of the population."

Regardless of how people interpret the statement, Oliver assures the community the county has not agreed to building a nuclear power plant.

"Bottom line for Norfolk's taxpayers, residents, citizens is that all we've agreed to is having an environmental assessment," Oliver said. "If we learn it's not in our best interest we are in no way obligated to do anything."

Sonnenberg said he would like to hear from an expert in clean coal, if such a thing exists, to see if the coal plant can be cleaned up rather than going nuclear.

Ashley House

519-426-3528 ext.112

ahouse@bowesnet.com

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