Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gambling vs. Working

‎Two years go we were all so passionate about our little town in the North. We were united in our desires to "Save Hornepayne" and to "Rebuild"..what's happened since then? Instead of working together and moving forward, we got side tracked by the prospect of an "easier" way. In our quest to find "New Work" we stopped off at the "Casino". The big numbers have us dreaming and NWMO is whispering in our ear hoping to convince us to put our home into their slot machine.

Nuclear Waste is a gamble; it's not a solid economic plan. It doesn't involve any amount of work, in fact all we have to do is put our town on the line and take a huge risk with our future. In return we might "win" a one time payout or we could lose it all. We do know it's a short lived plan; a temporary project. The funds are a one time thing and not a continued paycheck. That's the way it is with a gamble. If we want a "paycheck" we will have to work for it.

Our Mall had an expiry date and now this project has an expiry date. Can we give up on the temporary solutions and build something that will last and benefit many generations? Can we build in a way that will bless our future generations instead of cause them grief? There will be smaller risks to take along the way, but like we recently heard, "we should never risk more than what we are willing to lose".

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Letter to the Editor Jackfish Journal

November 9, 2012

Letter to the editor,

This letter is in response to the article “CBC Fair and unbiased?” that was printed in the October 31st issue of the Jackfish Journal.

As someone who is opposed to the Nuclear Waste I found some of the claims in that article disturbing. According to Statistics Canada, there’s a total of 5600 Communities in our County. Out of all the communities only 21 chose to explore this idea. We are told the benefits will be amazing if we end up as the “Host” community, and yet 99.6% of Canada didn’t touch this “opportunity”.  

Mayor Morley and Willy, the Chairman of the CLC, are displeased with the negative slant that CBC took in their reporting. They claim CBC was unfair and biased against the process that Hornepayne is in. They are displeased that CBC didn’t ask any questions about the “potential economic development that could result from being the ‘Host’ community”. Mayor Morley had many “inspiring things to say about our community and our prospects for the future” but CBC was not interested and those comments were cut. I can say that for many of us, the “benefits” of this “opportunity” are not the focus.

The Chairman of the CLC states that “referring to this as a ‘dump’ is highly misleading.” What I think is misleading is the image that they want to portray to our Community: a “high end”, “prestige” place for the burial of Waste. It’s High Level Radioactive Garbage that the nuclear industry wants to plant in our clean land. It’s going to cost the industry 26 Billion dollars to bury it here. An expensive dump is still a dump.

When Willy was asked if the DGR project will be risky for the host community he immediately focuses the reader to the benefits that may come as a result. “Risk is what one perceives it to be” he says.  And he also states that we live with risk every day. But I don’t have to be an expert to conclude how bad this stuff is. They want to bury it 500 meters in the ground- that’s about CN Tower deep underground. What does that say about it? Nuclear Waste is solid therefore it can’t leak, but the waste contains High Level Radiation which is neither solid, liquid, or gas but it CAN leak and contaminate our environment. The DGR is going to be a man made barrier designed to keep the toxic poison from leaking into our land. This stuff will be active for 100,000 years. Have you known man to build anything that can withstand that amount of time? The risks are real and the benefits do not compare.

Mayor Morley was asked about public education to which he replied “That is the function of the LEARN MORE process…”. The CLC was created to help our town with the learning process. In their minutes dated May 3, 2012 it states:
"Committee voiced concerns that we are not keeping our committee activities public and visible enough. The question was asked what can the committee publicize, what will be the procedure and process to release information to the community? The CLC would like to be able to publish on a local level the activities of our committee. The publishing of upcoming events and information about our committee activities, which will continue to engage the community, reassure transparency and foster trust between the community and the CLC. The committee will publish only information and activities of the CLC staying away from factual information. The committee will continue to send all published material to NWMO."    

This reveals to me that NWMO is being permitted to filter the information that we receive in this learning process. I encourage you to get on the internet and do your own research. We need to learn more than what NWMO is releasing into our community. Do not rely on this one source. There are many different voices out there that have different things to say about this project.  (You can start your search and share your findings at

“In response to the question about the image of the community that will eventually host the repository Willy stated that; ‘The image of the host community will be something that all other communities will strive for. Keep in mind that the host community will be the only one of its kind in Canada.” This “opportunity” was extended to every municipality in Canada and again, 99.6% of Canada did not view this as something that would be good for their community.

