I recently had the privilege of attending the South Bruce Nuclear Exploration Forum, held in the Teeswater Community Centre. As a resident of South Bruce, I was very impressed by the attendance of some 170 people, including many local politicians and civil servants, foreign and domestic experts and dignitaries, and interested local citizens like myself. The two-day event featured welcoming addresses from our elected officials, as well as informative sessions on topics ranging from agriculture and transportation, to the interests of our local Indigenous communities. The conference reinforced several key ideas for me, which I’d like to share.
First, our area of Bruce, Grey and Huron counties really has become Canada’s nuclear power heartland. Anchored by Bruce Power, the world’s largest single-site nuclear generator, our area also features over 70 other companies in the nuclear supply chain that have local offices, shops and manufacturing facilities, providing solid local employment. Local nuclear industry employers like Kinectrics and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) not only pay their share of taxes, they show themselves to be good corporate citizens by donating generously to local initiatives like the new Teeswater medical centre. They employ local talent, so the strong wages they pay often stay in our community, providing additional business for our retailers and service providers.
Secondly, the agriculture industry we hold so dear can thrive alongside the nuclear industry. The Teeswater audience heard from a panel of agriculture experts and local farmers, including those who have farmed successfully near the Bruce Nuclear generating stations for decades. One local farmer, who successfully sells breeding stock throughout Canada, and into the US and Mexico, stated his strong views on the subject. In his opinion, there has never been any negative impact on his or his neighbours’ operations from Bruce Nuclear. Conversely, he and his family have benefited from living in a well-funded community with superior services, thanks to the general affluence provided by the nuclear industry.
Finally, the Deep Geological Repository (DGR) proposed for South Bruce, presents a great economic opportunity for upcoming generations. Once construction starts in the early 2030’s, the site is likely to employ 600 to 700 people for a period of many decades, and this employment will include a balance of trades and knowledge workers. This means a boy or girl currently under 10 years old, as well as many not yet born, could very reasonably work their entire career at the site. For people in my demographic, this translates to the prospect of our children and grandchildren not having to move to the city, being able to enjoy the wonderful rural lifestyle and find good employment right here in South Bruce.
All of this to say I’m encouraged by the level of interest and the possibilities at hand, and I’m happy to be among those willing to explore the opportunity.
Tony Zettel, RR5 Mildmay