MNO Region Four citizens participate in NWMO Community Information Session

Blind River Region FourRegion Four MNO Citizens attending Community Information Session on NWNO’s plans in
Blind River.

On March 7th 2015, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Lands, Resources and Consultations (LRC) Branch hosted a Community Information Session in Blind River, Ontario. The event was held to inform the MNO Region Four community of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) `s Adaptive Phased Management plan, and host the site selection process.

The NWMO has developed a proposal for the long-term storage of Canada`s existing used nuclear fuel which aims to prioritize environmental, social, and technical elements. Of the twenty-one municipalities initially engaged in site screenings, nine communities have been retained by the NWMO for further suitability studies. Both Blind River and Elliot Lake communities will be subject to advanced, more detailed regional assessments. The other communities being considered as potential site candidates are: Ignace, White River, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce and the Municipality of Central Huron.

By inviting Region Four MNO citizens to a Community Information Session, the MNO hoped to ensure that NWMO`s plans are being heard and understood by the Métis community. This meeting was also seen as an opportunity for the MNO LRC Branch to hear concerns, ask questions, from the MNO community with respect to NWMO`s plan, and to document such information in order to plan future meetings and follow-up events.

Over fifty MNO citizens from Blind River, Elliott Lake and Historic Sault Ste. Marie areas attended the Community Information Session. Members from both the North Channel and Sault Ste. Marie Community Councils were in attendance, including Council Presidents: Yvonne Jensen of North Channel and Kim Powley of Historic Sault Ste. Marie. Art Bennett, Region Four Captain of the Hunt, also in attended. MNO Historic Sault Ste. Marie’s Métis Council Senator, Ms. Brenda Powley, provided opening prayer. Introductory remarks by the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Region Four Councillor, Ernest Gatien, highlighted current regional mandates and shed light on future endeavors for the region.

Four representatives were on hand from NWMO: Ross Holden, Senior Engagement Advisor in Aboriginal Relations; Joe Gaboury, Director of Aboriginal Affairs; Alexander Blyth, Adaptive Phase Management Geoscientist; and Norman Sandberg, Relationship Manager. The NWMO team are currently in a learning phase, during which they hope to collaborate with the Blind River and the Métis community to gain understanding about the area, along with local perception of the project. The NWMO presentation was followed by a group lunch and a community discussion facilitated by Regional Councillor, Ernest Gatien.

Additional Community Information Sessions will be held as the NWMO site selection process advances. Currently, all MNO citizens may contact Ms. Jasmine Williams of the MNO LRC Branch at JasmineW@metisnation.org, to participate in this important dialogue. Any comments or concerns are welcomed and important to the MNO.

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