Canada is adopting the same DGR model as Sweden. Sweden is further along than Canada. It was released last week that in their review of the plan, the Swedish review board has found some “Major Shortcomings”. Here’s a quote from the article:
The Swedish regulator has found that the Swedish industry’s nuclear waste burial plan is deficient in several key areas, and that it lacked the necessary information related to the long-term safety of the project and the protection of human health, and that further research may be required to address information gaps related to the long term integrity of the copper canisters that would be used to store the highly radioactive nuclear fuel waste.”
Yet we are continually reassured by our leaders that the proposed plan is “very safe” and the risks are minimal.

Willy states that “the nuclear industry is the safest most highly regulated industry in the world”. And this may be true but when there’s an accident, and there has been some, it’s considered a disaster. Three Mile Island in the United States, Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, and most recently Fukushima in Japan are examples. The industry is run by humans who occasionally make errors and it’s done in a world that is not free of natural disasters. The facility that they want to build here is yet to exist anywhere in the world. Maybe Sweden will have their facility built before we do, but still we’re going to be the gunny pigs for this new technology. Have you known man to typically get everything right on the first try? Hornepayne’s future generations will be left with the consequences of our errors.  

The article concludes with, “According to our Mayor and the Community Liaison Committee chairman, all evidence indicates that that this is a very safe proposal and it will economically benefit the community of Hornepayne.” 

I think I’ll conclude with that statement too.

Bev Allen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't take the bait

We're in the Nuclear Waste process because we chose to be. Actually, the community didn't choose, the leaders chose to throw our names into the hat. "It's a good opportunity for us to look into, and we're not obligated in any way", many say. We're in the "learning process" so if it comes down to a community vote we'll be "educated".

I learned last week that the committee that was set up a year ago to help educate the community is not working with NWMO but they are working under NWMO. They've allowed NWMO to filter all the information that the community receives. The committee has asked many questions over the past year yet they have agreed to stay away from releasing anything factual, and that includes any answers that NWMO has provided the committee. So far, answers to roughly 15 questions have been released to the community. There have been a few open houses where NWMO brought in their experts. Of course, we have been informed to direct all our questions to them.

We need to come out from under NWMO. We can certainly learn about this process without them. Wouldn't it be better to have unbiased sources of information? But, can we really eliminate them? What would it cost us at this point? Well, NWMO has already created a few jobs in our community and they have rented a house. Members of the CLC have gone on educational trips with all expenses paid by NWMO. We're not obligated in any way, BUT if we CHOOSE to turn our backs on NWMO today we would be left without any funds to educate ourselves, we would lose the jobs and our committee would lose their office.

It seems to me that Hornepayne is already taking the bait. It's true that we'll have the option to choose, but the longer we stay in this process the more it's going to cost us to say "no".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our True Identity

"The American people lost sight of our true identity and purpose as a nation. When identity is restored purpose is restored, and with purpose comes empowerment, and with empowerment comes a strong sense of direction! So there is a national shift happening that will affect our identity, purpose, power and direction. Within this national shift we will see a government and economic shift."

The above quote is a portion of a prophecy- it contains an important principal for us. Remember when the CAC did all those surveys and community forums? Before our community's direction could be determined they were trying to figure out Who Hornepayne is. As a community, what's our identity? What's our strengths and weaknesses and how can we use those things for our own betterment? When we know who we are then our purpose can be identified. Once we know our purpose we can create the steps to put it into action- thus we move forward. An action plan has already been created. You can get a copy at the HEDC.

Hornepayne is clean, pollution free. We're hunters and fishermen. We're lovers of the outdoors. Does Nuclear Waste fit with who we are? The only part of it that we're connecting to is the money. If there was no money involved we'd have absolutely no connection to it- None! Nuclear Power and Nuclear Waste is a normal part of other communities. They live among it. They're families work at the plants. They know Nuclear. This is not who we are.

Beware of this learning process. They want us to learn to be something that we're not. Saying things like Scientist and people with PHDs will join our community is a bribe that plays into our identity. "With Nuclear Waste Hornepayne will be a smarter community." And we want that as a part of our identity so we buy into it.

Be Aware of the messages that are being sent out. If it seems to good to be true, chances are it is.

Edit to Add:
I was just pondering this a bit more .

It's true that we all go off to college and learn something new. It's not that we can't learn new things and become better as a result. I'm talking about the person who, let's say was born loving kids and always wanted to be a teacher. It's great if that person goes to school and does that. It's a tragedy (IMO) if that person is motivated for more money and chooses a different path. Money does not bring true happiness. Maybe at first it will seem great, but it won't last because the real longings will continue to go unsatisfied. That person will always desire to be a teacher.

