Ontario Power Generation's Western Waste Management Facility at the Bruce nuclear site. (Photo by Jordan McKinnon)

OPG continues consultations with Saugeen Ojibway Nation

Ontario Power Generation is progressing with community consultation efforts with local First Nations on its proposed deep geologic repository project.

Vice President of Nuclear Waste Management Lise Morton said dialogue with Saugeen Ojibway Nation is ongoing, pointing out the company remains committed to only moving ahead with the DGR for low-and-intermediate level nuclear waste if it can secure SON community approval.

Morton said conversations with the SON community have been positive, but there’s no pressure for an immediate answer.

“We’re getting more involved with some of the working groups in the community, elders, youth, et cetera, but again, it’s a process that takes time,” said Morton. “It is a process that has to respect the needs of the community and again, we think we can make the progress we need in the time-frame that we need as a company.”

She said they could still be years from concluding the consultation process with First Nations.

“We’re not in a position to pressure SON, we have to respect their community process, which we’re doing,” said Morton. “We’re continuing to work with SON, they themselves have said it could take one-to-two years to make this decision, and we’re certainly working with them, but at the end of the day, we have to respect the process that SON has.”

Last year, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna asked OPG to update its cumulative effects projections to include impacts on local First Nations, including results of the community consultation process, before she would issue a ruling on the project’s environmental assessment.

With a federal election looming next year, Morton said OPG will continue to progress with the project, adding OPG will owe an answer to whoever holds the environment portfolio after the electoral dust settles.