Notice of Motion Passes with Unanimous Consent
As a City Councillor for Bay Ward I am very proud of our city’s reputation of having some of the highest quality and safest drinking water in the country. Most of it comes from the Ottawa River where our own Britannia Filtration Plant operates. We take for granted our excellent water and our swimmable beaches and we do not want anything to jeopardize them. That is why I raised,in the form of a motion, that the city of Ottawa show its concern for what is happening at the Chalk River Nuclear Facility and how it will be disposing of nuclear waste within a kilometer of the Ottawa River water shed. We needed speak up on how this could affect us all.
On March 30th the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management met to consider my notice of motion on the proposed nuclear waste disposal site at Chalk River Laboratories. Following eight hours of thorough discussion with 30 delegates that included residents, community association members, City staff and professionals in the field of nuclear science, I am pleased to say the notice of motion passed with unanimous consent.
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has submitted a proposal to build a near surface waste disposal site approximately 200 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, at the Chalk River Laboratories site, about 1 kilometre from the Ottawa River. The proposal is currently under review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The motion, put forward on my behalf by Councillor Catherine McKenney, asks the project proponent to address the City’s concerns during the project’s public review period, and for Council to request that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change assess radioactive disposal projects in the Ottawa Valley under the New Impact Assessment Act.
Ian Douglas, Water Quality Engineer from the City’s Water Services and Asset Management, provided a presentation on the proposed facility outlining what they do to ensure that Ottawa’s water quality supply remains safe. The City’s water quality monitoring program gives us the data we need to accurately assess the potential risk level of this project.
Concerns that staff would like to see addressed to mitigate potential future risks, include:
- The facility design should demonstrate net lower risk to the river
- Import of radioactive waste from out of province
- Need for safeguards to protect the river during demolition and waste transfer
- Need for timely notification of spills or release to the river
- Prompt access to upriver monitoring data
- Further technical questions
These recommendations will help protect the Ottawa River now and, in the future, by addressing concerns with the plans to build the disposal facility, as well as concerns identified at the Chalk River site. My motion will be tabled at the next Ottawa City Council meeting on April 14th for further review and discussion.