As a community I feel that we're doing this with Nuclear Waste.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What it's like to live in Hornepayne

I remember a popular saying when I was young, "What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors." I think we all grew up with this deeply rooted into our being. Yesterday the "Let's Rebuild Hornepayne" Facebook Group was changed to a closed group. The reason behind it is not being disclosed but my hunch is that the admin wants to keep what is happening in our town behind closed doors.

Here's a peak of what it's like to live in Hornepayne.

A new subdivision was built in the 1970s. Our "Mall", which was boarded up 2 years ago was built in the late 70s and opened in 1980. For 30 years people went about their business. Our population decreased by almost half from then to now. A few years ago, being forced by the Government, we built a new water treatment plant which has turned out to be a money pit. We used to pay $400.00 a year for water and we now pay $1200.00 a year. The closure of our "Mall" left a huge tax deficit and it left the town without many services. In 2010 after the new Council was elected they passed a resolution to stop all donations from the Township because their money problems were that desperate. It's so bad that they can't afford to pay for an interact machine for the office. Many have asked about applying for grants so we can rebuild our community, but again we're told that we need money to apply and we don't have any.

In comes NWMO.

Hornepayne was one of the first communities to enter into the Nuclear Waste process. We are currently in a learning process so we can learn all about this before we make a decision. The NWMO has set up a Committee that was supposed to release information so we could be educated, but as it was seen in yesterday's post, they don't have much freedom in what they can share.We have been told repeatedly that we will have the option to choose if we want this or not. So far we don't have any other choice and I don't see that changing any time soon. Those who are for Nuclear Waste can't see that we will have a future without it and those who are against it can't see that we will have a future with it.

It's been 2 years of yearning to rebuild our town but we can't seem to move forward. People continue to move and just this week another business has closed. After 5 or 10 years of this I'm sure we'll all be ready to sell out to Nuclear Waste. They say we'll have a choice.

A Message to Hornepayne

To move forward we have to let NWMO go. As long as they are here we will NEVER move forward. It's 10 or 15 years away and we're going to be kept in this state so we finally choose Nuclear Waste. It's just like being lost at sea; you know drinking the salt water isn't good but when you're thirsty who can resist? Well, after 10 years of this kind of Hornepayne living will you be able to resist? Rebuilding is going to take A LOT of work. Jody and I have been trying to build a business and the amount of hours has been crazy, so I know it's a lot of work. We're not going to find the desire to do this hard work within our community if a much easier option is perceived to be in our future. Our vision is being blocked by Nuclear Waste. It's a hindrance to our progress. It's deceptive in the fact that all their promises make you think we're getting somewhere, but we're not.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Some Red Flags

The Nuclear Waste topic has been hot the last few days on the "Let's Rebuild Hornepayne" Facebook Group.

I've always claimed to be on the fence concerning this issue. These past few days have been a real eye opener. I don't believe we're being told the full truth and for that reason I'm not for this anymore. Where there's lies and secrets there's stuff being concealed and hidden. I don't think this is good for Hornepayne or the North.
We're being forced into this because it's the only visible option we're being given for a better economy. There is no other choice being presented to the People of Hornepayne. We're made to think that if we want jobs, population increases, businesses, ground studies, scientist, paved roads, traffic lights, this is the answer and we'll never have those things without Nuclear Waste. It's the only answer to everything we want. When it comes to our future our choice is Nuclear Waste or what we have now (Nothing), and many rather have nothing than have Nuclear Waste buried in our back yard. I said right off the bat, I want options. If Hornepayne can have everything we desire without choosing Nuclear Waste who would consider it? Other communities grow by developing and following a strategic economic plan. They create a vision and they take steps to get there. We're not doing this because we have one thing in our site- Nuclear Waste. It's easy. It's free. Our leader can reap without lifting a finger. We're already seeing the $$$ flow into our Community.

Another thing is the community was told that the liaison committee would be made up of people who are both for and against this. We were told that both sides would be represented.  Are both sides evenly represented? It doesn't seem to be and that's a BIG RED FLAG for me. I would have liked to see a Councillor for and against, but instead the two most zealous men on Town Council sit on the committee.  

Not much info is being released about the committee's activities. To know anything we're told to attend meetings and no questions are answered unless we send in specific questions. I asked the other day what the worse case scenario is. That's a question that I would have expected the committee to have already asked and the truthful answer made public. I would have expected our Town Council to have asked that question before they even chose to explore this option.

