Public opinion not heard on NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

Brantford Expositor: Janet Fraser - Nov 4, 2008

We, the citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk, are deeply concerned about the process that has taken place in our community -- the lack of transparency. In Haldimand, seven people -- the mayor and six council members -- wrote letters of support for a nuclear plant to Premier Dalton McGuinty, but failed to consult with the community. Meetings between the councils of Haldimand and Norfolk and Bruce Power took place behind closed doors. These small county councils made an assumption that the community was in support, because they were understandably concerned about losing jobs at Nanticoke.

The communities were never consulted, nor did the councils arrange public information meetings. Over the last year and a half, concerned citizens have held a few information nights with speakers presenting various points of view on energy options. Grand Erie Energy Quest was formed in June 2007 so that the citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk would have an opportunity to educate themselves about energy options and to provide an opportunity to communicate with one an-o ther. The website was created.

In Norfolk, two women from the Canadian Federation of University Women-Norfolk, presented to Norfolk council their concerns about the project. I felt that the same should be done in Haldimand.

I submitted a formal request to Haldimand Council three times, last spring and summer, to make a 10-minute presentation to Haldimand council on behalf of Grand Erie Energy Quest. We wanted to voice our concerns about a nuclear facility at Nanticoke in a formal way. Haldimand council refused to hear the delegation about the proposed nuclear facility. It felt it was premature and not needed at this time. Councillors held a formal vote on the matter on Aug. 5, 2008 and voted 5 to 2 to deny my request. Mayor Marie Trainer and Coun. Lorne Boyko were the only two to vote in favour of allowing the delegation.

Grand Erie Energy Quest met in the summer with Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett to discuss the issues and plan another

energy symposium so that the citizens have more information about energy and the environment. Toby Barrett, is the only one of our elected officials (from all levels) who has shown any concern about what the citizens have to say about this issue. He will be hosting this event on Nov. 20 in Jarvis.

I was encouraged to learn that this $8-billion nuclear plan lacks the province's blessing, and that Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman clearly stated that this initiative does not bear the approval of the Government of Ontario. I am puzzled that Bruce Power would spend $30 million on an environmental assessment for a nuclear power plant without the blessing of either the province or the local community.

The citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk, as well as our neighbours at Six Nations, must be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not we are a willing host community for a nuclear plant. This decision cannot be made without much discussion and education about all aspects of the issue. This will take time. It is Bruce Nuclear's announcement that is premature. There needs to be public input first.

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