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Haldimand Council to determine if resident can talk to them about nuclear plant

Dunnville Chronicle: KAREN BEST - July 2, 2008

Janet Fraser was rejected twice but might just get her chance to talk about nuclear power generation at a council meeting.

All she wanted was 10 minutes before Haldimand County members to express concerns and to basically say she and others did not want a nuclear plant in this community. Fraser also wanted to explore other energy generation options and emphasize the need for education and open dialogue with the community.

So far there is no opposition noted on the public record, said the Cayuga woman who has strong environmental interests.

Council listened willingly to Bruce Power presentations but had yet to spend any time hearing the community, noted Fraser.

"I thought they would want to hear what people had to say," she p>Over the past two months, she sent two emails requesting a spot on the agenda. She was told by county clerk Janis Lankester that many council members thought it was premature to speak to them about this issue.

In March 2007, Bruce Power president Duncan Hawthorne spoke at a few public meetings about a $3 or $4 billion investment in a nuclear plant in the Nanticoke industrial park. The impact would be great with over 1,200 jobs, more than $2 million in annual property taxes and an $180 million injection every year into the local economy. An environmental assessment on the site would cost $20 million and take three years to complete.

After Bruce Power showed an interest in assessing the Nanticoke area for a nuclear power plant, Fraser founded the Grand Erie Energy Quest to engage people in a dialogue about energy generation options. Based on interchanges through a website, the group concluded nuclear was not the best option for Haldimand County, she said.

Fraser felt council and residents had not completed enough discussion about whether or not Haldimand County was a willing host, a government and Bruce Power prerequisite for a nuclear power generation plant. Once an environmental assessment is underway, the county would be almost there, she said.

On Aug. 6, council will discuss whether Fraser and others can make presentations on matters that are not on the agenda. She will attend to listen to council's discussion.

The only reason she made it onto the agenda was because of Coun. Lorne Boyko's protest about the request to hear developer Jamie McMaster at the June 23 meeting. The Caledonia resident wanted to express concern about loss of Haldimand County tax assessment if Six Nations purchased land using cash settlements from the federal government.

McMaster's delegation request is in breach of the rules because this was not on the agenda, noted Boyko. Requests by Fraser were denied because it was not the right time, he pointed out.

Coun. Buck Sloat said the nuclear decision is not a council issue and may never be. This is a matter between two private corporations, he said of United States Steel which owns land in Nanticoke and Bruce Power. He added that council has not rejected by motion Fraser's delegation.

"I will not get into a situation of who will or will not be heard," retorted Boyko.

After the June 23 council meeting, Fraser was glad to hear that at least her request would be discussed. If, by chance, she will have an opportunity to make a presentation, it will be at a later meeting.

Just because Darlington was selected for new plants doesn't mean Haldimand is out of the running, she said.

"It still may be (in the running)," Fraser noted. "This gives us time to discuss in Haldimand. If residents want it after they are informed, so be it."

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