The website is there but it's a skeleton IMO. It doesn't give me much information about the committee's activities. If I have to attend meetings to obtain information, I'll go without. I thought the liaison committee was appointed to find stuff out and release the info into the community. I've sent an email to the office asking what questions the committee has forwarded to NWMO so far. I await that reply. Surely the committee has asked a lot of questions in the last year and yet our computer screens are not flooded with answers.

Some would like us to pull out now because they know the longer we stay in this process the longer NWMO has to sway people away from what they believe. We're being promised the world and it's going to get harder and harder to stay "no" to all of it.

This article is a real eye opener. A Must read.

by Pat McNamara September 25, 2012

I found this stated in their own minutes. It seems to me the NWMO liaison committee is not permitted to release whatever they want to the public and yet I thought the committee was put together for that reason alone. It seems to me that they want to encourage transparency but  they're governed by the NWMO. Yikes.
"Committee voiced concerns that we are not keeping our committee activities public and visible enough. The question was asked what can the committee publicize, what will be the procedure and process to release information to the community? The CLC would like to be able to publish on a local level the activities of our committee. The publishing of upcoming events and information about our committee activities, which will continue to engage the community, reassure transparency and foster trust between the community and the CLC. The committee will publish only information and activities of the CLC staying away from factual information. The committee will continue to send all published material to NWMO."    
The following was a question that was asked by the committee to NWMO. I's true that Nuclear Waste is not a liquid or a gas. But, it's not nuclear waste that we're concerned about- it's the High Level Radiation that comes attatched to the waste that the question was referring to. Radiation is not a solid, liquid, or gas and yet it CAN leak into the environment. In my opinion their answer was deceptive.
Question # 11..... What if there is a leak? Do we know how to deal with it? What will happen to our health and to our community IF that happened?
A. Nuclear fuel waste is not a liquid. It is not a gas. It does not leak. It cannot explode. Canada’s plan for managing used nuclear fuel relies on multiple man-made and natural barriers to isolate and contain used fuel over the long term. If one of the barriers fails, there are multiple other barriers to isolate and contain the material. In order to obtain licences to construct and operate the deep geological repository the NWMO will have to demonstrate its safety to the satisfaction of citizens and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The repository will be monitored and the used fuel will remain retrievable for an extended period of time."

November 8th, 2012
In the original blog post I made this statement:

"I know from applying that each applicant had to state if they were for it or against it in their application letter. Was anyone selected that stated they were not for this?"

It was pointed out to me that the above statement is untrue as the advertizement did not require the applicants to make that statement. For that reason I have taken the comment out.

Please note that it was made clear to the community that the CLC would be made up of people who are both for and against. This statement remains.

Please accept my apologies.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Get Real about Nuclear Waste

Wow! I can't believe it's been a year since my last post.

The Nuclear Waste project has been receiving some media attention lately. Our local debate started on Facebook (Let's Rebuild Hornepayne, Group) in the spring/summer of 2011. Our town is split for obvious reasons. The case for the project has been made. Canada needs a solution and there's billions of dollars waiting for the community who takes on the problem. The case against hasn't been so clearly stated. The best case scenario is out there but the worst case scenario is still quite mysterious.

The first time I heard about this topic was at the Candidates nights during the 2010 Municipal election. A question was asked about our position regarding this issue. Not knowing anything about it, all I could do was state my values:
  1. Healthy People  
  2. Healthy Economy
The economy is very important, but the lives of our children are more so. Since the beginning I've waited for a balance of information. Are the risks worth the rewards? What exactly are the risks? So far it is being said that this is safe. In fact we hear very little negative reports. Why are we not hearing anything negative? And I don't just mean locally. There's nothing negative being said nationally. This is bigger than small northern communities, this is international news but you would hardly know it. Are voices being silenced? Where's all the scientists who are against this project? Where's the educated people who can spot the flaws in this design? It's nuclear waste, surely someone has some red flags to raise.
What is the worst case scenario? What would a leak look like at 500 M below ground? How long will it take to detect it and what can be done about it? Will the majority of our town have cancer before it is detected?

The silence makes me nervous. I want all the true facts. I want an honest debate. I want to hear 2 sides- not just one. So far it seems lop sided and I hope it's not going to even out after the waste is planted in our ground. The case for it has been made, now let's hear the case against it. Presenting the worst case scenario would be a good place to start IMO.