Here in Grey, Bruce and Huron Counties, we have a lot to be thankful for. Our thriving agricultural sector has enjoyed a stellar growing season, we’re now starting to get out to a few in-person events, and thanks to our thriving local economy, most of us can find jobs.
I recently spoke to a young person who’s been working with a local electrical contractor, and he described what he’s seeing in the construction trades. “Everyone’s going flat out”, he told me, “and most of the workers are younger than me (33).”
I told him how great I thought it was that so many of our young people are able to find abundant work right here at home.
Then I also reminded my young friend that much of the current boom is due to the big nuclear refurbishment projects going on at Bruce Power. These massive projects are responsible for hundreds of high-paying jobs, which allow a lot of people to buy cars, build and furnish homes, and patronize our local businesses. That means wages and profits across the local construction and retail sectors, which drives even more local investment. Indeed, there should be opportunity to make a good living, at least for the next 10 or 12 years.
Around 2033, the big refurbishment should be nearing completion, and if nothing takes its place, there could be some lean years ahead, as the number of jobs decrease, unless something else comes in to take its place. Enter the NWMO’s plan to develop the Deep Geological Repository (DGR) in South Bruce. By 2033, the geological studies will be complete, the designs for the DGR will be refined, and the many safety and environmental assessments will be done.
If it’s determined that the DGR cannot be safely built and operated, the project will end, and we’ll all have benefitted from another decade-plus of R&D spending. If it can be done safely, the NWMO will be ready to break ground, bringing hundreds more high-paying, high-tech jobs to our community, just as the Bruce refurbishment is winding down. That will mean more prosperity for our hard-working young people, and less of them having to pack up and move to the city. If, on the other hand, we reject the project prematurely, this stellar opportunity will be lost.
So this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m really, sincerely thankful. Mostly, I’m thankful to God for my health and my family, and for the beautiful community in which we’re privileged to live. I’m thankful to former Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne and his team, who did the hard work to get government support and billions of dollars of private investment for the refurb projects.
I’m also thankful to the Government of Canada for constructing a well-considered plan to permanently and responsibly deal with our nation’s nuclear waste.
And I’m thankful to my fellow citizens and Council of South Bruce, for being willing to listen, learn and consider hosting Canada’s DGR.