To the Editor:
Tony Zettel is right.
South Bruce council is indeed under no legal obligation to hold a referendum at this time on whether the community is willing to host a $28 billion proposed deep geological repository. But the fact is no one is really asking them to do so.
And he may be right in his assertion that he is hearing from “some in our community” who are “loudly demanding a referendum”. But some is not all, in fact, it is few, and many of those few have been coming to understand that a referendum at this time would indeed be premature. It would be costly when a later one in 2022 wouldn’t be. And it would undermine the remaining discussion process that can take place before the NWMO selects a final hosting site in 2023.
In addition, and what Tony seems most concerned about, it could cut off the flow of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars that the NWMO is now pouring into South Bruce. (Just because they like us so much.)
If Tony were to read the most recent letters to council, letters to the local papers, and postings on local Facebook pages, he would learn that what is demanded of council at this time is not an immediate referendum. No indeed. What is being demanded is a formal resolution by council recognizing that a referendum will be part of the 2022 municipal election.
A support in principle, maybe not necessary as a legal obligation but as a moral obligation to the democratic rights of local ratepayers to express their willingness or unwillingness to host the DGR proposal. And since the NWMO insists that it will not proceed with this project if the community does not express “a profound level of support” , what better way to gauge that support by way of a simple yes or no vote that comes with a properly worded referendum?
If Tony and other pro DGR advocates have a better way, let’s hear it. By the way, the NWMO should also fish or cut bait and define to this community just exactly what they mean by “a willing host” and what exactly is “a profound level of support”?
One final note.
On March 23 council is to receive a full report prepared by municipal staff as to the pros and cons of holding a formal referendum on this issue. Although a recommendation may not be part of the report it should provide more than enough insights for council to make an informed decision on committing in principle to a referendum.